A third person report on mother*ing nature at SAW
Artist Moheb Soliman curated a recent group residency where five Montreal, QC artists came down to SAW for two weeks to work individually under a common theme: briefly put, the place of nature in modernity and identity. They found the Salem Art Works grounds in a profound state of transformation--heavy landscaping, clear-cutting, brush-hogging, trail-blazing, and other such terms of Man v. Nature were evident at every turn. Moheb and company found the circumstances very ideal and stimulating in fact for their critical explorations about mother nature, mothering nature, and other possible relationships to the non-human living world as supreme "other." The residency involved engaging with a set of texts and materials, daily meetings and discussions, independent work in a group studio, and a slow, winding, steady course towards a final show. Artists developed diverse pieces of dance, music, performance art and participatory art, poetry, and theater. These were presented through a sort of mock-tour of sites all around SAW's property, activating and inhabiting strange spaces and ones taken for granted. The show was a very true and yet surprising culmination of what the group of six had experienced at this very uniquely natural-cultural space, through the lens of the residency. The concepts and the context were terrifically complementary, and there was a real sense of presence, sensuality, and experimentation in the work they showed. Reports of a beautiful, outrageous, powerful, and quiet too, time, were shared by all: Moheb, Ximena Holuigue, Mary Williamson, James Irwin, Victoria Stanton, and Maya Kuroki.