BEACONS: light sculptures and illuminated experiments for winter darkness| Week 5 of 11

February 12 and 13, 2022. Theme by Caitlind Brown & Wayne Garrett


Audrey Lane Cockett
Joanne MacDonald
Logan Lape
Maggie Schaefer
Noel Begin & Jennifer Ireland
Rebecca Reid
Sarah Houle
Susan Clarahan
Wayne Garrett & Caitlind r.c. Brown

During the longest and coldest nights of the year, we yearn for more light. This desire is both visceral and social, as much about our visual desire for more sunlight as our interhuman desire for a metaphorical “fire” to gather around.

Audrey Lane Cockett begins the slow burn of her beacon

During the lonely nights of winter, we are subliminally searching for beacons – proof of life in the distance, something to aim for, hope on the horizon. With this in mind, artists were invited to create beacons, in the form of light sculptures, projection installations, and illuminated experiments.

Sarah Houle shared small wax sculptures – part of her ongoing series of artist-made candles, each featuring a character in Sarah’s recurring series blending reimagined Metis mythology with personal narratives.

Each night, one of the figures was lit, and carefully enclosed behind a reappropriated oil lamp chimney. At the end of the weekend, only pink puddles of wax were left – utterly distorted from their original figurative forms.

Sarah Houle also contributed a beautiful fire-starter, made of birch bark, sage, mint, copal, and a dried flower.

Logan Lape made a sculpture constructed around a Coleman camp stove. A metal box straddled low blue flames, with plasma cut-out letters reading “Warming.”

Perhaps the most subtle of the beacons, viewers could not keep their hands off the warm box, despite the temperate winter night.

Joanne MacDonald played with shadow projections on the side of the house, using her metal sculptures as silhouettes to cast broad, abstract shapes. The light transformed three-dimensional forms into two-dimensional projections, merging into a single image washing across the pink facade.

Joanne’s projections shared space with a test installation by Caitlind Brown & Wayne Garrett, using retired City of Calgary streetlight heads.

The streetlights straddled the pathway leading to the house, inviting visitors to walk between them – interrupting the floating infrastructural spectres.

Susan Clarahan sent an offering of sparkling charcoals and Rocky Mountain pitch, carefully packaged and mailed from her residence in Toronto. As heat melted the pitch, plumes of aromatic smoke washed over the yard – a beacon of smells and gentle light.

Rebecca Reid shared a hidden illuminated shrine, tucked unassumingly into a corner of the yard. The aptly timed Lupercalia Light shone from the lilac bushes in a red yawn fit for Eros.

Nearby, Maggie Schaefer’s installation Wishing for Snow adorned the base of a towering coniferous tree.

Twinkling near her (eventual) Snow Time Capsule, Maggie’s wish came true less than 24 hours after her beacon went out – it finally snowed after weeks of unseasonably dry weather.

Noel Begin & Jennifer Ireland spent the weekend experimenting with projections and forms, beginning with collaborative footage of sunlight on flowing water, abstracted by motion.

The duo’s work evolved over the weekend, growing in shape and feel as they constructed a kinetic soft sculpture from fabric and tent-poles.

Photo by Noel Begin
Photo by Noel Begin

Noel and Jennifer’s final experiment was a projection of the nearby fire, captured by video and immediately projected back onto their sculptural work.

The artists described their time with BEACONS as being relational first – more about the collaborative journey than any singular sculptural destination.

Audrey Lane Cockett’s beacon unfolded in the firepit. She brought her nobbly Christmas tree – cut with a leatherman knife during another tumultuous COVID Christmas – and roasted the little tree in a send-off fit for a Viking.

The embers eventually faded and the beacons were extinguished. Thank you to all the artists who participated in this week’s Hibernation, and the friends and visitors who witnessed their luminosity.

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