This month the CAG welcomes Maddie Leach to the Burrard Marina Field House Studio where for the months of June and July she will begin research towards a Vancouver-based project. Leach’s practice seeks ways of making artworks as a means to interpret and respond to specific context, through a lengthy process of enquiry and social interaction establishing relationships between form, materials, locations, histories, events, individuals and communities. Join us tonight (Thursday, June 11th at 7pm) for Leach’s artist talk at the Field House where she will discuss some of her most recent projects: https://www.facebook.com/events/927740233936978/
Leach was nominated for the Walters Prize 2014 for If you find the good oil let us know (2012–2014), created during a two year residency at Govett-Brewster Art Gallery in New Plymouth, a town known for its oil and gas exploration on New Zealand’s North Island. The project centered on 70 litres of supposed ‘whale oil’. With layered and complex associations to whaling from indigenous sustenance to colonial/capitalist industry, whale oil speaks to New Zealand’s past and evokes its new economic boom in crude oil exploration. Leach sought to return this mythic substance to the sea, beginning a tangential journey that ended with a cube of cement made from the firing of 70 litres of mineral oil relocated to the seabed several kilometres off the coast. Through such ephemeral aesthetic actions and an unfolding public dialogue, this search for the authenticity of the ‘whale oil’ connected fragmented industrial and cultural narratives central to the context of New Zealand. Sharing her unfolding research, Leach then invited fourteen individuals to offer written letters as responses to the work, the only stipulation being to begin the letter with ‘Dear.’ The texts became a series of ‘Letters to the Editor’ in the Taranaki Daily News developing a curious narrative composed by multiple authors, from scientists to sailors, cement workers to oil-industry executives.