Canadian Art - - Generously Supported By Rbc -

In her on­go­ing per­for­mance se­ries The Me­mo­ri­al­ist (2015–), D’arcy Wil­son fashions her­self as an ac­ci­den­tal ex­plorer, com­ing across the lit­tle-known his­tory of zo­ol­ogy in At­lantic Canada. She in­ves­ti­gates zo­o­log­i­cal spec­i­mens held in mu­seum col­lec­tions—in places like Lon­don, Ox­ford and Wash­ing­ton—and lov­ingly touches their pre­served bod­ies or gives them a pho­to­graph of the out­doors. In pre­vi­ous works, she per­formed ele­gies for lost wildlife in parks or gal­leries in Nova Sco­tia, New Brunswick and New­found­land. She has also com­posed lul­la­bies for spec­i­mens at the Banff Park Mu­seum. By re­trac­ing the thor­ough­fares of colo­nial ex­pan­sion that dis­placed an­i­mals from At­lantic Canada to Europe, Wil­son mourns the mis­treat­ment of na­ture through col­lect­ing prac­tices. Notes of neo-colo­nial­ism arise in art­works that fo­cus on set­tler cul­ture and use “ex­ploratory” strate­gies. Wil­son’s work could be un­der­stood as us­ing colo­nial meth­ods to ex­plore colo­nial pasts. Her per­for­mances doc­u­ment an at­tempt to un­der­stand tragedy and the cog­ni­tive fail­ure that comes with this im­pos­si­ble pur­suit. D’arcy Wil­son The Me­mo­ri­al­ist: Muse­ol­ogy 2015–16 Archival ink-jet print 58.4 x 87.6 cm PHOTO CHRIS FRIEL

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