ADRIANA KUIPER & RYAN SUTER | BURNED
Outdoor Site-specific Installation
Arts Festival Installation Walk: Sunday, August 19, 2pm
Since moving to Sackville, a small town in rural New Brunswick, artists Adriana Kuiper and Ryan Suter have become increasingly conscious of the surrounding rural environment. As makers of things they are specifically interested in the ways their neighbours ingeniously craft makeshift buildings, adapt agricultural equipment and generally engineer and repurpose everyday materials to construct useful and curious objects. The artists frequently draw upon these vernacular constructions for source material that is not far from what both artists have explored in their own individual practices; Kuiper often repurposes instructions for safety shelters meant as protection from impending disaster – natural and otherwise, and Suter attempts to disrupt our expectations of the natural landscape using sound and images.
An interest in the folly of false perceptions relating to protection from seemingly disastrous events led to new collaborative work. Perhaps ironically, and as fate would have it, the couple lost their shared studio to a large fire that occurred this past winter in a historical building in Sackville. It was a combination of this unfortunate event and doing research about Dawson’s early days that the piece Burned was conceived. In reading about the city’s history, two bits of information struck the artists. Firstly, it has been noted that prospectors would keep continuous bonfires burning to thaw frozen ground in the winter months. These small fires allowed them to gain access to muck underneath that could be arduously hauled up and later sifted through for gold. And secondly; bucket brigades were relied upon for fire fighting, and early attempts to defeat destructive fires in Dawson were often thwarted by freezing temperatures. The inevitable futility of these particular endeavors both interested the artists and felt familiar to previous ideas explored in art works completed by them in the past.
This strange paradox of freezing and burning simultaneously also became a key factor in the inception of the work for the Natural & the Manufactured exhibition. The sculpture references barrels seen in the local landscape that are used to burn waste or wood that is sometimes used to provide a source of heat and warmth. However, instead of setting material ablaze, frozen firewood is loaded into the barrel. The makeshift firewood slowly melts into a bucket in the base of the sculpture and the water collected from the melting ice is regularly recast/frozen into more icy wood to fuel the failed fire. The work also alerts viewers when the “fire” needs to be restarted as a somewhat pathetic alarm of drips amplified through a speaker stops when the firewood runs out. This perpetual activity of attempting to start or extinguishing an ineffective fire becomes arduously cyclical and therefore the sculpture itself becomes reliant on efforts that are perhaps made in vain.
Adriana Kuiper is an installation artist who lives and works in Sackville, New Brunswick. Her recent work explores versions of modified, hidden architectural structures meant to suggest safety from extreme forces, natural and otherwise. Her work investigates provisionally built structures found in the local landscape, and she often adapts and manipulates existing instructions for “Do-It-Yourself” shelters and small buildings. Outdoor public installations of her work have been show recently at Nuit Blanche in Toronto, and at Dalhousie University in Halifax. Kuiper’s work has been shown across Canada in cities such as Kitchener, Oakville, Vancouver and Calgary, and has been exhibited internationally in Oslo, Norway. Adriana Kuiper is a faculty member at Mount Allison University where she teaches sculpture and drawing.
Ryan Suter is a multi media artist currently living in deep Middle Sackville. His media work explores the spaces between things seen and things heard through the lens of film, music and installation. Ryan teaches at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. His work has exhibited throughout Canada.