Complex exhibit depicts paradox

Complex exhibit depicts paradox

A teacher once told Rita McKeough not to expect fame or fortune if she was to pursue art past high school.

‘Just do it ‘cuz you love it,’ the teacher told the Grade 11 student.

It was sound advice. Over the years, McKeough evolved into an award-winning artist, exhibiting throughout Canada and parts of the U.S. In 2009, she received the Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts.

McKeough is an inter-disciplinary artist, and a musician, having drummed with several bands since the late-70s. She is the artist-in-residence for the Comox Valley Art Gallery’s 2017 summer programming. Her exhibition, Veins, opens Thursday, July 13 at 7 p.m.

Veins is a complex installation depicting lands with pipelines that run like veins throughout the landscape, which contains human and non-human life — a paradox between the natural and human worlds.

“Everybody is torn between it being a positive thing and a negative thing,” said McKeough, a Calgary resident. “I like that idea of going from here to there, and it’s desire to move forward through the landscape to get places.”

The exhibit shows a train pulling an oil tanker along a road. At the sides are oil pumpers, black sandbags, giant leaves and snakes. On the walls are projections of a leaf with owl eyes, an elk with its tongue sticking out, and other “pissed off” hybrid plant/animal creations.

The giant, undulating snakes are “the pipeline in my mind,” McKeough said. “They’re snaking across the landscape, and they’re very unnerving. And I have the train undulating in a similar way. Everything is linear.”

There is a musical element to the exhibit. A motorized stick beats a drum, creating a rhythmic, almost chanting, soundtrack where McKeough says, ‘Slow, slow, leaking.’

“There’s thousands of holes in the ground. If you think of how porous the earth is, and if there is a leak, all of those holes are just receiving that oil.”

Visitors will walk down the road, from where they can see the pipeline on the landscape. They are asked to remove shoes before stepping into the exhibit.

“It’s a different kind of respect,” McKeough said.

She has also developed two new installations. Listen will be installed in the window at CVAG to support and extend Veins, while Cul-de-sac will be displayed in the George Sawchuk Room. The latter shows a clearcut and houses under construction.

“I learned as a young artist that if things concern you, your voice is important. Everybody’s voice is important. You can’t sit back and be apathetic,” McKeough said. “My way to express myself is not to convince people about my way of thinking, it’s about sharing a moment of thinking about these things. It’s more about experiencing this from a different perspective.”

McKeough will be giving an artist’s talk at the July 13 opening of Veins.

The North Island College fine arts department and the McLoughlin Gardens Society is supporting CVAG’s summer creative residency intensive program.

Just Posted

Comox Valley RCMP arrested a suspect in connection with a dumpster fire on the weekend. Black Press file photo
Comox Valley RCMP charge suspect with arson for weekend fire

Courtenay Fire Department has responded to multiple dumpster fires this year

NIC’s new president Lisa Domae assumed the role of president on April 12. Domae has worked at NIC since 2000, most recently as the executive vice president, academic and chief operating officer. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
New North Island College president launches draft strategic plan

Lisa Domae assumed the role of president on April 12, 2021

A siren bank near Stotan Falls. Photo supplied
BC Hydro to test sirens along Puntledge River in Courtenay this week

Public safety is very important to BC Hydro, and it’s one of… Continue reading

Capt. Jenn Casey died in a crash just outside of Kamloops, B.C., on May 17, 2020. (CF Snowbirds)
Snowbirds to honour Capt. Casey, who died in B.C. crash, in 2021 tour

Tour will kick off in Ontario in June before heading west

Artist's drawing of the proposed 52-unit affordable seniors housing project in Comox. File photo
Comox Valley Affordable Housing Society receives federal grant money

The Comox Valley Affordable Housing Society (CVAHS) has received $25,000 in grant… Continue reading

An avalanche near Highway 1 in Glacier National Park. Avalanche Canada will benefit from a $10 million grant from the B.C. government. (Photo by Parks Canada)
Avalanche Canada receives $10-million grant from B.C. government

Long sought-after funds to bolster organization’s important work

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The following is a list of restaurants offering take-out and patio dining. ADOBE STOCK IMAGE
List of Comox Valley restaurants offering take-out, patio dining options

Restaurants in the Comox Valley continue to adapt to government-imposed restrictions in… Continue reading

The only access to 5th Street bridge heading east (toward Lewis Park) is via Anderton Avenue. Photo by Terry Farrell.
Single lane alternating traffic controls on Courtenay bridge now in effect

Single lane alternating traffic on the 5th Street Bridge is now in… Continue reading

A prowling coyote proved no match for a stray black cat who chased it out of a Port Moody parking lot Friday, May 14. (Twitter/Screen grab)
VIDEO: Little but fierce: Cat spotted chasing off coyote by Port Moody police

The black cat is seen jumping out from under a parked car and running the wild animal out of a vacant lot

The new wing at the Victoria International Airport opened up on Thursday (File contributed/YYJ)
Pandemic takes ‘hundreds of millions’ out of Victoria Airport, Vancouver Island economy

Airport authority head says passenger volumes down as much as 98 per cent

The top photo is of a real carbine rifle, while the bottom photo is the airsoft rifle seized from a Kelowna man on May 15. (Contributed)
RCMP issue warning: ‘Imitation firearms need to be dealt with responsibly’

A man brandishing his airsoft rifle in public had his weapon seized by Mounties on Saturday

Reigning women’s World Champion Kaetlyn Osmond, who also took bronze at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, will debut two brand new programs for the 2021 Stars On Ice tour, in Victoria May 15. (File photo)
Kurt Browning, Elvis Stojko hit the ice when Stars On Ice returns to Vancouver Island

The star-studded lineup is makes a return after pandemic hiatus

Abbotsford Regional Hospital. (Black Press Media files)
Canada marks 25,000 COVID-19 deaths since the pandemic began

6 in every 10,000 Canadians died of COVID-19 since March 9, 2020

Most Read