Gwen MacGregor

Circumference

installation

exhibited at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, 2015

In the summer of 2015 the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria presented a comprehensive exhibition of the work of Jock MacDonald from The Painters Eleven. I was invited by curator Michelle Jacques to create work in response. Jock MacDonald kept a diary starting in 1935 during an eighteen month period while he and his family lived on Nootka Island. This diary became the centre point in time for the creation of the installation. Circumference, then, refers both to a kind of demarcation of time and place centred on Jock MacDonald, the Mowachaht-Muchalaht who historically called Nootka home (but now mostly only based in Yuquot) and the island itself.

The exhibition consists of five main elements. Six videos shot on Nootka are accompanied by photos of details of Jock MacDonald’s paintings that relate to the period: a Stewardship Map of Nootka reproduced as a carpet and placed on the floor; an accompanying legend turned into a rubber ‘Welcome Mat’ inside the door of the gallery; and Jock MacDonald’s diary reproduced on a tablecloth that is draped over the table in the Kearly gallery. These are accompanied by examples of drygoods that MacDonald listed in his diary that were necessary for his stay on Nootka, placed in the glass cases in the gallery where usually china plates and cups are displayed.

Circles of politics, history and artmaking are brought together by combining these interventions with the dominant Victorian(ish) architecture of the rooms. It is also the intent, however, to puncture the hermetic state of the rooms and to allow through a living, changing understanding of MacDonald’s experience of Nootka and the effect the island had on his art practice.

Jock MacDonald’s diary
Stewardship Map of Nootka as a carpet
welcome mat
drygoods
photograph of a detail of a painting by Jock MacDonald
photograph of a detail of a painting by Jock MacDonald
one of six Nootka videos (installation view)
one of six Nootka videos (installation view)
one of six Nootka videos (installation view)
one of six Nootka videos (installation view)
one of six Nootka videos (installation view)
one of six Nootka videos (excerpt)
one of six Nootka videos (excerpt)