Writing Home

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Curated by Faye Heavyshield

Curatorial Statement
“In this work Devine remodels the act of ‘writing home’ into an actualization of her correspondence with home, specifically serpent river. Through photographs, sound, and impressions cast in glass, the artist presents her home, replete in texture and history. Writing and text have always figured in Devine’s practice; words and their meanings, their ‘look’ on the surface of the paper akin to the stitching of red thread on a white surface. The stitches become legible as memory and the handwritten letters are missives to her place in this landscape. Each of the components in this body of work is indicative of the immersive process the artist employs with her material and medium. In this way, “Writing Home” merges absence and presence… words become threads and the rock transformed into the lens of glass remains the rock.”

“Drawing with and from rock, Devine gives us privy to a conversation of human geography. This is writing and this is home.”

Faye Heavyshield, Curator, February 15th, 2008
Faye Heavyshield was born on the Kainah (blood) reserve in southern Alberta. Faye attended the Alberta College of Art, and the University of Calgary. She became known for using abstracted sculptural forms to relate poignant social messages. In 2004 Faye was one of the artists who celebrated Gallery Connexion’s 20th anniversary with a series of on-site installations titled ConneXXion at Ste Croix. In 2005, she completed a four-week residency at Gallery Connexion titled Rock, Paper, River.

Artist Statement
“This work began on the rocks of my childhood home. Driving west from Sudbury on Highway 17, tracing the great spine of Lake Huron and crossing the La Cloche Range of ancient mountains, you come into the land of the Ojibwa; Laurentia. You cross over the ancient precipitous place where two continents noisily mated eons ago. And if you are on foot, you wander where their roots remain, exposed in secret places; the trusses and ligatures of the earth. Laurentia.

The rocks tell a story ages old.
Geologists and prospectors saw and read it early on and gouged fathom-deep pits in answer, looking for rare earths and minerals. Everywhere you see their restless scratches. Even as the drawings and peckings, the noble stories of the old Ojibwa, fade and expire under their feet.

The work in this exhibition was created in response to Sandy Wabageshik, Michel Mitch, Andrew Blackbird, William Blackbird (PeTaw Wan E), William Warren, Dr John Jeremiah Bigsby, and the seventeen signators of the Robinson Huron Treaty, all of whose stories appear beside the portraits of the rocks; all of whom wrote home.”

Bonnie Devine, February 2008
Bonnie Devine, a member of the Serpent River Ojibway First Nation in Northern Ontario, is an accomplished artist and curator specialising in sculpture and installation. She is a graduate of the Ontario College of Art and Design and holds a Masters in Fine Arts from York University. Devine has received the City of Toronto Visual Arts Protégé Award, grants from the Canada Council for the Arts, and Foreign Affairs Canada.

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