Award-winning photographer and writer Alexis Marie Chute builds on her series of provocative images of individuals in their time of healing following hardship. The exhibition features never before seen photographs in the noteworthy series, now aptly exhibited at Harcourt House where the work was first conceived during Alexis Marie’s term as Artist in Residence in 2012/2013. In The Quiet Rebuild, Alexis Marie compassionately exposes the private struggles of volunteer models in large black and white photographs.
Artist Talk: Art and Healing
Alexis Marie Chute will speak about her photographs in The Quiet Rebuild –New Portraits. She will share the stories of her volunteer models and discuss the connection between creativity, healing and resiliency.
Details of The Quiet Rebuild: New Portraits:
Drawing Room, Annex Building,
Harcourt House Artist Run Centre
10211-112 Street, Edmonton, AB, CAN
Saturday, February 28, 2015, 10:00am – 10:00pm
Sunday, March 1, 2015, 10:00am – 5:00pm
Artist Talk – Saturday, February 28, 6:30pm
Opening Reception – Saturday, February 28, 7:00pm
Please click here for a preview of the images in The Quiet Rebuild.
Hope to see you at the exhibition!
February is an exciting month – and even more so now as the much-enjoyed Exposure Photography Festival spreads across the province for the first time. Up to 2015, Exposure was only celebrated in Calgary, Banff and Canmore – but no longer!
Personally, I am thrilled that all of Alberta, particularly our capital region of Edmonton, will have the chance to host exhibitions, artist talks and other programming about photography.
Along with my tireless partner, Aaron Chute, I am curating an exhibit called InFocus. The show will feature Edmonton and area photographers under one roof in the drawing room at Harcourt House. We have such a creative community and this is a fabulous opportunity to show it off!
Not only am I working away at InFocus, but I also have a solo exhibition of my own work, entitled The Quiet Rebuild: New Portraits. These images feature volunteer models from across Canada who have endured struggle and tragedy and yet embody an incredible amount of resiliency. It is truly a pleasure to share the stories of others and be a part of their journey.
Through making my art, I discovered art therapy in a natural, organic way. No one told me to try it to help me heal. I wasn’t recommended a set of exercises to do in order to find myself. I just sat down in my studio with a pile of small woodcuts and got started without any direction or even conscious intent. The first wood sculpture I made I named The Quiet Rebuild and it was the beginning of that larger body of work.
Since then I have looked into the theory of art therapy and find it very stimulating and thoughtful for me in my professional art practice. In one of the semesters of my MFA I took an art therapy class as an interdisciplinary option and found it deepened my perspectives on art and healing. It gave me a new dimension in making, reflecting on and contextualizing my work. Since then the wood sculptures in The Quiet Rebuild grew to incorporate portraits of real people sharing their stories of resilience.
Now I am honoured to teach about the restorative potential of creativity. I offer two workshops:
Healing through Visual Art
Healing through the Written Word
This summer and fall I will be presenting these workshops in Chicago Illinois, Amsterdam in the Netherlands, Sherwood Park Alberta and San Antonio Texas. If you are interested in having one or both of these presentations at your conference, event or association, please email me at [email protected]
I strongly believe that art must say something that matters. Within my work, I wrestle with the ideas of loss, struggle and survival. You can read more about my approach in my Artist Statement.
Artwork: “Wanted, Chosen, Planned” Mixed Media, September 2010 © Alexis Marie Chute
I was well over halfway to my due date when doctors discovered that my unborn child had a large tumor around his heart. This news began a month and a half of daily testing to determine if there was anything that could be done. There wasn’t and my son Zachary passed away shortly after he was born.
During the month and a half before Zachary’s birthday and death day, I made art. I made art based on the news we were given and the new world of medical technology and imaging that was opened up to me. I was so overwhelmed on a daily basis that art became my therapy. It was a means for me to think about our situation in an effort to make sense of it all. I now know I will never understand the “why” of this tragedy but that creating art in that time was a helpful means to cope.
As the main issue with my son’s condition was the tumor around his heart, I began to draw anatomical hearts using black pen. I made three copies of my favorite drawing using a laser printer and painted three backdrops in flowing reds and blues, two colours associated with blood flow that I watched in real time on the monitor during many fetal echocardiograms of my son’s heart.
I did gel transfers to apply the hearts to the paintings, the abstracted reds and blues of the painted backgrounds showing through the images. I applied a sheer aqua fabric to the areas surrounding the hearts, sewing it on with red thread which I let hang loosely in certain places. The blue, water like effect, references the fact that a heart that is not beating properly, as in the case of my son, causes fluid to build up in a person’s body.
Black bars along the bottom of the compositions anchor the three pieces together and reveal the words that constantly ran through my brain as I struggled in the helplessness of trying to save my son. Wanted. Chosen. Planned. These three concepts became my mantra, my prayer during that dark time.
Have you used art to help work through a struggle? Please share your experience.