Art for thought on P.E.I.

Sally Cole
Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

Somewheres, a new exhibition at the Confederation Centre Gallery in Charlottetown, explores the concept of place

Art is not just a pretty painting on the wall.

It is also work, expressed through artistic means, which presents a particular concept or idea.

Such is the case of Somewheres, a new exhibition currently underway at the Confederation Centre Gallery in Charlottetown.

To view some of the other images in the show, click here.

Featuring the work of 13 young artists who live and work in the Maritimes and their response to the concept of place, it is expected to create plenty of opportunities for discussion in the coming months.

Take, for example, Becka Viau’s Monument, an installation of eight, five-by-five, round hay bales placed on the plaza of the Confederation Centre of the Arts where they will live out their life until the end of May.

“I have been interested in hay bales for a while. I grew up in Central Queens County with its rolling hills, fields and farms. With the landscape and the amount of farming that happens here, round hay bales are part of our imagery. They’re pretty iconic themselves. So I started thinking, take this iconic rural symbol and contrast it against the iconic stoicism of this national emblem of Confederation that is present in our province,” says the Charlottetown artist, who is excited about the evolving nature of hay.

“I’m hoping that by the time spring comes, that there’s a big transformation in the way the bales look,” says Viau, one of two Prince Edwward Island. artists in the show.

The other, Sandi Hartling, has created Else, a large, text-based installation that explores the concept of “other.”

It consists of two elements: the word “else,” written in Hartling’s handwriting, blown up 20 times and hung on the wall, as well as a series of thought-provoking drawings that focus on the concept of perspective.

“Else is the idea of myself as created from future time unknown and past time, largely remembered inaccurately and future time unknown, told through a bad joke. The little drawings are meant to symbolize a road. The idea of having an image repeated so many times is to give the effect of movement, but also static movement. So that, although there’s nothing changing in the image, the viewer is still progressing through it,” says Hartling, who got the inspiration from the curator, Pan Wendt.

“He told me to reflect on that idea of somewhere and build a piece around time and place and memory and the associations we have with the word. So I came up with the idea of somewhere else, so it’s a play on words.”

Wendt is impressed with the creativity of these young artists.

Whether it’s Protect Your Love, a video by D’Arcy Wilson, a grouping of walkie-talkies attached to forest trees while the sound of the artist’s voice tries to communicate with any wildlife that happens to pass by or Spectres of Shortwave, a mixed media/video presentation by Amanda Dawn Christie about the mysterious international shortwave radio towers dominating the Tantramar marsh, the exhibition demonstrates a diversity of approaches.

“Initially, the idea was to do a survey, a standard conventional format to introduce a group of young, Maritime artists. In the end, it started to build around a number of key ideas, so I started to link them together. So I chose work that was about the place — the Maritimes — in some way or another, with its seasonal economy. For young artists, in particular, the conditions here are highly unstable. Many creative people have to leave if they want to make a living. So anxiety is one of the themes of the exhibition.”

Viau is anxious to see how the hay bales are going to look in the spring.

“They’re already shedding from the wind. And now they’re frozen and covered with snow, which is great. So we’re looking forward to (seeing) the bales and their different breaths of different personalities.”



Island Artist fast facts

Sandi Hartling is an emerging visual artist living and working in Charlottetown. She received her bachelor of fine arts from Sir Wilfred Grenfell College of Memorial University of Newfoundland in the spring of 2007.

Beck Viau received her masters of fine arts in 2013 at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and has worked as a curator, educator and co-ordinator of arts collectives.

Organizations: Sir Wilfred Grenfell College of Memorial University of Newfoundland, Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Confederation Centre Gallery

Geographic location: Charlottetown, Central Queens

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page



Recent comments

  • Becka Viau
    March 04, 2014 - 13:10

    Thank you all for your critical feedback and insight into my most recent work "Monument" now on display at the Confederation Centre. I just wanted to clarify a misunderstanding about where the hay came from - they were actually purchases from a dedictaed farmer in St. Peters, PE and will be removed at my own expense and labour at the end of the exhibit. It is interesting to me that Hay Bales in the downtown core at an art gallery can be considered "mess" but not so much a mess when helping to display groceries at the superstore in the fall... or when forgotten and disgarded in the fields... . I have taken note of these comments and look forward to engaging with more people about their perceptions of the "Monument" project. If you would.lile to know more artistic practice and my other work please visit my website. Sincerely. Becka Viau

  • Hay Bails
    March 03, 2014 - 06:53

    One would be better off putting a sign in front of the local pan handler and calling him "art", title him "working class Islander". To place these bails of hay in the downtown core, inviting the wildlife to house in it for warmth (albeit animals or the local bar crowd) is entirely foolish. Now had she called the hay bails tumbleweed and referred to it as "the Island economy", I would likely stand and applause. *rolls eyes* By the way, I actually have had art I painted myself, displayed in the Confederation Centre in the past and if this is the best they can inspire our youth to achieve, we need to look at changing the management at the centre.

  • What did
    February 28, 2014 - 22:02

    What did this cost? Seen better in fields around the province & not done by an artist but hard working farmers.

  • intobed
    February 28, 2014 - 15:17

    The "artwork" by Becka Viau has got to be the stupidest thing I have ever seen. Eight large rotting hay bales in the middle of downtown Charlottetown, what a wonderful thing. Who is paying for the set up and clean up of this mess? What is her next project, a wagon load of manure in front of Province House? It would be a lot more relevant.