A Sense of Place
There are a great many places on Earth so rich with character and identity that by their nature, they engage us deeply, experientially and spiritually. For me, the seashore - that liminal threshold between land and sea - is one of these powerful spaces. Living on Canada’s west coast I have the good fortune to walk this marine borderline rich with sand, shells and seaweed; to breathe its salty air; hear the waves lap the shoreline and finger its treasures in my hands. All my senses engage along the seashore and I cannot but be present in the moment.
On beaches, I find myself particularly drawn to seashells, the most odd and curious being those of the oyster. Arguably ugly, disfigured and grey-white, I find these odd-shaped vessels inimitable, metaphorical and beguiling. Former life-forms composed from years of calcium carbonate buildup, these carapaces now lie empty, abandoned and abundant along the shoreline, their decay playing a new role in the coastal ecosystem.
A Sense of Place is an attempt to capture and recreate this resonant seaboard environment with large, encaustic oyster shells, built approximately twenty times their actual size; thereby surprising and immersing the viewer so that one cannot help but be taken by the flawed magnificence of their smooth, nacred interior and jagged, roughhewn exterior. Like the human spirit, oyster shells embody fertile opposites, contradictions and imperfections. (Photos by Carole McFadden)