Recent Exhibitions

matters of scale

Exhibition with Sunshine Coast Arts Council, a collaboration with fellow artist Jennifer Brant

October 2021

This new collection of work is focused on re-imagining relationship with stone through material research and contemplating matters of scale: geologic and human. The work is conceptually motivated by my larger research scope of re-imagining relationship with land and the more than human world.

What can stone teach us about understanding geologic time? And how can we translate this understanding into ways forward in this time of climate change when human impact on the Earth is measured at geologic scale and proportion?

in the long grass like the ocean, where the ocean used to be

Exhibition with The New Gallery, a collaboration with fellow artist Jennifer Brant May – June 2020


“Jennifer Ireland and Jennifer Brant draw on their respective interdisciplinary practices to collaboratively investigate and re-envision de-colonial relationships and responsibilities to land, environment, neighbours, kin and the more-than-human.  

Both artists are deeply invested in broad theoretical research, because to engage with land is to engage with the complexities of histories, current challenges and future possibilities.  Configuring their artistic methods through an open and direct engagement with their environment, Ireland and Brant pursue material research that facilitates listening, observing, chronicling and communicating with the natural world.  The artists use audio, video, sculpture, performance and drawing to articulate their experiences of land, enabling the viewer to imagine and intuit along with them while emphasizing the emergence of kinship, and wayfinding for harmonious possible futures.” Exhibition Text, Ireland/Brant

detail, sympoiesis, and the word for world is forest, 2020, Jennifer Ireland,
photo: Brittany Nickerson

the wind’s twelve quarters, Jennifer Ireland, 2020 Photo: Brittany Nickerson
the wind’s twelve quarters is a vibrant series made of natural, locally sourced woolens dyed by hand. Conceptually inspired by bell curves and statistical analyses of growth patterns in nature, the work expands to encompass the unpredictable constraints and reciprocity of sharing and giving that occurs between neighbours and symbionts.

detail, sympoiesis, 2020, Jennifer Ireland, photo: Brittany Nickerson
sympoiesis (making with) explores possible futures based on the reciprocity of cooperative living, and learning of the ways in which plants communicate, behave socially, share resources, and recognize kin. This chlorophytum comosum, a common house plant and non-native species in North America, nurtures and nourishes through its above-soil network of stolons and plantlets.  Sharing in the plant’s practice of care, the artist has filled small, handmade clay bowls with water to support the plantlets.  Heavily inspired by Donna Haraway and Susan Simmard, the work activates a speculative multi-species feminist methodology that encourages, through its small example, productively troubled solutions to environmental problems that address them at the root.
detail, sympoiesis, and the word for world is forest, 2020, Jennifer Ireland,
photo: Brittany Nickerson
the word for world is forest is an assemblage sculpture of young and mature spruce cones from the artist’s yard, gathered over one year from spring 2019 to spring 2020. The spruce trees are about fifty years old and have outgrown their space between the road and the home. Stressed by the constrained resources in this suburban setting, they produce more cones. This work aims to quantify the impact of such stress as the artist considers her responsibility to these arboreal neighbours.


Contemporary Calgary

Prompted by the title of the exhibition, Planetary, this assembly of works reach outward to consider what it means to be of this planet; situated here and now in the Anthropocene, facing climate crisis, and wondering: who are our kin, what is our shared relationship with the Earth and how can we adapt?  Conceptually inspired by the writing of D. Haraway, the works range from 24 portraits of Earth’s first animals from the Cambrian era, as found in the Burgess Shale, as well as other animals that are poised to thrive within climate change like cephalopods and tardigrades (who’s lineage notably goes back to the first animals (6 works including drawings with clay and compost and textiles), videos of landscape in motion blur (taken in Kootenay National Park), and a human size moveable geometric sculpture that was inspired abstractions of the globe that emerged in the Modern era that embody ideas of resource sharing and re-imagining the way we see the world and our place in it.

‘Earth Map’ Jennifer Ireland, 2020: To do ‘more with less’ was a guiding principal of designer and innovator Buckminster Fuller (1895 – 1983) and this idea resonates importantly still in our current times of climate change.  Fuller’s ‘Dimaxion Map’ in which he wraps the map of the Earth on an polyhedron then unfolds it according to the geometric lines, creates a map with all the continents connected and was intended to serve as a means by which we could re-imagine trade, resource sharing and communication and ‘do more with less’.  These ideas of Fuller’s are the inspiration for this ‘World Map’ sculpture.   The sculpture is a human sized polyhedron, serving as an embodiment of an abstraction though which we can better understand our world and our relationship to it, thereby enabling participants to creatively explore both possibilities and limitations.  Like all abstractions, it requires our engagement to support it, thus is rests in its collapsed form and is activated through play and interaction.
   The materials of this sculpture are entirely compostable and re-purpose-able.

Formed by Sand

‘particularizatio’ (detail) Jennifer Ireland, 2018, sandstone rubbing (graphite)

‘Formed by Sand’ is a group exhibition at the Lougheed House in Calgary Ab, and curated by Caroline Loewen, June to Sept, 2018.

While researching Calgary’s historic and contemporary relationship with Paskapoo Formation Sandstone, I visited many of Calgary’s landmark Sandstone buildings as well as sandstone outcroppings in Calgary. I also consulted with my community and local experts (geologists, architects and a stone-mason as well as neighbours and friends) and I quickly found a complex and appreciative relationship with our local natural resource.

stratum, J Ireland, 2018, mixed medium
particularization, J Ireland, 2018, mixed meduim
Sunlight in the Blue of Distance, Sunlight Through a Dying Leaf, Sunlight in the Petals, Sunlight through a Young Leaf (video series), Slow Spin (sculpture with plants, music and mixed media), Places We’ve Been (story sharing performance) J Ireland, 2017.  On Exhibit at The Charles H. Scott Gallery, July 14th – 31st, 2017 MFA Thesis Exhibition with Emily Carr University of Art + Design

In researching tacit ways for considering and weaving bonds and ties to flora, rock, soil, sky and unnamed natural formations, this series of works is formally and conceptually divided in three parts: light, space and story-telling (ways of perceiving and ways of knowing).  The light based group of works is video portraits of individual plants in different stages of their lives, at a particular time and a particular place in the sunlight. The spatial work is a sculpture with a plant family living in and outgrowing the sculpture.  And the performative work where I engage with members of the public sharing stories of Place, and questioning ideas of Wilderness.

As a multimedia artist I am working to develop different ways of looking and relating to land and nature through the questioning of traditional epistemological approaches.  I strive to make work that is mindful of situation, context, access and impact – both environmental and social – in our current state of the Anthropocene. This environmental ethic is found in specific materials and methods which are often light, sustainable and provisional.

Jennifer Ireland is a multimedia artist working to reconfigure ways of knowing and ways of being in land through the questioning of traditional epistemologies and abstract boundaries.  Ireland strives to make work that is mindful of situation, site, context, and access.  This ethic is found in her work through specific materials and methods which are often light, sustainable and provisional.  Ireland’s multi-medium, research-based practice ranges from drawing, photography, video, and sculpture, to site-sensitive installation and performance.  Each artwork is made as a proposition that operates simultaneously as suggestion and possibility for de-colonial wayfinding in the Anthropocene.

A Treaty 7 person of settler descent, Ireland’s home is in Mohkinstsis/Calgary, Canada, and she is grateful and committed to the responsibilities of being a Treaty 7 person.  Ireland holds a BA in Philosophy from the University of Calgary, studied drawing and sculpture at Alberta University of the Arts, and recently graduated from the 2018 Masters of Fine Arts at Emily Carr University of Art + Design.