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Dal Schindell Gallery

Wandering in the Shades of Night

Wednesday, Sep 4, 2024 at 8:30 AM –Wednesday, Oct 30, 2024 at 12:00 PM (Pacific Time)

Visit the Dal Schindell Gallery from September 4 to October 30, 2024 to view Wandering in the Shades of Night, a series of sculptural installations by Shirley Wiebe. You’re also invited to a reception with Shirley on Wednesday, September 11, 4–7 pm, and an artist talk on Wednesday, October 9, 7–8:30 pm.

Artist Statement

During a journey to the site of a ruined ancestral Mennonite village in Ukraine, flooded by damming of the Dnieper River, I found only an uncanny staircase deposited on the riverbank. The form of this eerie architectural feature—disconnected from its initial location and function—performs as a memory surrogate for obliteration and flight from persecution.

My process is based on studied physical interaction with materials in unfamiliar combinations. The recurring form of a staircase embodying concepts of passage, challenge, and destination intermingles with other works in a state of perpetual motion, untangling and tangling. This is my way of dismantling the past to manifest the present.

I was raised Mennonite on a Saskatchewan farm outside of the city. A childhood task involved rinsing entrails during butchering. The delicate membrane was slippery soft and silky in my fingers. I recall taking great care not to damage it. Seemingly grotesque, to me it was fascinating and beautiful. Ground pork was stuffed into these casings and smoked (farmer sausage), transferring animal flesh inside its own intestines. The feature piece, Ghost of the Farm, is an installation that pays homage to the allegory of corporeal digestion and cognitive assimilation. Are holding on and letting go oppositional terms, or can they be understood generatively?

I came across a Mennonite hymn my mother used to sing, “I Wandered in the Shades of Night,” and chose it as my title. The exhibition considers how a background of faith and perseverance through persecution and resettlement shapes human destiny.

About the Artist

Shirley Wiebe is a self-taught interdisciplinary artist based in Vancouver on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsliel-Waututh Nations. Her work is informed by a strong childhood bond with the prairie landscape. She creates installation and sculptural work that explores the inter-relationship between physical geography and the built environment. With a particular interest in site-specific and project-based opportunities, her concepts develop through investigation of materials, history, and place.

The Dal Schindell Gallery is located at Regent College, which sits on the traditional, ancestral, unceded territory of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) First Nation.

Dal Schindell Gallery at Regent College (5800 University Blvd, Vancouver, BC)

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