23 January 2018

Artists’ Residency Participants Under the Spell of Fundy National Park
BENEATH the surface – Exhibition Opening

The New Brunswick Museum is pleased to host the exhibition BENEATH the surface opening on Friday, 26 January, 5-7pm. This exhibition is a unique partnership between Craft NB and Parks Canada with generous support of the Province of New Brunswick. This group exhibition, curated by Maegen Black, was inspired by a week-long residency at Fundy National Park.
 
“Since the 1930s, the New Brunswick Museum has been an advocate of the exceptional fine craft produced by the province’s artisans. The works in this exhibition uphold the inspired continuity and evolution of New Brunswick’s respected heritage of creativity and ingenuity,” says Peter J. Larocque, NBM Art Curator.

A group of artists from across New Brunswick gathered in Fundy National Park in June 2017, to celebrate Canada 150, and immersed themselves in the beauty of Fundy National Park for five days. They were given time and space to develop new ideas as they explored the natural landscapes and investigated the ecological processes that shape and change the natural world. The Craft NB artists’ residency was also a wonderful occasion for the Park to rekindle its relationship with New Brunswick’s fine crafts community. In 1947 in a WWII army hut on the UNB campus in Fredericton, Ivan Crowell, director of handicrafts for the Province of New Brunswick, hosted a game-changing meeting which lead to the inception of the organization now known as Craft NB. Not long after the organization was conceived, and with growing interest and popularity in ‘handicrafts’, a summer craft school was born in Fundy National Park, which later lead to the development of the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design.

"The history of Fundy National Park is deeply rooted to the arts and crafts of New Brunswick. It gives me great pleasure to congratulate each artist who is contributing to the Beneath the Surface exhibition. With its fog forest, waterfalls, seashore, tides, and history, Fundy has and will continue to bring to artists and indeed to anyone visiting it, endless occasions to connect with nature and with oneself. We are honoured to be part of this great initiative and are looking forward to a continuing engagement with the New Brunswick arts and crafts community," says Sharon Hayes, Acting Field Unit Superintendent, New Brunswick South Field Unit, Parks Canada.

“The idea was to create programming that would push and challenge artists to think and create in new ways, while celebrating the diverse New Brunswick landscape in a fresh light… At that time no one could have foreseen the immense inspiration that was to be generously shared by Fundy National park's landscape and interpreters, or the amazing results that would culminate to form this ground-breaking exhibition”, wrote Alison Murphy, Craft NB Executive Director, in the opening words of the Beneath the Surface exhibit catalogue.

Participating artists’ responses to the residency were varied, as to be expected, and is clearly evident in the breadth of the diverse work selected for this exhibition. And yet, there is an overall interconnectedness reflected among these works.  In the end, three distinctive themes emerged across great divides:  beauty, biology, and emotional response.  This exhibition is not only a reflection of the determined creativity of the artists involved, but it is also a lasting impression of the captivating beauty of Fundy National Park.

Artists featured in the exhibition are:
Matt Watkins, Fabiola Martinez Rodriguez, Peter Powning, Shinaid MacGillivray, Maria Guevara, Joe Pach, Patricia Goodine, Jaqueline Bourque, Philip Savage, Deborah Payne, Jamie Brown, Alyson Brown, Katelyn White, Steve Jones, Ralph Simpson, and Allison Green.

Also during this evening, participating artist, Matt Watkins, selected recently as the 2017 recipient of the Sheila Hugh Mackay Foundation Inc.’s “Nel Oudemans Award” will be officially recognized. This award acknowledges the pursuit of excellence in the field of fine craft and design by emerging New Brunswick artisans.  Watkins, a St. Andrews resident, is an artist and goldsmith who draws inspiration from New Brunswick landscape.  His distinctive vision is reinforced by exceptional design and superior craftsmanship. As an entrepreneur, he is the owner/operator of Symbiosis Fine Art Gallery and Earthforge Jewellery in Saint Andrews where he also instructs at Sunbury Shores Arts and Nature Centre.

All are welcome to join the artists and representatives of the organizing partners at the free exhibition opening at the New Brunswick Museum on Friday, 26 January, 5-7pm. The exhibition will remain at the NBM until 22 April 2018.


For more information:

Caitlin Griffiths or Aristi Dsilva, Communications & Marketing, New Brunswick Museum
(506) 654-7059 or (506) 643-2358
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Vena Carr, Communications & Marketing, Craft NB
(506) 450-8989
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