David Lidbetter | far & further
Marianne Chenard | FLOT
November 3 - 24
David Lidbetter, beside the lake, oil on panel, 48 x 18 in. Framed by Wall Space
Wall Space Gallery is pleased to present two new bodies of work by artists Marianne Chenard and David Lidbetter. These bodies of work, in conversation with one another, address contemporary views of the Canadian landscape embroiled with questions of stewardship, colonialist ideologies, and the perceived ownership and agency of the natural world.
Marianne Chenard, Drawing.Line, inkjet print on luster photo paper, Ed: 1/3, 16 x 16 in. Framed by Wall Space
Marianne Chenard presents, FLOT, a body of photographic and installation works exploring the liveliness and impermanence of the natural world. Through site-specific installations Chenard sets stages for material transformations through exposure to air, water, fire, and earth. Her use of the raw materials of ceramics stems from a concern for balances within nature, as extraction overpowers the natural world’s ability to replenish.
Her materials of choice are the deconstructed materials of ceramics - exploited natural resources such as salt, kaolin, firewood, and beeswax. Through chemical and natural process, Chenard allows the innate reactions of materials to become collaborators in the making of the work. In FLOT, the results are trace lines of evaporated fluids, materials transmuted into intricate crystallization, and the tide’s slow erasure of marked kaolin lines.
Marianne Chenard, Drawing. Corridor (diptych), inkjet print on semi-matte photo paper, 36 x 24 in.
She uses drawing-like interventions to visually fragment space and change our perspective of a chosen scenery. These interventions are meant to erode with the passing of time, a testament to the need for sensitive stewardship – a more empathetic way of moving through the world that does not leave our trace.
Chenard documents her ephemeral installations in large-scale photographs that place her audience at centre stage. Unavoidably, we are confronted with the natural elements and processes depicted, left to reflect on our own environmental responsibility. Similarly, David Lidbetter’s perspectives of isolated landscapes from the Ottawa-Gatineau area place us immediately within the scene. There is a distinct feeling that these vistas are experienced from a first-person perspective that turns inward, spurring reverie for quiet moments of respite and thoughtfulness when alone with the Canadian wilderness.
David Lidbetter, road to nowhere, oil on canvas, 40 x 40 in. Framed by Wall Space
Lidbetter’s watercolours and oil paintings in far & further are a steady reminder of the artist’s appreciation for the breathtaking moments of light and mood around us – from the subtleties of crisp blue shadows across snow, to the jarring depth of semi-frozen rivers. His depopulated vistas are reminiscent of the Group of Seven, who championed the awe-inspiringly vast ranges of Canada. Lidbetter well-known for his bold, minimalist approach to contemporary landscape is adept at balancing realism and abstraction, where soft edges bleed into one another and dapples of light and shadow break up picture planes into pattern.
Lidbetter’s use of empty vistas is a contemplation of personal connections to these spaces and the peace, quiet, and reverence they instill in the artist; feelings he hopes to impress on his viewers. The personal relationship to landscape described by Lidbetter falls outside of a historical colonialist view of empty land as a resource to be harvested or settled. Rather he imparts the power of the natural world to impact us emotionally and psychologically. In his own way, Lidbetter speaks to the quiet persistence of nature - a churning force in which we are embedded.
David Lidbetter, weathering the storm, oil on canvas, 30 x 40 in. Framed by the artist
In a rare use of figures within a landscape, Weathering the Storm features two women gazing out at an approaching storm. The title suggests resilience at a time when what the future holds might be unknown. This is a striking departure from Lidbetter’s isolated first-person perspective and invites a sense of community.
Lidbetter and Chenard, through their differing approaches, open avenues for shifting away from colonialist views of the natural world instilled throughout history. Acted out across Chenard’s temporal interventions and Lidbetter’s canvases are understandings of deep emotional relationships, accountability, and the ‘life-force’ within nature.