Partners in Art is proud to support The Bentway’s project Moving with Joy taking place December 18, 2021 – February 21, 2022. This project features Maureen Gruben, as curated by Sarah Munro. This project will be on view at 250 Fort York Blvd, Toronto, ON; for more information, read below or visit the Bentway’s website.
Moving With Joy is an expansion of Maureen Gruben’s 2019 project Moving with joy across the ice while my face turns brown from the sun, which brought together fourteen hand-built sleds that were borrowed from local Inuvialuit families for a short-duration land art piece. Gruben’s installation for The Bentway Skate Trail features seven large-scale, richly coloured sculptural sleds. These display video footage and photographs captured spontaneously during time spent at her spring ice fishing camp in Husky Lakes, part of the Inuvialuit Settlement Region of the Western Arctic.
A montage of personal impressions from daily life, the video element in particular functions very much like memory. In cyclical, fluctuating juxtapositions, white feathers from hand-plucked wild geese float and merge with slowly melting snow; a vivid red auger opens a fishing hole; a loaded sled lashed with orange straps speeds across the ice. Sleds are created to move people from one place to another. Here, they facilitate a different kind of geographic connection by superimposing images from Arctic life and environments onto downtown Toronto.
The presence of these sculptures under the Gardiner Expressway creates a parallel to the flow of traffic above; it also offers a counterpoint as sleds work intimately with the land and ice, and don’t require the industrial intervention of roads. The installation emphasizes that joy and beauty can also be powerful critical and motivating systems. It affirms that land can sustain us while remaining a diverse and stunning biosphere, and highlights the multiple potentials that exist for relationships between people, places, and ecologies.