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La Raza Group will be exhibiting their Newfoundland Series from their Pouch Cove Residency at the:
Jens Thielsen Gallery
Opening Saturday, April 1st from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
1038 Adelaide St. North, London, ON
519 434 7681
Exhibition continues to April 22nd.
To view work go to:
POUCH COVE RESIDENCY April 1 to 30 2005
La Raza Group at the Pouch Cove Foundation By G. Scott MacLeod.
During this residency we translated our first hand experiences boldly in a series of paintings, drawing and a large collective mural. While traveling around St-John’s and the Avalon Peninsula we chronicled our experiences with camera and sketchbooks and used them later in the studio as reference material. Our large mural was on a 2’ X 30’ piece of Mylar, in addition to painting people and places of Newfoundland we wrote down daily journal entries.
Thanks to our tour guide, press agent, cook, driver, and source of inspiration, Lori Butler (or known as Red Leader for her beautiful hair) we were able to have access to the people and places of St-John’s and around the Avalon Peninsula and as a result we met printmakers, musicians, poets, fisherman, postal workers, inn keepers, veteran’s, school teachers, people from all walks of Newfoundland life with the intention of involving them in our process of discovering the island. We had people pose for photos and drawings and in the process we hoped to have them relate their personal stories, oral histories and local lore.
Pouch Cove is one of the most eastern villages in Newfoundland and its claim to fame is the place ‘first to see the sun in Canada’. I saw this sign every morning above the library/community centre/day-care/fire department/town hall building when I went to do my email. This should give one a sense of how tight these seaside cove communities are.
THE ARTISTS AND THEIR ART
MacLeod and his Avalon Peninsula Series from memory
Scott’s Avalon Peninsula Series landscapes are painted in oil and encaustic on wood and Masonite. His subject matter was derived from areas he visited around the Avalon Peninsula such as Pouch Cove, Red Head, Black Head, Bell Island, Portugal Cove, Cape Spear, Signal Hill etc… the names are as dramatic and enigmatic as the locations. This work was not done on site but rather from memory in his Pouch Cove studio. It is an approach he has developed since his experience in New Mexico desert, this process came out of necessity as weather can shift and change suddenly, and Newfoundland was no exception. He experienced four seasons in four weeks and it is evident that he enjoyed the constant shifting drama of sea and landscape over the course of his stay. His paintings emanate these textural and atmospheric changes that invite the viewer in as a witness to the effects of snow, sleet, heavy rain, wind, calm sea, pounding waves, clear sky and sunshine on the Newfoundland landscape.
Caprani cultivating his Irish connection to the “new found land” of his ancestors
Francis responded to the objects in his immediate surroundings such as the fishing boats, hanging laundry, and houses on the cliffs of Pouch Cove. He illustrated the worn character of the land and the virility of the people in it, in oil, charcoal, ink on paper, Mylar and panel. The man made objects are almost indifferent in the face of nature oddly balance in its harsh and unforgiving climate. His boats are fragile but essential lifelines to the sea of sustenance. He was particularly taken with the Newfoundland way of life, as it was so similar to his memories of Ireland. Being on among Newfoundlanders to him was like being around distant relatives, which in fact is true as many Newfoundlanders are descendents of Irish fisherman, sailors, labourers and merchants.
Pedros and his stark religion, economy of line and colour in Gods country
Gerald became particularly interested in the church next to the residency and the changing skies in the cove. He produced a series of paper pieces in gouache, in each piece he dealt with different details and angles of the religious Newfoundland architecture. All are painted in three or four bold opaque colours reflecting economy of resources on the landscape and how solid the structures must be to endure the flogging wind, hail, rain and snow. These churches are temples, outposts on the edge of the earth, salvation for the pilgrim and family that settled the seas edge. His sky series are more transparent reflecting the paradoxical beauty and brutality of the maritime weather. These works are more following, visceral cloud formations loosely painted like turners watercolours. His compositions are details though the viewfinder, postcards to the self and reminder of humanities fragility in the face of nature or God.
In closing I must say that the Newfoundlander has not forgotten how to enjoy a turn a phrase, a song, how to support their communities and most of all, their best-kept secret, which is how to enjoy life despite the hardships of their history.
Thank you Newfoundland
I wish to thank all the lovely people of Newfoundland who made this experience as memorable as it was. Special thanks to the people of Pouch Cove, Lori Butler a.k.a. (Red Leader) and family for Newfoundland delights and the tour de l’ile, the Elliot family, Loretta Decker and Brigitta Wallace from Parks Canada the custodians of the L’Anse aux Meadows site, Claire-Marie Gosse from The Independent, Craig Welsh from The Express, Angela Antle from CBC St-John’s, David Marshak and family, Martha Eleen, John Maggio, Linda from the Quidi Vidi Inn, people from The Duke, Leo and the Folks at the Crow’s Nest, Cape St-Francis Elementary School, Mr. & Mrs. Redpath, Angie and Jim Baird, Mary for the wonderful tour of Bell island, David Bolduc for his Volvo service, Norma Nixon, Maurene White, Sophie Jodoin, Jan Lundgren, Canadian Scandinavian Foundation, Sean Cahill ands Noelle Harris, Corina Boland of CB CD, Tridea, and the Jens Thielsen Gallery.