"The Janice May II"
Michael Campbell, "The Janice May II," mixed media installation, 2009.
Field Recordings of Icebergs Melting, September 3 to October 23, Esplanade Art Gallery, Medicine Hat
BY: Jill Sawyer
Lethbridge-based artist Michael Campbell spends part of every year on Hornby Island off the coast of B.C., where he keeps a cabin with access to a rich source of inspiration and creative material. He’s been picking up the flotsam that ends up on the beach for years — driftwood and chunks of buoy, rusted metal and unidentified floating objects. Much of it has ended up in this show, Field Recordings of Icebergs Melting, made up of a flotilla of small ships set sail across the gallery space, each with a name evoking the fondness boat-builders have for their creations — the Janice May, the Betty-Jean. Campbell has a keen interest in forces of nature, and the sheer power of the sea. A previous work, The Elephant’s Graveyard (2005) featured an installation centred on a haunting loop of video of an ice-locked ship. This show, developed over several years, and organized in partnership with the Agnes Etherington Art Centre in Kingston, Ontario, sets the battered remains of ocean-going vessels adrift.