Local artist Glynis Wilson-Boultbee continues to inspire and provoke plenty of thought via her unique artistic expression.
Her latest exhibit, ‘(Un)Winding’, is currently on display at the Marjorie Wood Gallery in the Kerry Wood Nature Centre through to Nov. 6th.
An artist’s reception is set for Oct. 7th from 5 to 7 p.m.
‘(Un)Winding’ began with Wilson-Boultbee hanging fabric that had been colourfully decorated across and around some trees near the Kerry Wood Nature Centre in July of 2015, with the goal of leaving it for one year to see how the natural world in general affected it.
“It’s also about how we affect nature and how nature affects us.”
Wilson-Boultbee made weekly visits to the site to take photos and reflect on the changes she witnessed in the fabric, and ultimately, she wrote several insightful and completely charming poems that highlight her feelings and observations that surfaced over the course of the year.
They run the gamut from light and witty to personal to downright poignant and profound – Wilson-Boultbee has a rare knack for touching a viewer’s soul no matter what medium she chooses to work through. She is currently studying visual arts at Red Deer College and continues to explore a variety of means to express herself artistically.
“Making art for me is very meditative,” she explains. “One of the most peaceful places in the college is a big, busy sculpture studio,” she adds with a laugh. The process has the power to simply transport a person; everything else kind of falls away, she explains.
As to ‘(Un)Winding’, the roots of it stretch back to a project awhile back in her studies where students were instructed to pay attention to colour for an entire day. “We decided we would hang it in the sanctuary for a year and see how the colours played off of the trees and so forth.
“That’s all it was when it began, but because I wanted to document it through the photographs, I chose to come back once a week through the whole year. I missed only one because I was sick – but other than that, I came once each week.
“There is something amazing about coming back to exactly the same place every single week – different times of the day. What happens is the trees don’t change in their essence, but they change in the way such as whether they have leaves or not, or what colour the leaves are.
“Somedays it would be very windy, and the fabric would be blown straight out. So even though it was exactly the same thing every week, you saw how the external environment changed and you also could compare from week to week how you were feeling. Some days, I would think that the last week I had felt so peaceful and this week I feel kind of tired or anxious. It was just this really interesting discipline of self-reflection that was not part of the initial intention – but it’s what happened.”
Initially, Wilson-Boultbee had considered keeping a journal – but opted to wait until the year was over to reflect on and chronicle her observations.
“I thought I would let the photographs do the documenting and I’ll just let the experience unfold and not try to capture it,” she said. When it came time to write the poems, she found she was quite tired at the time and inspiration for just one surfaced at that time.
She took some time away from it. Then one day, as she decided to edit that single poem, something was stirred and the inspiration for the other poems just flowed. “It all arrived and was on the page within a six to eight hour period. All of it.
“There was a simplicity to the process that was really delightful.”
Over the course of the project, a couple of themes really seemed to stand out to Wilson-Boultbee.
“One of the them was that I became very aware of sometimes when you are busy, it’s hard to stop,” she explained. “Even when you want to. I was aware of how much I needed to pay attention to that and do some thinking about how I address that.”
Spending some time each week in the peaceful setting of the Kerry Wood Nature Centre helped to crystallize those perspectives.
“Sometimes it was the thing that I needed to do to remember that I maybe needed to take things slower for the rest of the afternoon or that kind of thing,” she said.
“I do really feel that nature is a great healer and that we are extremely fortunate to have this place and so many parks in our City that allow us the opportunity to go to a place of healing.”
Meanwhile, she’s grateful to the staff of the Kerry Wood Nature Centre for supporting the project and she is very pleased to share her work with the public.
“I just have to trust that if I have told the truth about my experience, that that is enough. Some people will connect with it and some people won’t, and that’s the way it goes – that’s okay.”