In a new group exhibit at Surrey Art Gallery, artists from across Canada aim to explore the question of how to represent the land other than by its scenic topography.
Ground Signals, co-curated by Jordan Strom and Roxanne Charles, opens an 11-week run at the gallery with a panel discussion and opening reception this Saturday evening (Sept. 23), starting at 6:30 p.m.
The “multi-sensory exhibit” features sculpture, video and audio art by more than a dozen artists.
“Building on several recent (Surrey Art Gallery) exhibitions that have addressed landscape, ecology, territory and mapping, Ground Signals challenges viewers to listen and experience the land in fresh and compelling ways through a combination of sounds and images,” according to a post on SAG’s website.
The exhibition includes ceramic bowls that emit environmental audio recordings and Indigenous songs from northern Quebec and a towering sculpture of woven copper wire that broadcasts shortwave marine radio reports from a proposed pipeline terminus on British Columbia’s coast.
Also, a time-travelling “shadow machine,” made of wax, paint and human hair, aims to transport visitors to the deep past of Tahltan territory, and a gigantic mural of found blankets and building materials is framed in words and writing about waterways impacted by industrial accidents. Composite videos of Southern Ontario vistas morphing into English Romantic landscape paintings are shown, as is a “solar-powered culture station” that collects stories in exchange for energy.
Artists featured in Ground Signals, in addition to co-curator Charles, are Ruth Beer, Marie Côté, Lindsay Dobbin, Richard Fung, Brandon Gabriel and Ostwelve, Farheen HaQ, Peter Morin, Valérie d. Walker and Bobbi L. Kozinuk, Charlene Vickers and Cathy Busby.
“These artists invite us to consider our own presumptions and relationship to the places around us—beyond seeing them as scenic or banal, as sources of investment and industry, or as sites of recreation,” say planners of the exhibit, which will continue until Dec. 10.
Several Ground Signals-related events are planned, including an exhibition tour led by Strom and Charles (7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 4), a Family Sunday event (Sunday, Oct. 15) and a “Sounds for Action: Sound Thinking 2017” gathering that will involve some of the exhibited artists (Oct. 28, noon to 4 p.m.).
For more details, visit surrey.ca/artgallery.