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Marlene Creates: Places, Paths, and Pauses


Marlene Creates, who is a longtime LAND2 network member, has had a major retrospective exhibition at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery. There is now a substantial book, published by Goose Lane Editions and the gallery, to accompany the exhibition, which is now available and has been reviewed in some detail at:

Marlene is an important figure in both Canadian and international eco-art circles, a fact recognised by her having been a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts since 2001. (Her partner is the Canadian eco-poet Don McKay, who contributes a long-unpublished poem and an incisive essay to the book). Sometimes superficially seen simply as of the same generation and orientation as Richard Long and Hamish Fulton, her work offers quite another, more inclusive, approach to place, which she herself describes: "not as a geographical location but as a process that involves memory, multiple narratives, ecology, language , and both scientific and vernacular knowledge". In this respect she is in actuality closer in orientation to the post-disciplinary deep mappings of Michael Shanks, Mike Pearson and Cliff McLucas. A work such as Sleeping Places, Newfoundland 1982 demonstrates, however, just how distinctive (and perhaps inflected by her gender) her work is within what is often categorised as 'land art', in many respects anticipating the subtler aspects of Andy Goldsworthy and in direct contrast to the machismo of so much American 'land art'. This is a book well worth investigating, given its relevance to the practices of so many LAND2 members.