Precarious Balance Exhibition at the Vancouver East Cultural Centre


A selection of photographic art by Wendy D, Lisa MacLean and Tehya MacKenzie
Exhibiting Oct 1 – 12 / Oct 22 – Nov 2, 2013

From Oct 1 to Nov 2, The Cultch Gallery will be displaying works by Lisa MacLean, Tehya MacKenzie and Wendy D. Tehya MacKenzie, through symmetrical images of worker bees in man made environments, explores our constantly evolving relationship with the natural world. Lisa MacLean echoes this concept through different methods, using techniques such as infared photography to explore the ways in which the technological sublime and the urban pastoral affect our connection to nature. Wendy D’s photographic set exposes the human emotions that manifest when someone is presented with a chance to just scream. Sometimes humourous and sometimes serious, Wendy’s art shows us just how rarely we’re encouraged to express great emotion.

Visit the gallery from 12 – 6 pm, Monday to Friday, or 12 – 4 pm on Saturdays. Ring the doorbell to gain access to the gallery.

Urban Pastoral VIII

My works are part of a series entitled Urban Pastoral focusing on Vancouver’s seaside landscapes. In this series my interest is in the ways pastoral green spaces such as parks, gardens, nature walks, forest preserves and others reconnect humans with nature and how such spaces might change with global climate change, high waters, and heat. A constellation of forces, including economic pressures, climate change, rising sea levels, extreme weather, and shoreline erosion, is affecting coastal areas worldwide. In Vancouver, the consequences of these changes for our society are beginning to register in the collective consciousness with recent reports that our city is one of the top ten around the world threatened by high waters. In this series of photographs I use unnatural coloration or technological processes (such as infrared photography) to suggest our mutating relationship with nature and its consequences. Images of natural beauty console us that everything we love about our everyday environment is not being lost, while the slight psychic dislocation caused by the technological interventions – curious colour palette and image inversions – hints at decay and dissolution.

See more work from this series here.

(Below) Teyha MacKenzie, Apoidea #1

1. TehyaMacKenzie - Apoidea #1 - 30in x 40in

(Below) Wendy D, Scream #35


The Dark of the Night

Two of my photographs have been selected for Photohaus Gallery’s juried exhibition of night photography The Dark of the Night. The top image entitled Beyond the Flesh Dress is one of a series of works I did in ruined and abandoned cave houses in Ibrahimpasa, Cappadocia, Turkey. For more information on this work click here

Below is one of a series of photographs documenting an installation and performance entitled Amed Beach Mandala, created on the beach in Amed, East Bali. For a video of the work, click here. For more information on this project, click here.

Works exhibited at the Chancery Building, Canadian Embassy, Chile

Two of my works, Allegory and Right Before Her Very Eyes, 1992, are currently on display in the Chancery building of the Canadian Embassy in Chile.  The works were purchased for Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada’s visual art collection in 1995 from the Malaspina Printmakers Society in Vancouver. For more information on this work, click here

Right Before Her Very Eyes 1992 76 x 112 cm

Right Before Her Very Eyes, Etching 1992

Allegory 1992 76 x 112 cm

Allegory, Etching 1992

Theatro Florae Sufi

Video of my Theatro Florae installations at the Gumusluk Academy. Soundtrack Zeb Sufism, remixed by me.

I was fortunate enough to be an artist in residence at the Gumusluk Academy in May 2009, a “thought farm” located in a small fishing village on the Bodrum peninsula in Turkey. While there, I constructed a number of installations with local flowers, vegetation, and found objects on the Academy grounds and around the area. For more information on this project, see my page here.

To read more about my time in Gumusluk, click here and go to the May 2009 blog archives.

Amed Beach Mandala (Jemeluk Bay, Amed, East Bali) & The Rocky [Beach] Horror Picture Show

While in Amed, Bali in 2011 I created mandalas on the beach from natural objects found locally, placed next to a yarn-wrapped tree. Within this setting, illuminated at night with small LED lights, myself, my partner, and several local community members joined in three public performance pieces invoking the spirits of the dead; this one is entitled Amed Beach Mandala/Rocky [Beach] Horror Picture Show. Soundtrack MacLean/Palestrina, Kyrie from Pope Marcellus Mass.

