Two weeks ago, Linda and I returned from a month-long artist’s residency in Roger’s Cove, Newfoundland. Residencies vary quite widely in nature, from being simply a place of seclusion away from day-to-day distractions to allow the artist to focus on their work, through to ones that include formal study with specific objectives and deliverables. This one was clearly situated in the former camp.
As with my previous residency in Arles, this was a practical exercise. My intent here was to explore a site contrasting Arles: one with relatively little tourism and less formal and recorded history. To complete the contrast, unlike our Arles apartment in located in a 17th century mansion, Newfoundland offered a simple cabin, disconnected from the grid (that is, no electricity, water, plumbing, etc.)
As with Arles, I worked toward four outcomes:
- Visual Language:
While in Arles I tended towards simple icons, such as images of walls, doors, windows, stairs and remnants. Newfoundland suggested a different set of icons.
- Observations on local vs. global:
The character of the region, especially in the smaller villages, has remained relatively untouched by the franchise restaurants, big-box stores etc. But there are signs of change.
Although I tend towards a documentary style as a means of conveying [factual] information, I find it can be quite dry as a result of the tendency towards the production of plain images, as these are thought to convey a sense of truth. The artful image, on the other hand is seen to be contrived or manipulated and thus lacking in veracity. I want to push against that dictum and explore the intersection of these styles, in part because I want to convey an emotional dimension in addition to the factual one.
- Process testing:
This was the second of 5 such excursions, so developing a process to extract as much as possible is essential.