NS reviews

Reviews of theatre and art in Nova Scotia and beyond

The Imagery of DEBRIS

Time Passages, Susan Tooke

Four Annapolis Royal artists who love to take photographs come together under the theme of “debris.”

They are exhibiting in Debris, to Nov. 20 at Lucky Rabbit & Co. Art Gallery, 15 Church St., Annapolis Royal. The works in this contemplative show, with themes of mortality, environmental degradation and the passage of time, are arranged in clusters by the artists: ceramic artist Ray Mackie, photographer Susan Tileston, painter and multi-disciplinary artist Susan Tooke and Tim Wilson, of Persona Media.

Ray Mackie, who is one half of Lucky Rabbit ceramics, was at first unsure about the theme for his underwater and above ground colour photographs of seaweed, rock and the geometry of broken fishing traps. “As it turns out a lot of what I thought was important in my life turns out to be debris, AND, a lot of what I thought was debris, turns out to be important.”

Image by Ray Mackie

Light and colour and mood are important in Susan Tileston’s photographs which are often, thought not exclusively, specific to the water, though Road Rage is an arresting image of dead bird on the road, its bronze feathers gleaming against the grey. “At 8 a.m. every weekday I do tai chi on the Annapolis wharf with friends . So I spend a lot of time looking at the water, at the sky, at the asphalt under my feet while doing the 108 movements that make up the tai chi set.

“And very often I photograph what I see. Most of these images were taken at that wharf; at high tide, at low tide, in all kinds of weather. There is lots of ‘debris’ on the Basin floor.”

Tim Wilson’s photographs are at the intersection of people and nature: the interior of an abandoned house, a turquoise glove on the beach, a decayed orange comb against delicate sparkling beach stones. The shock of colour is important to him.

He finds beauty in fragments of debris as he walks the shore near Digby and on Fogo Island, Nfld. “Photography, of course, has a huge romance with ruin,” he says. “As does the venerable Japanese tradition of wabi sabi, an affectionate regard for life’s inexorable wear and decay.”

Against My Ruin, Tim Wilson

The theme of debris, which Mackie noticed when looking at is friends’ photos on Facebook, suits the group, says Tooke. “So much of what we’ve been interested in are the little details, what is left behind. It can be something in nature but often an interaction between nature and humanity.”

As she explores her Port Royal property or the Queen Anne March across the road she is arrested by patterns and details for images of subdued colour and subtle shifts in light.

One morning she noticed an oak leaf frozen in her dog’s water bowl. Time Passages has a wonderful graphic and abstract quality of patterns in a thin layer of ice over water. Her eye is drawn to what melting snow reveals, to a seal skull in the grass, to tiny fragments of a disintegrating rock on the beach.

“I was using the phone as a way of recording things that might inspire paintings. When Ray started this group we call tongue-in-cheek The Fab Four I started looking at them as art in themselves.”

Debris is on view to Nov. 20 and open Wednesday to Saturday, 10 to 4 p.m. Lucky Rabbit & Co.’s Holiday Happening is Nov. 26 and 27. If you are in the area also pop into Sissiboo Coffee Roaster and Art Gallery, 262 St. George St., Annapolis Royal, to see some gorgeous painting by Eva McCauley in Nocturnal to Nov. 30. Her use of fractured space, dreamy colour and shadowy figures is inspiring.

Frozen, Susan Tooke
Latch, Tim Wilson
Full Fathom Five, Tim Wilson
Road Rage, Susan Tileston

Categories: Uncategorized

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