For more information on this project, click here.

Nevruz Burning

This video documents a site-specific installation and performance of Nevruz Burning, a piece created for the Spring Equinox in a ruined cave house while I was an Artist in Residence at the Babayan Culture House in Ibrahimpasa, Cappadocia, Turkey. For more information on the piece, click on my blog link.

Viernes de Dolores: An Altar for the Virgen de Dolores in Guanajuato, Mexico

This was a small performance for Viernes de Dolores, the Friday of Sorrows that begins Semana Santa, inspired by the Guanajuato Virgen de Dolores altars. One of the most sumptuous and popular celebrations in Mexico is Semana Santa (Holy Week), which begins with the Viernes de Dolores (Friday of Our Lady of Sorrows), celebrated the last Friday of Lent. It is dedicated to the seven sorrows that Mary suffered before and after her son’s death. Widespread in Mexican homes in the 18th century, the tradition of putting up the altar of sorrows dates from the 16th century. The altar was meant to comfort the Virgin Mary, who eight days later would suffer at her son’s death. For more information on Guanajuato’s altars, click here and here.

Below are a few examples of public altars in Guanajuato: the first at a neighborhood fried chicken shop, the second at a funeral store where coffins are made, and the third in the lobby of a government building.

Our performance took place on the terrace entrance area of our colonial home and included floral elements, ribbons, masks, and lights

See more pics here.


Dia de las Flores: Death and the Devil visit the Colonial House, Guanajuato, Mexico

Holy Week is a very big holiday in central Mexico and the festivities begin the week before Easter, with El Dia de las Flores (Day of the Flowers) and the Viernes de la Virgen de los Dolores (Friday of the Virgin of Sorrows). The Dia de las Flores (Thursday of the week before Palm Sunday) involves seemingly the entire city; a vast number of flower stands (fresh, paper, and fabric), as well as stands selling toys, Easter eggs, small animals, stuffed creatures and live ones (tiny turtles and hermit crabs), devil and demon masks, cow and steer carrying cases, and the like, are set up everywhere downtown. The whole city comes out to see and be seen and to purchase flowers and other accoutrements for their own Virgen de los Dolores altars. Using these supplies, altars to the Virgin (who is also the patron of miners, most important in this city of silver mines) are set up in public places (hotels, restaurants, churches, stores) and in private homes beginning on the Thursday before Palm Sunday.

For the Dia de las Flores, Ty and I decorated the front archways of our colonial house; using flowers, often symbolising the brevity and beauty of life, locally-made masks of Death (a tiny tin skull wearing a black sombrero), and the Devil (a papier mache horned demon mask), we reimagined the encounter of Death, the Devil, and the Maiden imagined so starkly in images such as those below by Hans Baldung Grien, and the great etching of The Knight, Death, and the Devil by Albrecht Durer.

Death and the Maiden by Hans Baldung, 1510

Death and the Maiden by Hans Baldung, 1518

“In this painting [above] a voluptuous young maiden turns to receive the kiss of her lover, only to discover, to her horror, Death. The skeletal figure gently holds her head, a gesture that belies the finality of his impending bite. His patches of wispy hair and rotting skin mock her flowing tresses and supple flesh. The dark setting, unnoticed at first, is a cemetery as she stands on a gravestone, perhaps her own. This Vanitas picture (an image that alludes to the transience of life) typifies Baldung’s predilection for erotically charged twists to more conventional themes, such as the Dance of Death. ” (Web Gallery of Art)

In Knight, Death, and the Devil (1513) Durer shows his Knight steadfastly ignoring both Death, who shakes an hourglass in the Knight’s face, and the pig-nosed devil behind, grinning stupidly.

For more information on the Memento Mori, and other installations on this theme that I had done, click here and here.

See all the photos of the Guanajuato piece here.