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Dawson exhibit explores our ties to our environment

Dana Levine Special for the News This year marks the 10th anniversary of The Natural & The Manufactured - a unique, thematic project organized by the ODD Gallery.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of The Natural & The Manufactured - a unique, thematic project organized by the ODD Gallery and the artist in residence program at the Klondike Institute of Art and Culture in Dawson City. The project brings artists, writers, and curators together to explore the relationships we have with the environment that surrounds us.

This year, Alison Judd is one of those artists, and her exhibition Living with a Landslide is currently up at the ODD Gallery. Primarily a printmaker, Judd has taken a material she is no stranger to, and pushed the boundaries of its limitations. Working with both handmade and Japanese paper, the artist broke into the third dimension through a material most often reserved for just two. Alison Judd travelled up to Dawson City to create - and that is certainly what she has done. In just six weeks, Judd effectively recreated the Moosehide Slide by taking hundreds of paper castings of the rocks from the iconic landform and bringing them into the gallery, reinventing the slide out of paper in delicate metaphor.

For Judd, the relationship to the land is critical. “It’s the place that I go to recharge and settle myself, and I’m trying to understand why that happens.” Not only is this relationship a theme in the subject matter of Judd’s work, it was a significant aspect in the actual creation of this particular exhibition as well. In the weeks prior to the installation of her work, the artist hiked up the dome nearly every day and covered rocks from the slide with handmade paper. The repetitive process of walking, preparing materials, wrapping the rocks, and reflecting on the experience was a sensual and restorative one for Judd, and had very much to do with a personal “landslide” that had happened within, and the reconciliation of that loss, she says.

By bringing this intimate landslide into the gallery, Alison Judd has exposed something tender and vulnerable within us all. Mirroring the heart with the land we live on, she has made the emotive a visceral, tangible experience, and magnified it for all to see. “I like the poetry in art,” says Judd. In experiencing the artist’s work and listening to her words, this becomes quite clear. Living with a Landslide is as much about our inner selves as it is about ecology and place. It is poetic, process-based work that speaks to its viewer about impermanence, loss, healing, and our changing relationship with the land. Living with a Landslide will be on display at the ODD Gallery through August 1.

The Natural & The Manufactured continues from August 14th - September 19th, with artists Dylan Miner and Terrance Houle in residence at the historic Dawson City Macaulay House. Miner, whose work addresses issues such as consumption, anti-colonial and anti-capitalist desire, and resistance, will be working on and exhibiting a body of work entitled Michin-Michif while in Dawson. The work will investigate Metis medicine and our society’s relationship with various healing practices.

Terrance Houle, an interdisciplinary media artist and member of the Blood Tribe, will be bringing his ongoing performance/installation series Friend or Foe to Dawson. Using Native American sign language and signals to communicate history, time travel, myths and legends, Houle will create a performance installation and ultimately produce a hiking tour to re-enact stories told by the local indigenous people of the area, the Tr’ondek Hwech’in. Both Miner and

Houle will be giving artist talks during this year’s Yukon Riverside Arts Festival, August 14-17 in Dawson City.

Dana Levine is a writer, an artist, and the current programming assistant at KIAC.