Always rich with trace of past or present horror, landscapes play a central role in Jillian McDonald’s recent series of video works. The Thaw is a video and installation project developed through a residency at the Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba in March of 2015. The video was shot on location around Southwestern Manitoba, from Virden to Souris Valley and the Riding Mountain National Park, with the help of over twenty volunteer actors from the community. The participants masked and costumed in shades of white, acted out animals - both predator and prey – inhabiting the nearly still prairie while it transformed from winter to spring. The animals wake from hibernation and begin to hunt, while the previously pristine white fields can no longer act as protective camouflage as the snow melts to expose the vulnerable white creatures against the stark landscape and the towering sky.
Glacier is a new work created by Tahltan Artist Peter Morin in response to Jillian McDonald’s residency at the Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba. Working with McDonald during filming of the project, as well as afterwards as she develops the installation and edits the footage, Morin will look at the prairie landscape as a site of multiple overlapping histories. Situating McDonald’s project in relation to the tradition of landscape representation in Canada, he will respond to the elements of the piece: the white costumed hybrid animals, the wild and cultivated prairie, and the underlying stories that have shaped the Canadian relationship with the land. Morin’s practice investigates the impact between Indigenous cultural practices and settler colonialism, often taking shape as performance as well as object making and images.