Landscape as Muse, Season III (2007)
(Documentary Series, 13x30 minutes)
The Gemini Award-winning Landscape as Muse showcases both the world-class artists and spectacular landscapes that are found in Canada. Following the artist's gaze, this beautiful cinematic program examines the inspirational relationship that exists between art and landscape.
Shot in nine provinces, two territories, and two countries; and featuring major Canadian artists, Landscape as Muse has established itself as one of the most comprehensive documentary programs of contemporary Canadian visual arts that exists.
Gemini Award Winner
(Best Arts Documentary Program or Series)
S3E327: "Land of Little Sticks with Greg Hardy"
Named for the small, stunted trees that grow in its permafrost, the subarctic "Land of the Little Sticks" is one of the simplest ecosystems on earth. Consisting mainly of short mosses, lichens, and mossy wetlands, the rolling tundra seems to reach to the horizon in every direction. Here, in the NWT, Greg Hardy interprets this unique landscape in his rich paintings:
"Sometimes when I see the landscape it disintegrates into a million different pieces. When I work I'm trying to put all those pieces back together in a way that is slightly different than the way it was before..."
S3E328: "Manitoba Bees with Aganetha Dyck"
Wild and domestic bees are an integral part of the worlds food supply, helping to pollinate 30-50% of what we eat. Aganetha Dyck installs found objects, drawings, paintings, and sculptures into living beehives where they are altered and eventually completed by her winged collaborators. Aganetha’s work shows us that sometimes it is the smallest things that are the most important:
"I am interested in the small – in the really tiny of the world. We’re going so fast, because we have so many people to feed and house and so we just bulldoze ahead. It’s the simple things that already exist that work so hard for us, that that I think we’re kind of ignoring..."
S3E329: "Autumn with Reinhard Reitzenstein"
Home to over 1,050 plant species, including at least 34 species of trees, the Haliburton reserve is 60,000 acres of privately managed forest in central Ontario. After a year of major storms and several tornados, areas of the forest have been destroyed. Inspired by the massive fallen trees and upturned root-balls, Reinhard Reitzenstein creates large-scale installations amongst the destruction. His work is a comment on how we are managing our forests, and our world.
S3E330: "Deer Group Islands with Donald Lawrence"
Barkley Sound, located on the western side of Vancouver Island, covers an area of 800 square kilometers and includes several hundreds islands – none of which is more than two kilometers across. A popular destination for boaters and kayakers, the Deer Group Islands are the ideal location for Donald Lawrence’s unique underwater photography. From the shore, or from his customized kayak, Lawrence uses elaborate home-made pinhole cameras to photograph the world that exists below the tides.
S3E331: "Cumberland Delta with Landon Mackenzie"
Saskatchewan’s Cumberland Delta is one of the largest freshwater delta systems in the world. Originally molded by ancient glaciers, today it is continually re-shaped by river flow. The region's dense vegetation makes the delta area inaccessible on land, while its myriad of ever shifting channels and streams requires years of knowledge just to navigate. Vancouver’s Landon Mackenzie, known for her giant abstract canvases, visits the delta in late summer. Working from boats and shorelines, Mackenzie makes several watercolour studies. Later in her studio, her experience informs the completion of a huge 7x20’ painting.
S3E332: "Hudson Bay Lowlands with Richard Holden"
Spring on the Hudson Bay lowlands brings dynamic change. As ice breaks up on the bay, days alternate between grey and dreary and sunny and warm. From the glacially carved orange and red rocks that line the shore, to the expansive patches of tundra, Richard Holden’s 360-degree panoramas capture the essence of the landscape. As he photographs this vulnerable area, Richard shares his personal perspective on the human relationship to the places around us.
"I'm photographing the world as though it were a garden because I think that's what it has become. There's nothing natural out there anymore. Human beings actually garden the whole planet whether they know it or not. And we’re not very good at it."
