Open Spaces: Windows to a View
Still Flows - Rachel Duckhouse
Still Flows maps Calgary’s Bow River as it travels through a section of southeast Calgary. Using two layers of marks, Duckhouse reveals two very different rivers – a black ink layer depicts the water flow in spring 2013 and the sepia marks represent the flow during the flood in June 2013.
I’m a visual artist working primarily in drawing. I work on research-based projects to explore repeated rhythms, patterns and structures found in different contexts, including landscape, architecture and the flow of water. My experimental drawings and etchings are often deriving from working with specialists to seek out patterns and forms that can been visually investigated and developed through conversation, observation and sketchbook drawing.
I’ve undertaken research residencies in Canada and Australia as well as Glasgow University and the Outer Hebrides in Scotland.
Between October 2012 and October 2013, I was an artist in residence for The City of Calgary’s WATERSHED+ program. The program was developed by artist team Sans façon through the UEP Public Art Plan.
I worked at Ralph Klein Park, TELUS Spark Science Centre and The Water Centre, where I learnt from a range of specialists including water engineers, planning engineers and scientists about how water moves through city infrastructure. I made drawings and etchings in consultation with various City employees whose knowledge, data, maps and stories helped me think about how Calgary’s Bow and Elbow rivers move through the city.
I chose a specific area of Southeast Calgary to begin two large scale drawings, Bow Flow 1 and 2. It included the Bonnybrook Waste Water Treatment Plant, where I spent time observing the beautiful flow dynamics of different water treatment processes.
In June 2013 a 100-year flood event hit Southern Alberta and devastated many areas including the one I’d focused my research on. Because my practice was already based on responding to people and place, my work evolved to respond to the flood event through continued conversation and drawing.
Several months after the flood, having spoken with many engineers, planners and staff at the Bonnybrook Wastewater Treatment Plant who were directly involved and affected by the flood as it happened, I drew a second layer of sepia ink over the original drawing. This new layer depicts the peak flow of water during the flood.
Over the course of the year-long residency I filled several sketchbooks with sketches and notes from conversations and observations, scans of which are also on display for this exhibition.