"I am 3/4ths Canadian, and one 4th New Englander - I had ancestors on both sides in the Revolutionary war." - Elizabeth Bishop

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Painting the World: Conversations with Visual Artists at the Elizabeth Bishop Festival

One of the afternoon events at the Elizabeth Bishop Festival in Great Village, N.S., on 8 August 2015, will be a conversation with four exceptional visual artists: Emma FitzGerald, Carol Laing, Joy Laking and Linda Rae Dornan. This conversation will be moderated by writer and Mount Allison Fine Arts professor Anne Koval. This post profiles Sackville, N.B., artist Linda Rae Dornan.

Linda Rae Dornan’s art practice is performative across a range of media including video, performance, drawing, sound, installation and writing (http://www.lindaraedornan.ca/). Exploring the complex systems of language through visuals, sound, performativity and embodied text are the formal materials of her practice about place, memory and being—how we live. Experimentation, making mistakes to discover possibilities, is an integral element of her work process.

A recently published artist bookwork, It Speaks You, was built poetically from the script of an earlier performance about losing one’s ability to speak. It explores, in an inter-textual context, whether text has human form, using a cyclical structure, a chorus, and visual play. Calling the Cuckoo is a compilation of performance shorts about language as body, voice, space and movement, which Linda performed at 7a*11d International Festival of Performance Art in Toronto last fall. Language and text was both spoken out loud, sung, written on a wall and on her body, and words and ideas were torn apart and reassembled. In 2013, Linda produced Walking with EB: Adventures in Newfoundland 1932 & 2008. The video documented her and Suzie LeBlanc retracing Elizabeth Bishop’s journal across the Avalon Peninsula by walking. It was included with Suzie’s award-winning CD “I am in need of Music” (http://www.musiccentre.ca/node/77772).
Linda speaking at launch of "I am in need of music"
at Massey College in Toronto, October 2013
In a continuing project of three years, Linda has been walking along the shoreline of the Bay of Fundy filming its geological diversity and history, and her own physical and vocal responses to it for a new performance video.  Topophilia (meaning love of place) from 2012, is a video score about the Tantramar marshes and the Bay of Fundy where Linda lives, and was created to be interpreted musically by the New Brunswick group Motion Ensemble. It was to ask, how does the written word and how do images sing the land?
Unsolicited Gift installation (see Linda's website for more information)

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