"Because the original was not in good shape"
Carrie Walker, "Because the original was not in good shape," pen and ink on paper, 2003, 19" X 25".
Fire Work, January 6 to February 12, Trench Contemporary Art, Vancouver
BY: Janet Nicol
Carrie Walker transforms a significant personal loss into an exhibition, appropriately named Fire Work, at Vancouver’s Trench Contemporary Art. Last year on Christmas Day the artist awoke to a friend crying, “Your studio is on fire!” A substantial number of drawings were destroyed in the fire, and a month later Walker wrote in her blog: “... I was able to pull out what turned out to be close to 300 soaking wet drawings. I spent three days drying out the work with blotting paper and stacks of records and books to press them flat. I’ve been able to salvage roughly 200 drawings, a little smoke damage and charcoal here and there, but most with nary a scratch upon them.” What has survived of her 16 years of drawings will make up the body of this exhibition. “Many of the drawings retain some evidence of this ordeal, whether it’s bleeding colours, smoke stains or cockled paper,” Walker says. “There’s some work that appears completely undamaged.” One of Walker’s series reworks found landscape drawings and watercolours. “I collect old landscapes and add animals into the scenes, often both out of context and out of scale. I always considered this series a sort of rescue of art (bought at thrift stores and on eBay) that had been at some point discarded. Some of these works that I rescued from the fire, I have since reworked, making them twice rescued and twice reworked.”