Imprisonment For Removal
May 30 to June 27, 2009
Imprisonment for Removal, an exhibition of paintings and drawings by Nakusp artist Betty Fahlman.
The exhibition title is inspired by the text on a British Columbia Survey stake that Fahlman found during walks among tree stumps and their exposed massive root systems at the old Arrow Park town site. These documentary portraits depict how the stumps’ root systems have become more exposed with every lowering and rising of the Arrow Lakes Reservoir. Fahlman invites the viewer to see the destructive impact of the flooding of the lakes, even without knowing specifics of the history. “Although beautiful, these eerie stumps stand in mute testimony to the powerful force of erosion and measure the destruction and loss of land caused by the fluctuating reservoir levels,” states Fahlman.
In her essay about Fahlman’s work, Boukje Elzinga writes, “She has imprinted the land survey marker onto the surface of each painting, a marker which shows the crown of authority of the government, a settlement boundary location number, and the information that there would be “7 years of imprisonment” for anyone who dared to remove the marker.” Elzinga continues, “By imprinting each painting in this way, she establishes the fact that it was the community and its surroundings, which were imprisoned for removal.” Fahlman uses a plaster-mix primer on the wood surfaces of the pieces to call attention to the roughness of wooden stumps and dryness of sand and she uses multiple thin layers of acrylic colour and varnish to give her landscapes depth.
I’ve always been intrigued with colour and texture. Creating works that convey my relation to the world around me seems to be an irresistible compulsion. I like the whole process from the physical aspect of building the painting supports, to the creating of finished artworks. Working this way adds more dimension to what I do. By manipulating the plastered surface I can add layers to the piece. This process imbeds and layers information much like the passage of time not only changes our bodies, but also the world in which we live.I use acrylics because I like the faster drying time, which allows me to layer colour in thin washes. As well, this fast drying time allows me to use many layers of colour.