Closing reception to be announced.
Jubilee is a conversation (in sculpture and print) between two Victorias—Victoria Hall, the building currently housing The Assembly, and the Queen Victoria monument in Gore Park:
Colonial engravings are made lewd and delirious. Queen Victoria’s direct link to beech bark disease is uncovered. Small pieces of American beech DNA are encoded onto beechwood and paper. Ontario’s largest beech tree is observed.
Victorias echo among us (and echo, and echo).
Sometime between 1887 and 1897, Queen Victoria sent a gift to the Halifax Public Gardens to mark either her Golden or Diamond Jubilee (the records aren’t entirely clear). The gift was an ornamental European beech tree. Queen Victoria’s gift came with a hitchhiker—the beech scale insect. American beech trees around Halifax began to show signs of beech scale infestation. Then, they began to show symptoms of what is now called beech bark disease. Ever since that gift arrived, beech bark disease has been spreading across North America, reducing once-stately trees to stunted, cankered thickets.
After Victoria’s death, the Queen Victoria Statue Memorial Committee, a group of Hamilton women, raised money to create a monument for the dead queen. It was unveiled in Gore Park in 1908.
Mark Prier’s artwork examines the interaction between culture and ecology. Working from diverse sources, such as botany, folklore, geology, and history, he rearticulates this examination into sculpture, installation, performance, sound, and video. He has collaborated with environmental conservation workers, cast seed for urban birds, started restoring an acre of farmland to the documented pre-colonial forest, and created large-scale sculptures reimagining suburban fence posts. His exhibitions include shows in Canada, Mexico, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States.