in the long grass like the ocean, where the ocean used to be / The New Gallery


in the long grass like the ocean, where the ocean used to be, Jennifer Brant & Jennifer Ireland, May 2nd - June 6th 2020.




 Jennifer Brant and Jennifer Ireland draw on their respective interdisciplinary practices to collaboratively investigate and re-envision decolonial relationships and responsibilities towards land and environment.


Configuring their artistic methods through an open and direct engagement with their environment, Brant and Ireland pursue material research that facilitates listening, observing, chronicling, and communicating with the natural world.  Characterized by responsiveness and to nurture the emergence of kinship and problem solving, the artists use audio, video, sculpture, performance, and drawing to articulate their experiences of land, enabling the viewer to imagine and intuit along with them.   Both artists are deeply invested in broad theoretical research, because to engage with environment and land is to engage with histories, current challenges, and future possibilities. They reach multi-directionally through interdisciplinary works inspired by the writing of Donna Haraway, Priscilla Stuckey, Rebecca Solnit, and Jeffrey J. Cohen, focusing on the phenomenological experience of land and place. Brant and Ireland’s research took them through conversations, story sharing, explorations of historical documents and maps, and through their own subjective experiences. Building upon past works in their practices that theoretically intertwine, they together made this series of works conceptually coupled around the shared stone, flora, and fauna of British Columbia and Alberta.
















bird conversation: savannah sparrow, Jennifer Brant


Pictured: A red motion activated speaker.
What you're hearing is an audio recording of the artist singing the song of the Savannah sparrow, an Albertan songbird whose song has changed in response to the noise from the oil fields. It continues to be played through a motion-activated speaker mounted outside of The New Gallery's Main Space.

the farthest shore, Jennifer Ireland


Throughout the exhibition, Ireland will undertake a series of performative gestures, titled: the farthest shore, which will include engagement with the artist's local river, the Bow River.  These moments with the river are efforts to come to better understand and to build a stronger relationship with the river. The moments are characterized by offerings; clay cups, story/poetry sharing and by touch. These will be shared online through photographic documentation. It is with the artist’s great thanks that they have the opportunity to collaboratively include the work of Canadian poet, singer, and songwriter, Clea Roddick.



Pictured: Image 1: The artist holding a ball of clay in their hand with the Bow River in the background. Image 2: The artist holding a cup made of clay with the Bow River in the background. Image 3: The artist holding a cup made of clay with river water inside. Image 4: Rocks in the Bow River.




Pictured: Images of the artist dipping a white translucent cloth into the Bow River.





Pictured: Images of the artist dipping white translucent pieces of paper into the Bow River. These pages have indistinct poetry written on them by Clea Roddick. One piece of paper reads: Our bones were made for this conversation..



the wind's twelve quarters, Jennifer Ireland

Pictured: Four square pieces of hand dyed wool mounted on a white wall, dyed red, green and orange in indistinct sections

the wind’s twelve quarters is a vibrant series made of natural, locally sourced woolens dyed by hand. Conceptually inspired by bell curves and statistical analyses of growth patterns in nature, the work expands to encompass the unpredictable constraints and reciprocity of sharing and giving that occurs between neighbors and symbionts.


Pictured: One square piece of hand dyed wool with red, orange and green sections.



Pictured: A close up of one square piece of hand dyed wool with red, orange and green sections. The texture of the wool is visible.

the kin we carry (shared microbial destiny), Jennifer Brant


Pictured: Image 1: A small grey tent like structure with drawings of soil microbes projected over it. The walls and the tent structure have a textile print of orange microbes. Image 2: A person with their back facing the camera in front of a small grey tent like structure, drawings of soil microbes are projected over both the subject and the structure. Both the person, structure and walls have textile prints of orange microbes on them.

