Conversations

Terroir Q&A Series: Dawn MacNutt

Terroir: a Nova Scotia Survey is in it's final week on vew at the Gallery. The last day to see this exhibition is Sunday, January 15, 2017. Continuing to reflect on the work and practice of the 29 exceptional artists found in this exhibition lets look to Dawn MacNutt's  Terroir Q&A. For insight into her practice and work.

We hope that you have a chance to get out to the Gallery and experience Terroir again, or for the first time and remember the gorgeous exhibition publication is now available for sale at the Gallery Shop.

Terroir: a Nova Scotia Survey looks at regional artistic production through the work of 29 artists whose practices draw influence from this place, its history and its culture, in new and meaningful ways. This group exhibition, a partial picture of what’s going on here at this moment in time, includes an exciting range of experienced and emerging artists, making for a dynamic and engaging exploration of Nova Scotia’s rich contemporary visual arts community. What is your connection to Nova Scotia, and why were you inspired to submit a work for this exhibition?

When I read the title, I thought of my personal connection to the land, particularly this rural area where I was born. That is particularly meangful because I returned to my birthplace just ten years ago, after 45 years in the city, and lots of travel abroad. And then I made an unexpected discovery that the old house on the property that we converted to studio was actually built by my great great grandfather. So the land here has much meaning. Terroir resonated.

Can you tell us a little about your work that is on view?

Walk in Peace comes from this land. Since returning to Little Harbour, Pictou County, I use only local plant material in my interlaced work (although some of this work gets converted to bronze). This particular work incorporates local willow as well as some grapevine…material with lots of character, and a mind of its own. Like most of my work, it is inspired by human vulnerability…imperfection…irregularity.

Your work is on view along with 28 other artists. How do you see your work within the context of this group exhibition?

There is a richness in the variety of styles and genres in Terroir. The diversity of the works in the show creates a fullness that themed shows do not. As it should be, one is stretched in order to take in all the different perspectives of the many artists. Those that are not easily understood are shown beside the familiar, the sweet, the shocking, the beautiful, the simple, the large, the challenging and the diminutive.

He and She

He and She Out Standing in the Field, twined live willow, 15' high photo by Merle Pratt

What are you working on in now, or planning for the near future?

I have fire in my belly for some new work. Whether or not it happens, the dream is there. I don’t have time to fret about age.

How has your artistic process developed over time? What informs your practice?

People and events that have moved me. Man in pain. Beggar woman in San Miguel. Mabel Bell striding to fetch her husband. Dance. Anguish. Turning away. Police offering time to the homeless. A grandchild. Music. Quiet. Witnessing despair. Sand and sea. The forest. Caring. The goodness of people. Love.

When you’re not working, what are activities/interests that inspire your practice?

All of the above.

Image Credit: 

Installation view of Terroir featuring work in the forground by Dawn MacNutt, Walk in Peace, 2015, Twined willow, 148.59 x 40.64 cm. Photo RAW Photography