Monday, March 19, 2012

In which I digress


The day I finished the final polish of Scars of Kinship (aka New Moon's Giant Cock, etc) I also went to a gallery opening. The exhibit featured three artists who all think about people in places, which was incredibly appropriate for a fiction writer.

Laura St Pierre's art was the most affecting for me: not only were each of the pieces similar to short stories in their depiction of a person in a place with a problem, but the setting was Grande Prairie, a place where I spent a fair bit of time during my formative years--and the problem I had there was similar to the problem her character has.

Grande Prairie is a rich but very transient city. People move there for jobs: oil industry or forestry industry, for example. Jobs in these fields are very tough. Physically, they beat the crap out of you. Emotionally, they isolate you, and they make you depend on a tiny group of comrades, which means you can lose perspective pretty thoroughly. You can't stay connected to the wider culture when you're living in the bush and you see town one night in five weeks and the only place that will take your money is a peeler bar.

The protagonist in Laura St Pierre's installations is a transient person, constructing dwellings out of cloth and light, in liminal spaces, in a city where every space is liminal. I loved chatting with her about how character develops place, and how place develops character.

Her show is on until the end of the month, for any Torontonians interested: Gallery 44, 401 Richmond W.

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