I am a self-taught interdisciplinary artist based in Vancouver Canada. As someone from a prairie farming community and now based in a large urban centre, I interpret my surroundings through this lens of contrast, connection and culture. This experience informs my practice. I make installation and sculptural work that explores the inter-relationships between the built environment and physical geography.
I examine how memory is bound up in place and landscape through layered and composite viewpoints; how structures, objects and materials have agency to convey history and meaning; to spark personal and collective memory. Some works reveal transient moments of site interventions, spotlighting the power of implied narratives and how fiction is involved in memory. They are shadow stories, from the gaps that lie below the surface of what one normally knows or sees. My focus is to excavate narratives of human endeavour, both public and private. All of my work is an invitation to participate with something ordinarily in the periphery. Something fleeting.
With a particular interest in site-specific and project-based work, my concepts develop through investigation of materials, history and place. Often using what is at hand or gathered through research, substances are teased apart and re-imagined: corrugated plastic, mesh screening, industrial fragments and discarded objects undergo permutations that both utilize and deviate from their intended purpose. Hundreds of hand engraved wooden medallions woven into a massive ‘cozy’ to cover a severed tree trunk; a series of stuffed amorphous shapes made from landscape cloth that suggest anthropomorphic resignation as they slowly biodegrade in the abandoned bear pit at Stanley Park Zoo.I have created site-specific installations in public art galleries and sculpture parks throughout the Pacific Northwest.
- Shirley Wiebe