Artist Karen Moe left Lantzville 35 years ago in favour of big city life, but when a global pandemic prompted her to return to her family home she started to see the environment she grew up in through new eyes.
For the past five years Moe has been living in Mexico City, a large urban centre she describes as the opposite of a town like Lantzville. When COVID-19 reached Mexico in mid-March she left her apartment and all her belongings and unfinished art projects and came back to her parents’ home.
“I can’t really keep away,” Moe said. “When I’m down there I want to come back to the forest up here.”
Moe said when her family first moved to upper Lantzville in the late ’70s their house was surrounded by nature and her outdoorsman father gave her an “almost religious, spiritual connection” to the forest in the area. She said that connection has since become greater.
“Definitely I appreciate it more,” Moe said. “I think quite often when you mature you learn to appreciate things.”
Almost as soon as Moe moved back to Lantzville she started taking photographs of the trees and flowers in the area and on Aug. 22 she unveils those images in her new exhibition, The Born Again Nature Photographer.
The show takes place at her parents’ property with the photographs suspended from trees in her father’s modest orchard. Victoria musician Soressa Gardner will provide experimental electronic “soundscapes” and social distancing and mask wearing will be observed.
The exhibition features photos taken around Moe’s home, the Lantzville Foothills, along the Arrowsmith CPR trail and Nile Creek in Qualicum Beach. Moe said in her work she tries to create an emotional connection with the nature she’s photographing.
“They’re not conventional images. I play a lot with the beauty of light…” Moe said. “I’ve developed this technique where I’m actually doing them out of focus but just getting the light, the shimmers that are coming off of the plant, off the flower, off the bush.”
WHAT’S ON … Karen Moe presents The Born Again Nature Photographer exhibition at 7421 Clark Cres., Lantzville, on Saturday, Aug. 22 from 3 to 6 p.m.