Hearts of Palm by Melanie Cookson

Join us for an interactive textile installation by artist-in-residence Melanie Cookson, August 10 – September 21, 2024. We will be celebrating the exhibition with an Extreme Denim Party happening Saturday, August 17, from 7 pm on! You are invited to wear your denim, explore the installation, and be a part of the art at 159 Main Street East, North Bay.

About the exhibition:

Hearts of Palm is an interactive textile installation using recycled jeans as the primary material. The jeans are a colour palette devoted to the waters of Lake Nipissing. 

Each little piece of denim symbolizes every possible human being around us in our lives and our surrounding communities. The jeans come from B.C. across Canada to the North Bay region, and represent thousands of deeply loved people that exist with or without our knowledge, yet they have probably supported us in some way. 

This art project aims to create something inviting, playful, raw, and cathartic, in a calming and restorative environment. 

On a personal level, the artist’s work explores the sensations of the human body and mind protecting themselves, and sometimes each other, by separating, shutting down and finding clarity in a new place. It symbolizes a re-working of connection, a new time, a new identity, by taking everything apart first into its singular roles, like learning to read and write again, or allowing our vision to blur and drift into playful abstraction, as an avenue to joy and hope once again.

The bold decision by Executive Director of the White Water Gallery, Alex Maeve Campbell, to fully commit to the artist’s passing notion for the installation to be entirely on the floor allows viewers to take off their shoes, sit down, pull some threads, and move things around in a gallery with bare walls. This work is tough, foldable and durable, and each weekly trip to the cleaners during this residency will add to the physical completion of each piece.

The artist is very grateful for her new community of North Bay and invites everyone to visit and spend time during the live sewing, art-making and installation period. 

The artist would like to acknowledge the generosity of the Ontario Arts Council for supporting this project.

Melanie Cookson (she/her) was born in 1972 in Lillooet, BC. She studied at Okanagan College and Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design, where she began using abandoned and recycled components early on in her work. Her installations require periods of accumulation, destruction, process, and rebirth of sustainable materials, and her goal is to create accessible, positive, interactive and meaningful experiences for communities without adding waste into the environment. 

Wanna Trade Belts? by Dominic Lafontaine

White Water Gallery is pleased to present Wanna Trade Belts? a multimedia exhibition by Algonquin artist Dominic Lafontaine running from May 31 to July 27, 2024. There will be a reception on Friday, May 31, from 7 to 9 pm that will include a talk by the artist.

Initially created for the Mnemonic exhibition (Nov 2023 – Jan 2024) at the Centre d’art daphne in Montreal, Wanna Trade Belts? is a digital art exhibition that explores the theme of Wampum in the era of Artificial Intelligence. Using Style GAN tools, the artist wanted to integrate the notion of traditional wampum with that of the future to then develop a new model of Indigenous graphic art.

Dominic Lafontaine is an Algonquin multimedia artist, essayist, poet and musician currently based in Notre-Dame-du-Nord, Quebec. His audacious, humorous and often absurd artworks explore the very notions of cultural identity and belonging. A graduate of Visual Arts at Ottawa University, he synthesizes his knowledge of traditional art forms with new media in order to redefine the visual language of contemporary native art.
His motto: «Research, remix and repeat!»

Learn more about the artist and his work here.