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
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
‘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.
Group Exhibition, Charles H. Scott Gallery, Emily Carr University of Art + Design, 2017, Graduation Exhibition
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.
As a Treaty 7 person, Ireland’s home is in Mohkinstsis/Calgary, Alberta, in the foothills between the prairies and the Rocky Mountains, the traditional lands of the Blackfoot Confederacy: Kainai, Piikani, Siksika, the Tsuu T’ina, and Îyâxe Nakoda Nations and the peoples of the Métis Nation (Region 3). 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.