For her work, the kin we carry (shared microbial destiny), Brant retreats into a textile-based installation and video as a way of acknowledging, communing with, and mourning our microbial kin. Viewed from inside a tented sanctuary camouflaged by large scale drawings of soil microbes, the videos document the artist interacting with the microbial world.


sympoieses, Jennifer Ireland

Pictured: Spider plant with three cuttings in ceramic bowls..

sympoiesis (making with) explores possible futures based on the reciprocity of cooperative living, and learning of the ways in which plants communicate, behave socially, share resources, and recognize kin. This chlorophytum comosum, a common house plant and non-native species in North America, nurtures and nourishes through its above-soil network of stolons and plantlets.  Sharing in the plant’s practice of care, the artist has filled small, handmade clay bowls with water to support the plantlets.  Heavily inspired by Haraway and Simmard, the work activates a speculative multi-species feminist methodology that encourages, through its small example, productively troubled solutions to environmental problems that address them at the root.



elbow, Jennifer Brant

Pictured: Wool rug with vague landscapes on one side and an orange x with a grey background on the other side.

elbow, is a depiction of the underlying geology of an area of land from Mohkinstsis/Calgary,  spanning west across the border into British Columbia, drawn from energy and mining maps.

Pictured: 2 Close up shots of the wool rug.



Close up shot of the wool rug.


Close up shot of the wool rug.


The rug, made from wool stashed away by her mother, her grandmothers, and herself, probes the fallibility of borders and explores the composition of our material, corporeal, and familial foundations.

The same rug from further away laying on the floor.




the word for world is forest, Jennifer Ireland


Pictured: Hundreds of pinecones on a window ledge.

the word for world is forest is an assemblage sculpture of young and mature spruce cones from the artist’s yard, gathered over one year from spring 2019 to spring 2020.

Pictured: Hundreds of pinecones on a window ledge.



The spruce trees are about fifty years old and have outgrown their space between the road and the home. Stressed by the constrained resources in this suburban setting, they produce more cones. This work aims to quantify the impact of such stress as the artist considers her responsibility to these arboreal neighbours.


Pictured: Hundreds of pinecones on a window ledge.





Jennifer Ireland - Bio - Jennifer Ireland is a multimedia artist working to reconfigure ways of knowing and ways of being in land through the questioning of traditional epistemologies and abstract boundaries.  Ireland strives to make work that is mindful of situation, site, context, and access.  This ethic is found in her work through specific materials and methods which are often light, sustainable and provisional.  Ireland’s multi-medium, research-based practice ranges from drawing, photography, video, and sculpture, to site-sensitive installation and performance.  Each artwork is made as a proposition that operates simultaneously as suggestion and possibility for de-colonial wayfinding in the Anthropocene. As a Treaty 7 person, Ireland’s home is in Mohkinstsis/Calgary, Alberta, in the foothills between the prairies and the Rocky Mountains, the traditional lands of the Blackfoot Confederacy: Kainai, Piikani, Siksika, the Tsuu T’ina, and Îyâxe Nakoda Nations and the peoples of the Métis Nation (Region 3).  Ireland holds a BA in Philosophy from the University of Calgary, studied drawing and sculpture at Alberta University of the Arts, and recently graduated from the 2018 Masters of Fine Arts at Emily Carr University of Art + Design. Jennifer Brant - Bio - Jennifer Brant is an interdisciplinary artist whose emergent research and material-based practice tries to concurrently experience, facilitate, and chronicle interactions with both the human and more-than-human world. She explores systems and relationships, marginalized spaces, complicated emotional states, and futurity. Using installations and interventions, field studies, textile practices, ceramics, writing, and drawing, she encourages and documents moments that bring an awareness of interconnection and kinship, gently interrupt passivity, and cultivate alternative narratives to our current mythologies of progress and nature. Born and raised on the West Coast, an uninvited guest on the stolen territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh  (Squamish) and səl̓ílwətaʔɬ /Selilwitulh (Tslei-wa-tuth) people, as well as on the territory of the Tla-amin people, she divides her time between Vancouver and xʷɛʔɛt̓ay (Lasqueti Island), a small island off the grid. Brant holds a BFA and MFA from Emily Carr University of Art + Design and a BEd from the University of British Columbia.




The New Gallery gratefully acknowledges its home on the traditional territories of the people of Treaty 7 region, including the Blackfoot Confederacy (Kainai, Piikani and Siksika, Métis Nation of Alberta Region III, Stoney Nakoda First Nation (Chiniki, Bearspaw, Wesley), and Tsuu T'ina First Nation. TNG would also like to acknowledge the many other First Nations, Métis and Inuit who have crossed this land for generations.
This exhibition was generously funded by the Rozsa Foundation and the Calgary Foundation.


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