"Fantasy on a Theme of Algae"
Linda Walton, "Fantasy on a Theme of Algae," 2006, mixed media: fabric, bamboo paper, tissue paper, blown acrylic.
LINDA WALTON, Barnes Lake
Kamloops Art Gallery, Kamloops
Oct. 29 - Dec. 31, 2006
By Beverly Cramp
In a departure from her usual work in ceramics, Linda Walton’s Barnes Lake installation is an ambitious multi-media project about an alkali lake near Kamloops. The show incorporates documentary photographs, drawings, texts, and artwork that address the changing ecology of the lake and the effects on its native species, particularly the Spade Foot toad and the Western turtle. The installation at the Kamloops Art Gallery is anchored by large ceramic slabs on the gallery floor depicting the varied textures and colours of Barnes Lake in transition from cold weather to warm. Mounds of cracked clay echo the heaving ground in late spring and circular motifs mimic the dried salt patterns resulting from the receding edges of melting alkali ice. Recorded sounds of Spade Foot toads and meadowlarks lend an audio component to the exhibit.
Walton recently retired from a teaching position in the Visual and Performing Arts department at Thompson Rivers University and now lives in Campbell River, BC. Her investigation of Barnes Lake was a collaborative venture, conducted in consultation with local scientists and community members who contributed texts about land use and stewardship to the installation.