"Bear" — by Tony Taylor

This week, the Wall Space Gallery is home to an art show that aims to explore humans’ relationship with nature.

“Where the Wild Things . . . Aren’t?” tackles themes surrounding human understanding of wilderness, including familiarity, beauty, and interconnectedness, curator Cynthia Mykytyshyn said.

She said her inspiration for the show came from environmental theorist and writer William Cronan. A quote from his book Trouble with Wilderness displayed at the entrance to the exhibition suggests that “the idea that wilderness is ‘out there’ is a problem, Mykytyshn said.

The show includes works from mostly Ottawa-area artists, including Stefan Thompson, Barbara Cuerdon, and Carmella KarijoRother.

"Bones and Feather" — by Jessica Marion Barr

Thompson’s use of candle wax, soot, homemade paints, crayons, recycled paper, and repurposed fabrics suggests a feeling of connectedness and reflects the artist’s “eco-friendly ethics,” Mykytyshyn said. “He’s conscientious about his impact.”

The Hibernaculum, created by Toronto artist Karen Abel, is a chandelier piece that explores the devastation of white-nose syndrome, a deadly bat-killing fungus.  The piece symbolizes the shedding of light on wildlife disease and how biodiversity is being affected without people realizing, Abel said in a message hanging with her work in the show.

Artist Ingrid Koivukangas used photos taken of plants on Salt Spring Island, B.C. to express how humans have built a dependency upon nature.

The other works of art use a range of media from film and photography to chicken bones and coloured felt to demonstrate the artist’s concern for and response to the global environmental crisis.

“I hope that the event inspires viewers to think about their own personal relationship with the natural world,” Mykytyshynsaid, “The aim is not to place guilt but rather to offer an opportunity to pay attention and to better the environment.”

The exhibition is open until May 6.


—Photos by Yuko Inoue