Jesse Birch

Jesse Birch

Artists draw inspiration from forests

NANAIMO - The Nanaimo Art Gallery presents Booming Grounds, the second installment of Silva, Nov. 21 to Feb. 13.

Forest practices are examined through contemporary and historical lenses and a variety of mediums during the Nanaimo Art Gallery’s Booming Grounds exhibit.

The exhibit is the second part of Silva. Silva Part I: O Horizon examined the path of microcosms on the forest floor and how decomposing material supports life such as trees, fungi and other flora and animals in the environment. The second exhibit builds on subjects discussed in the first part and examines processing trees into lumber or other commodities and distributing the products to a global market.

The works discuss the next chapter of a log’s life and “reflect on different aspects of this industry and how it relates to society,” said Jesse Birch, Booming Grounds’ curator.

Booming Grounds is a collection of works which includes photography, painting, film, video and sculptures. It includes pieces from Al Bersh and Leslie Grant, Marian Penner Bancroft, Jason De Haan and Miruna Dragan, Wilmer Gold, Liz Magor, George Sawchuk, Carol Sawyer; Kathy Slade, Kate Stefiuk and Elias Wakan.

Sculptures by the late George Sawchuk, a logger who lost part of his leg during an industrial accident, have a strong political message.

“He is very loud politically,” said Birch.

The exhibit also includes photographs of pieces he created in the late ’80s on his property in Fanny Bay. Over a 30-year period he created a forest gallery and since installing the pieces they have slowly been overgrown by forest life.

“His voice is getting gentler and the forest’s voice is getting louder,” said Birch.

A tour of his forest gallery – conducted by Grant Shilling who is working on a book about Sawchuk’s life – is Saturday (Nov. 28) at 2 p.m. The tour costs $10 and people attending must meet at 372 Bates Drive in Fanny Bay or contact the gallery to arrange car pooling.

Booming Grounds runs Sunday (Nov. 21) to Feb. 13. An opening lecture by Bersch and Grant is Friday (Nov. 20), 6:15 p.m. in the gallery’s art lab.

arts@nanaimobulletin.com