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Associate Member
Marlene Creates

Since 2002, my principal artistic venture has been to pay close attention to one particular place - the six acres (2.3 hectares) of boreal forest where I live on the outskirts of Portugal Cove in Newfoundland, Canada. This site has become my studio, the source of my subject matter, the platform for live-art walks with readings of site-specific poetry, and a living installation. Other forms the work takes include photography, video-poems, and a ‘virtual walk’ on the internet.

Everything at the heart of my work for over 30 years has come together in this singular place: namely, the relationship between human experience, memory, language and the land, and the impact they have on each other.

In the 1980s, my work often included what I call ‘memory maps’ which were drawn for me by other people. Hearing elderly people’s stories as they drew these maps, I sensed a relationship between language and the land. I pursued this connection in the following decade - photographing found public signs and making commissioned signs and markers for public places.

Now I work as a forester, a path-clearer, a tracker, a photographer, a videographer, a writer, an events-coordinator, and a performer. Above all, my work involves closely observing this specific, constantly changing patch of boreal forest over many years.

I’ve made a major shift in the way I disseminate my work - away from relying on gallery exhibitions (with framing, crating and shipping tangible work to the outside world) and towards presenting live-art events where the audience experiences the work in situ, as well as through a ‘virtual walk’ on the internet.

These now seem the most appropriate forms for my work to take. It is a decision based on trying to limit the consumption of manufactured materials for the making of art objects in favour of a more participatory and dematerialised practice that integrates the visual with natural history, ecology, and poetry.

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