S3E333: "Robson Valley with Matthew Wheeler"
Flanked by three massive glaciers, Mount Robson is the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies. In this episode we travel to the Robson Valley and its glaciers with photographer Matthew Wheeler. His lifelong fascination with science and nature have led him to develop his very own photo process—shooting though an ice lens. Traveling the Robson Valley with his hand-sculpted ice lenses, Matt’s unusual camera captures beautiful and ephemeral images.
S3E334: "Emma Lake with Degen Lindner"
For more than seventy years University of Saskatchewan’s Emma Lake Campus has been a meeting place for artists and thinkers from around the world. Clement Greenberg, John Cage, Jules Olitski, and Frank Stella are just a few of those who have visited this school.
Saskatoon painter Degen Lindner invites us to her lakefront studio, at Emma, where she works in the summer months. Here and in the surrounding forest Lindner works on ink sketches and plein air oil paintings that are inspired by the natural beauty of this landscape in which she grew up.
S3E335: "The Laurentians with Luc Beauparlant"
Quebec’s Laurentians are among Canada’s most emblematic landscapes. These once towering mountains are today reduced to tranquil rolling hills; covered in mixed hardwood forests, the land is a mosaic of colour. It is here on his idylic farm that sculptor Luc Beauparlant lives and works the land. As autumn approaches and the leaves change, we pass the time watching Luc construct a unique sauna he calls "the belly of the whale". Later that winter Luc and his horse Prince take us through the forest where they harvest the trees.
S3E336: "Migration with Jane Ash Poitras"
Referencing a path used by Dene people thousands of years ago, we travel from one end of Alberta to the other, with painter Jane Ash Poitras. Beginning in the arid Milk River Valley, Jane photographs ancient petroglyphs and geological formations in the heat of summer. Then, in early winter Jane returns to her birthplace—Fort Chipewyan. Here on the shore of massive Lake Athabasca, Jane re-connects herself with the land and the spirit of her people. Finally back in her Edmonton studio, Jane combines paint, photographs, and numerous found objects into works that are inspired by these two disparate landscapes.
S3E337: "Winter with Jeane Fabb"
As a founding member of the art / nature group 'Boreal' sculptor and installation artist Jeane Fabb has long been concerned with the environment and in particular women’s connection to it.
“Our perception of the land is through the forestry industry, the hunters, the fishermen, the ski-dooers, the developers, the politicians. So I'm interested in hearing what the women have to say about the land.”
For five chilly days in January, we watch Jeane work atop a frozen lake in Quebec’s picturesque Laurentians. Here she creates an ephemeral work that references the ongoing life-cycles of nature.
S3E338: "The Buffalo with Adrian Stimson"
The Buffalo, nearly exterminated in North America in the 1800’s, now exist almost exclusively as farmed herds. As a Blackfoot person, Adrian Stimson has an inherent connection to these majestic beasts that dates back centuries. Rather that hunt, Stimson paints their images, hangs their hides in galleries, and now and then performs as one of them.
In this winter episode, Stimson travels on the northern Plains looking at buffalo and their habitat. In the field and the studio, Stimson creates iconic images of these animals and later dons his own robes—in a buffalo inspired performance as the Shaman Exterminator.
S3E339: "Atacama Desert (Chile) with Edward Burtynsky"
There are few photographers today whose images summarize the most imperative issues of our time while leaving gallery audiences aghast. In every image that Edward Burtynsky photographs there is something that speaks to what we are all thinking but are powerless to voice. His photographs of Sudbury’s nickel mines, Bangladesh’s shipbreaking yards, and China’s Three Gorges Dam are fast becoming icons that testify to the scale and scope of our legacy on this planet.
In this episode, Edward Burtynsky travels to South America and Chile’s Atacama Desert — one of the driest places on earth. Here he photographs mine sites: both derelict and active. The Chuquicamata copper mine in the heart of the Atacama is the largest open-pit mine on the planet. At over 800 meters deep, the overwhelming scale of this place is the focus of Burtynsky’s lens:
“My work is about a lament for a loss – showing what has gone missing, but in a way that allows those places to actually enter our consciousness, and to hopefully start a dialogue.”