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upclose image of a bubble wrap with plant remnants and thread inside each bubble, and a faint abstract image in the back

Photographer - Allen Kosmajac, 2019

La Friche: Toronto

Angela Marsh

A Space Windows

July 23 – September 3, 2022

Opening Reception July 23, 2022, 1:00 pm–3:00 pm

My current artistic research on urban wild plants, which began in 2017, is born from my admiration and curiosity for these resilient florae.  Their untamed tenacity and important ecosystemic role in reconditioning the soil, removing heavy metals, and nourishing the biomass gives me hope in this era of ecological crisis; archetypal reminders that life remains possible amidst the ruins.  My foraging hints towards a future way of co-existing while simultaneously harkening to the past, to our collective history of gathering, of being vulnerable and sensitive to the cycle of the seasons, the growth of the wild-plants and the changeability of it all. Imagining a possible cohabitation between humankind and our wild plant cousins, I began to see my “tapestries” as artistic-yet-functional seed banks for these plants that are often targeted by pesticide companies for their brave adaptability and resilience, my gesture being one to honour and validate these species that are often so violently “man-aged.”  This project includes tapestries, drawings and photographs from Toronto (2022) as well as previous *Friche projects realized in different cities: Cambridge, Ontario (2020), Montréal (2019) and Québec-Lévis (2018).

*”Friche” is a French word meaning un-cultivated land, which I find more neutral than our English words “wasteland” or “abandoned lot” (abandoned perhaps by humans, but not by a multitude of other species).

I wish to thank the wild plants I found in the streets in walking proximity to the 401 Richmond building, this project being made possible only through a true interspecies collaboration.  Fragments were carefully collected with respect and attention to the wellbeing of the plant.  I would also like to thank Mary Taylor of the Curve Lake First Nation for the plant translations in Anishinaabemowin/Mississauga and for her generous sharing of knowledge, and Jenny Blackbird from the University of Toronto for her wonderful assistance in helping me find a translator so that the native plants found in this project could be identified by their Indigenous names rather than colonially imposed ones.

I gratefully acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts for the creation and presentation of this project.

BIOGRAPHIES

Angela Marsh is originally from the Toronto area, currently living and working in Québec City, the unceded territory of Nionwentsio, of the Huron-Wendat nation.  Marsh’s recent projects include It’s really just a love story – C’est vraiment juste une histoire d’amour presented by the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec (2021 & 2022), This Work is so Urgent it Must be Slow at OBORO in Montreal (2021) and In Wildness is the preservation of the world with the University of Waterloo’s School of Architecture in Cambridge (2020).  For over 20 years Angela has been a passionate arts educator creating community and school-based projects, with an interest in art-ecology hybrid projects. She has published her writing in Research in Arts and Education from the Aalto University in Finland, the Journal of Aesthetic Education and Cigale.  Angela holds an MFA in Visual Arts from Université Laval (2019) and an MA in Education (2004) from OISE/University of Toronto and is an active member of the ecologist groups Mères au Front and Québec Sans Pesticides

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