“Waters of the Humpback brings together artists from Guatemala (Irene Carlos), Mexico (Christina Luna) and the west coast of Canada (Natasha van Netten) around the humpback whale and the vast waters it migrates through annually from its breeding grounds in Central America to feeding grounds in the North. Through paint, drawing and sculpture they illuminate this remarkable creature and the fragility of the ocean ecosystem that ties us together.” (except from the Yukon Arts Centre)
Waters of the Humpback was curated and brought together by Mary Bradshaw, director of visual arts, and Joyce Majiski, visual artist.
This exhibition opened in partnership with the Song of the Whale, a solo exhibition by Joyce Majiski (Whitehorse, Yukon), located in an adjoining space in the Yukon Arts Centre. Song of the Whale features an installation of a life-size replica of a humpback skeleton carved from sea-salvaged Styrofoam.
By scrolling down you will find image galleries with statements about my pieces from the Waters of the Humpback exhibition. If you want to view an image larger, click on the thumbnail image.
The Feeding Giants installation focuses on a complex, cooperative feeding technique employed by humpback whales: bubble net feeding. These three-dimensional, steel drawings have been distilled to simple forms—focusing on the pattern and activity these massive creatures create beneath the waters’ surface. By swimming in a spiral, the whales corral their prey into a dense ball. The lead whale creates a net of bubbles and a designated whale releases a high-pitched sound. Simultaneously, they charge to the surface: mouths wide and pleated throats ballooning. This work is similar to zoological illustrations and creates a time laps of all stages as one moment.
Compass explores buoyancy and weightlessness and questions the experience of a whale’s relationship with gravity. This work contains four ink drawings of the same image, each rotated 90 degrees to create a full rotation. The drawings have been layered with water from the Salish Sea. Natural currents, eddies and tidal pools were created on the drawings by the seawater. As the water dried it worked deep into the fibre of the paper, leaving behind a record of the process. This complex medium contains tiny fragments of plants, microorganisms, plankton and salt—turning this work into a specimen of the ocean.
Tide Lines is created to change and shift, like seaweed washed up along a shore—a visual reminder of the constant flux and movement of the ocean. This fluid and changing work contains over 400 individually cut, watercolour paintings of seaweed species found along the coasts of British Columbia and Alaska. The patterns and arrangements of historic botanical illustrations also informed the development of this work. Tide Lines investigates the human desire to organize, re-arrange, group together and compartmentalize nature.
Images provided by Natasha van Netten unless otherwise noted