Processes of Remediation: art, relationships, nature

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Exhibition documentation of Processes of Remediation: art, relationships, nature at University of Lethbridge art Gallery, January 21 - August 26, 2021. Scroll down to view more artworks in the exhibition and visit the blog section to learn more. Photos: blkarts.ca.

Plants of Grassy Mountain

Alana Bartol, Plants of Grassy Mountain, 2020

76 drawings: heated cow's milk on paper, charcoal and cow's milk on paper, 17.78 x 25.4 cm

Photos: blkarts.ca

 

Plants of Grassy Mountain depicts plants that grow or have historically grown on Grassy Mountain, site of the proposed (and since denied) Grassy Mountain Coal Project, in the area now known as the Crowsnest Pass, in Treaty 7 Territory, Alberta. Grassy Mountain was previously strip mined in the 1950s, the scars of which, along with exploration completed for the proposed Grassy Mountain Coal Project, can be seen today. Visit CPAWS for more on the current campaigns to halt coal mining and development: https://cpawsnab.org/coal_campaign.

Plants of Grassy Mountain (Video)

Alana Bartol, Plants of Grassy Mountain, 2020, HD, 4 min 33 sec. Camera: Bryce Krynski. Full video 42 min 55 sec. Click volume to hear sound.

Plants of Grassy Mountain - Installation View

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Alana Bartol, Plants of Grassy Mountain, University of Lethbridge Art Gallery, Processes of Remediation: art, relationships, nature, 2020. Photos: blkarts.ca.

Seeds for Grassy Mountain

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Seeds for Grassy Mountain, a collaboration with Latifa Pelletier-Ahmed, 2020-ongoing

Participatory artwork, 350+ seed packets with seeds from plants that grow or have historically grown on Grassy Mountain.

Seed packet designs: Coal Plant, Canary Awaiting Resuscitation, and Crowsnest River Watershed. Photos: Alana Bartol and blkarts.ca.


Seeds of Grassy Mountain is a companion piece to Plants of Grassy Mountain. In the exhibition, the seed packets are displayed in a re-purposed core storage box obtained from the Greenhill Mine Complex. The box is labeled "GM" for Grassy Mountain. Visitors are invited to take a packet and plant the seeds as a way to connect with Grassy Mountain. Learn more about Seeds of Grassy Mountain here.

Westslope Cutthroat Trout (a canary in the coal mine)

Alana Bartol, Westslope Cutthroat Trout (a canary in the coal mine),

2020-ongoing, cow's milk on paper, charcoal collected from camper's fire pits in the Crowsnest Pass, miner's canary cage (wood), collection of the artist, date unknown

participatory artwork

Alana Bartol, Crowsnest Watershed, 2020

heated cow's milk on paper, milk and charcoal on paper, 55.88 x 76.2 cm

Canary Resuscitator Cage on loan from the Western Canadian History department of the Royal Alberta Museum

30.48 cm l x 10.16 cm w x 25.4 cm h

At one time, not so long ago, there were actual canaries in the coal mines. The origins of the metaphor lie in the work practices of coal miners that would bring caged canaries into the coal mines with them. Throughout the early and into the 20th century, canaries were used to ‘warn’ miners of toxic gases such as carbon monoxide in coal mines in what is now known as Canada as well as in Britain and other European countries. Being more susceptible to the gases, the canaries would collapse and die. They were often female canaries because they were not as valued as male canaries.

This device was used to resuscitate canaries. When a canary began to exhibit signs of distress from carbon monoxide poisoning, it would be placed inside. A valve would be opened, and oxygen would fill the chamber with the aim of reviving the canary.

From the Royal Alberta Museum:
Object Name: bird cage, Mine Testing
Description: mine type bird cage. has a square chrome rim on each side which holds in the mica window. hinged, oval-shaped front door with chrome rim & mica window, with swivel wing nut for closing & tightening the door. has a tubular-shaped metal oxygen bottle on top with valve handle for regulating flow, clamped on by brass "c" clamps. has a small release valve for pressure release. has a wooden perch inside. Thank you to the Royal Alberta Museum for the loan of this object.

Read more about the impacts of open-pit coal mining on the already threatened westslope cutthroat trout here

To Dig Holes and Pierce Mountains (coal chute rubbings)

Alana Bartol, To Dig Holes and Pierce Mountains (coal chute rubbings), 2020

charcoal on vellum, approximately 60.96 x 243.84 cm

A series of eleven drawings created on-site in abandoned coal mining operations in the Crowsnest Pass, Alberta.  The charcoal used was collected from firepits on Goat Mountain.

Read more about the process here

Grassy Mountain Road (Rubbing #1

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Alana Bartol, Grassy Mountain Road, Rubbing #1, 2020

charcoal on vellum, 73.66 x 45.72 cm

Photo: Courtesy of the artist. 

Coal Futures 1-4

Alana Bartol, Coal Futures No. 1- 4, 2021

Hydrostone, acrylic paint, false nails, nail polish, coal, petroleum coke, core sample, dowsing rods.

Processes of Remediation: art, relationships, nature, University of Lethbridge Art Gallery.

Photos: blkarts.ca. Click on any image to view information.

Rotten Pot

Alana Bartol, Rotten Pot, 2021.

Copper cauldron, wooden stands, rocks, coal, QR codes, dried plants (introduced species): wormwood, tansy, mullein, Canadian thistle, and sweetclover. Photo: blkarts.ca. 

 

Alana Bartol, Canary Awaiting Resuscitation, 2020

heated milk on paper, 17.78 x 25.4 cm

Photo courtesy of the artist

With a finger to her lips...

Alana Bartol, With a finger to her lips..., 2021. HD, 1 minute preview. Full video: 10 minutes 23 seconds. Camera: Bryce Krynski. Please contact me to view the whole video. Video plays in a loop in the exhibition. 

Hag's Taper

Alana Bartol, Hag’s Taper, 2020. HD, 1 min preview, full video: 3 min. Camera: Bryce Krynski. 

 

The many names of mullein include hag's taper, Jupiter's rod, flannel leaf, velvet plant, felt-wort, tinder plant, candlewick plant, witch's candle, lady's foxglove, candlewick plant, torches, cowboy toilet paper, and more. Brought by European settlers to what is now known as Canada over 250 years ago, mullein is native to parts of Europe and Asia. The introduced plant was valued for its medicinal abilities and its use as a fish poison.

 

From ancient to medieval times, the end of the plant’s stalks was used as torches in Europe. Parts of the plant have also been used for candle and/or lamp wicks. Mullein was used to light gatherings, funerals, and ceremonies. For those working in the dark, including mining prospectors, it provided light in caverns and tunnels. One can imagine witches and healers using mullein as both medicine and light source, though it may also have been used to violently against those accused of witchcraft.

 

Today, mullein is considered a noxious weed in so-called Alberta. Thriving in disturbed areas including former coal mines in the Crowsnest Pass, Alberta, mullein is tied to legacies of settler-colonization and ongoing colonial violence and environmental degradation.

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