GROUNDWORK August 1-21, 2020
The Slide Room Gallery is pleased to introduce you to Canadian visual artist Esther Parker. Combining her background in physical geography and cartography with her art practice, Esther’s work is a reminder of something often overlooked despite it’s constant presence—rocks and the powerful forces that shape our landscape. Her thoughtful approach to her work is both methodical and fresh, offering a creative perspective on the world beneath our feet.
GROUNDWORK by Esther Parker
Some of my earliest memories are of long car trips to my grandmother’s house in England, during which my parents discussed the geology of the countryside. I learned how glaciers had scoured the landscape, how groundwater had carved vast underground caverns and how ancient corals had been transformed into the stone building blocks of our local church. On these trips, I came to understand why the landscape around me looked the way it did and I became more connected to my home. My interest in landscapes led me to study geography and cartography at university. Today, I use tools from these disciplines to explore my current home: Vancouver Island.
Many of us don’t give a second thought to the ground we stand on, its origins, or its apparent permanence and stability. But rocks tell incredible stories of moving continents, of seabeds rising and falling, and mountains folding and fracturing. I draw folded, faulted and tilted rocks because they are visible evidence of the tremendous forces that shape our landscapes and are a reminder that even the most stable and solid materials change over time. I use geological reports and maps to find folded rock formations. At each site I visit, I sketch and photograph the rocks and collect samples. In the studio, I crush and grind the rock into powder with a mortar and pestle. I then add water and gum arabic to make my own ink from the powdered rock, which I use to make drawings on rice paper.
The rock formation at Bryden Bay in Sidney, British Columbia, is made from material that was deposited 85 to 65 million years ago at the bottom of rivers, deltas and the ocean. These rocks began to be uplifted 65 million years ago when the landmass that would become Vancouver Island collided with the edge of North America. Today, rocks that were once buried deep beneath the sea are exposed at the Earth’s surface. Groundwork is an exhibit of drawings inspired by (and made from) Bryden Bay’s rocks. These drawings challenge our preconceived notions of familiar landscapes and reveal the mystery and drama beneath our feet.
Esther studied geography and cartography at the University of Victoria. She uses tools from these disciplines to create geological drawings, some of which are created from ink made from the rocks that she collects.
A largely self-taught artist, Esther has also taken courses at the Vancouver Island School of Art. Her work has been exhibited at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, the Sooke Fine Art Show, the Sidney Fine Art Show, Xchanges Gallery, and arc·hive.
GROUNDWORK by Esther Parker
For more information about each artwork, click on the thumbnail image
Thank you for viewing the GROUNDWORK digital exhibition by Esther Parker. We hope you enjoyed it as much as we did. Please stay tuned for new exhibitions coming soon.
©Esther Parker. Courtesy of the artist.