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Annette Merkenthaler: Slow Spring



January 1, 2002

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In April and May of 1999, Annette Merkenthaler was artist in residence at the Gushul Studio in Blairmore, Alberta wehre she created three new works; two of which were site installation. The third was a "garden" constructed of outdoor materials used by the artist as the basis of a photo work. This garden, Slow Spring, marked the passage of time during Merkenthaler's eight weeks in the studio - an interval remarkable for its unusually cold weather and the stubborn resistance of nature to the unfolding of a new season. During this period, the artist took walks in the area and gathered small samples of indigenous plant life. After bringing these specimens back to the studio, buds began to appear on the cuttings until, gradually, a small garden thrived while outside the landscape remained immue to signs of spring. The diorama was recorded through a series of photographs, juxtaposed with actual site photographs to create a layered work conveying the artist's ambivalent relationship with nature and her history at a particular time and place.

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