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Flashback: May 2001. Toronto’s Queen Street West is under massive reconstruction. In the middle of the chaos, Paul Walde’s Northern Symphony opens at V. MacDonnell Gallery, featuring legendary performances by Sook Yin Lee, Terence Dick and Combustien Lente. From a small but appreciative audience word spreads about the exhibition, and during the next nine years, it becomes one of the best-known shows that nobody saw.
Northern Symphony is a multi-component visual art installation that translates the gnawed markings on a tree felled by beavers into cultural forms. These forms include: relief printed wallpaper, a cast architectural frieze, hand-finished gnawed beaver sticks, two dimensional artworks and a digital music score remixed and reconstructed by DJs and experimental musicians. A vintage 1920s outhouse refurbished into a miniature art gallery with a mini-retrospective completes the installation by blurring the lines between inside and outside, the cultural and the natural; the poetic and the literal.
Fast-forward: May 2010. Northern Symphony debuts in Vancouver at Malaspina Printmakers on Granville Island from May 14 – June 23, with an opening reception on May 20 featuring a special performance by the Jordan Mann String Ensemble of Vancouver, who will realize Walde’s original orchestral vision for the score. Additional performances by Vancouver’s Cody Aalo Guha, and the improv trio of Scott Aitken, Frederick Brummer and Jesse Gentes will be also be co-presented on May 21 and May 29, in conjunction with VIVO’s Signal and Noise festival.
Paul Walde is a multidisciplinary artist , musician, and curator whose eclectic body of work suggests unexpected interconnections between landscape, identity, and technology and includes painting, photography, printmaking, sculpture, installation and audio. He lives and works in London, Ontario where he teaches studio art at the University of Western Ontario, is also the Artistic Director and visual arts curator of LOLA, the London Ontario Live Arts festival, and is the artist in residence at the Biotron, Canada’s experimental climate change research centre. He has exhibited extensively in the United States and Canada was the winner of The Prescott Fund Award from the National Arts Club in New York City, and has recently received awards from the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council. His work was featured in No Melatonin at Nuit Blanche 2009 (Toronto), and at the Beyond/In Western New York biennial exhibition in Buffalo, New York. Northern Symphony is his first exhibition in Vancouver.
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