Accelerated Erosion

30aprAll Day26mayAccelerated ErosionIris Naessens-Patterson & Marlene York

Event Details

Accelerated Erosion
exposing ancient clay
Iris Naessens-Patterson & Marlene York

The Craig Main Gallery
April 30th – May 26th, 2024

Opening Reception: May 2, 6-8pm

 

Accelerated Erosion, exposing ancient clay 19,000 years ago Nova Scotia was covered with ice. The Appalachian Glacier Complex brought ice from two different directions. This ice carried and deposited various types of rock and soils, including a clay-loam. As the glaciers began to retreat, these deposits remained in the glaciated landscape: eskers, moraines, drumlins, erratics and glacial tills. Over time these forms have been eroding. Climate change has accelerated this erosion, allowing greater access to the deposits.

A beautiful red clay-loam can be found throughout Nova Scotia, some deposits are more accessible than others. This Pleistocene clay is one of the layers found in drumlins. There are fields of drumlins in the Lawrencetown-Three Fathom-Seaforth area called the Chezzetcook Drumlin Field. As the sea level rises and the storms become more fierce, the drumlins along the coast have become towering headlands which are being eroded by constant wave action and heavy rains. It is along these local headlands that we have been able to dig the red clay.

Most of the clay used in this show comes from the headland at Graham Head in Three Fathom Harbour. At different times we hiked in to dig this clay and brought it out with backpacks to our studios. We each processed and tested the clay in the way that would be needed for our particular artworks.

In this show you will see the variety of ways that we have experimented with this local clay. There are functional pottery pieces in which the clay is used as a slip, applied in layers which are each burnished in turn. Collaborative hand-built pieces using the burnished slip have been carved with designs. There are paintings using the clay on both raw and gessoed canvas and on wooden panels. Both the carvings and paintings use the imagery of the clay’s source.

It was interesting to see on the beach at Graham Head how the former landowner tried to staunch the relentless erosion of the cliffs. He brought huge concrete and rebar sections from the demolition of the first Penhorn strip mall in Dartmouth and deposited them at the cliff base. The thought was that these concrete sections would stop the ocean from eroding the cliffs. Of course this was not the case and the ocean also eroded the concrete and moved these sections around the beach. Some of this concrete and rebar is almost sculptural and is interesting to paint and draw. Pieces of the rebar have been used with the pottery.

Clays from a few other areas have been used in the paintings: from Gaetz Head in Seaforth, Scott’s Bay near Blomidon, Dilligent River near Parrsboro and Shubie Park Beach; and from outside of Nova Scotia: Great Codroy near Doyle in Newfoundland and Ban Chan Lua in Laos.
The colours vary in the red clays from deep red-brown to an orangey red. The Scott’s Bay clay is different and is a grey buried-marsh clay.

By using these clays in our artworks we hope to bring attention to the concern of accelerated erosion caused by climate change, especially as it affects the coast where we both live.

 

The coastal erosion along the shore of Nova Scotia is accelerating due to the effects of climate change with increasing storms and rising sea levels. Seeing the exposure of the glacial clay while hiking along the weathered headlands and shores, gave us the idea to bring this clay into our studios to create artwork. In this show you will see the variety of ways that we have both experimented with this clay. There are functional pottery pieces in which the clay is used as a slip, applied in layers which are each burnished in turn. Collaborative hand-built pieces using the slip have been carved with designs. Paintings in clay and different mediums are on both raw and gessoed canvas, on watercolour paper, and on wooden panels. Both the carvings and paintings use the imagery of the clay’s source. By using this clay in our artwork we hope to bring attention to the concern of accelerated erosion caused by climate change, especially as it affects the coast where we both live.

Iris Naessens-Patterson
Iris has always had an interest in clay. She grew up in Belgium and while in high school took part in an independent study which led to her first ceramics course in sculpting and raku. Over the years Iris moved to different countries and attended further courses with clay in the US. She eventually found herself settling down in Nova Scotia where she studied with Carol Smeraldo. She has attended workshops with potters such as Randy Brodnax, Vincent Massy, Naomi Lyndenfeld, Mariko Patterson, and more.
In 2012 she opened her own studio and school, Seastar Pottery, in Seaforth Nova Scotia where she can see the Atlantic through the windows of her studio. Iris’s work is inspired by the sea and the movement and flow of the creatures living in it.
www.seastarpottery.com

Marlene York
Marlene works in a variety of media including paintings in oils and watercolours, drawings in conte, pencils and charcoal and mixed media pieces. She paints and draws on location as well as in her studio. Her interests include landscape, still life, portraits and the design of the human figure, and is inspired by the ocean where she lives. She is fascinated by the designs created by shadow and light in the
natural world.
Marlene has participated in many group and solo exhibitions. She has been a member of Visual Arts Nova Scotia since 1996. Marlene has been teaching art for many years throughout Nova Scotia and across Canada, in art workshops and in schools. Seaforth Studio Art Classes for Children and Teens opened in 1994 where Marlene mentored and taught until 2022. Marlene teaches private art lessons
to students with autism.
www.seaforthstudio.com

Time

April 30 (Tuesday) - May 26 (Sunday)

Location

The Craig Main Gallery