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: 36 heated milk on paper, 36 charcoal and 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 Grassy Mountain Coal Project in the area now known as the Crowsnest Pass, in Treaty 7 Territory, Alberta. Learn more about the proposed Grassy Mountain Coal Project in my previous blog posts and on the Niitsítapi Water Protectors website.

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 of Grassy Mountain

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, participatory artwork. Installation view University of Lethbridge Art Gallery. Also pictured: Crowsnest River Watershed drawings, Coal Miner's Canary Cage. Read more about the impacts of open-pit coal mining on the already threatened westslope cutthroat trout here

To Dig Holes and Pierce Mountains

Creating To Dig Holes and Pierce Mountains (coal chute rubbings), 2020, a series of drawings created using frottage to capture the textures of coal chutes in abandoned coal mining operations in the Crowsnest Pass, Alberta. How many tonnes of coal were mined and moved through these operations? A sense of movement and rippling patterns emerge as the indentations left on surfaces are captured through rubbings.  Working on vellum, I am using charcoal made from willow collected in the Crowsnest Pass as well as charcoal collected from fire pits on Goat Mountain (near Grassy Mountain). Read more about the process here. Keep scrolling below to see the final artworks installed in the exhibition.

To Dig Holes and Pierce Mountains (coal chute rubbings)

Alana Bartol, To Dig Holes and Pierce Mountains (coal chute rubbings), 2020, charcoal on vellum 60.96 x 243.84 cm. a series of eleven drawings created on-site in abandoned coal mining operations in the Crowsnest Pass, Alberta.  

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. Learn more about the proposed Grassy Mountain Coal Project and other coal projects being proposed on Blackfoot territory / Treaty 7 lands in "Alberta" on the Niitsítapi Water Protectors website. Image below: Creating Grassy Mountain Road Rubbing #1, 2020. Photo: blkarts.ca.

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Hag's Taper

Alana Bartol, Hag’s Taper, 2020. HD, 1 min preview, full video: 3 min. Please contact me to view the full video. This video plays on a loop in the exhibition.

 

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.

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

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. 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. Please contact me to view the whole video. Video plays in a loop in the exhibition. 

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