Artist Fiona Duthie uses different materials to invoke ‘Resilience’
Duthie brought her interactive piece to the Craft Council of BC for a limited time
By Gina Rogers
A West Coast artist has demonstrated how nurturing inner strength through times of crisis can be transformed into works of art.
With soot, burned wood, wool, clay and natural inks such as Sumi-e inks, artist Fiona Duthie created an interactive art piece whose materials embody the qualities necessary for overcoming adversity – with the aim of helping the onlooker emerge stronger from the experience. She named it Resilience.
Visitors are meant to engage and feel
“Clay has to be transformed by fire to be made strong,” said Duthie.
The Granville Island gallery, Craft Council of BC, has housed the installation for the past six weeks and has 148 interactive squares that can be arranged and changed into any pattern. The act of changing and breaking the pattern of the blocks is a way to test the resilience of the exhibition. Seeing all these changes with the installation remaining visually attractive is one way patrons are gaining some kind of therapy, Duthie said; a kind of parable for decision making in life.
Duthie spent time in Australia and witnessed the aftermath of a devastating forest fire. It was this moment that she started collecting materials to make her own Sumi-e ink, a traditional Japanese ink made from charcoal from burnt wood.
“Through the crisis, essentially, the burning process, [the materiel] comes out being more beautiful in a way,” Duthie said.
Chosen materials have meaning
Duthie said with the recent devastation in New South Wales and other parts of Australia, her art instillation has become “so much more pertinent.”
The wood, which provides the background for the piece, is burnt B.C. fir, which also inspired the kind of ink Duthie chose to use.
Sarah Duggan, the Craft Council of BC’s membership initiatives coordinator said, “It was really interesting to see such a wide variety of people [who] were interested in it.”
Tom Costie who also works at the CCBC, said this one installation had a much broader appeal than others he has seen come and go.
“[With other pieces you] can’t touch them and engage with them on the level that you could with Fiona’s work.”
The exhibit ended Nov. 26, 2019.