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Jerry Ropson
Artist

Pollards Point & Sackville
July 05, 2017

Jerry Ropson is an artist, educator, and amateur dancer. Using elements of drawing and narrative, he has focused his practice around site-specific installation and storytelling. Having exhibited throughout Canada and abroad, he often seeks out public and non-traditional sites. He was long-listed for the 2016 Sobey Art Award and over the past year he returned to live and work in his childhood home in Pollards Point, Newfoundland. He can most often be found in Sackville, New Brunswick, where he is an Associate Professor in the Department of Fine Arts at Mount Allison University. His exhibition to kiss a goat between the horns is at The Rooms in St. John’s until September 24.

1. Rural Newfoundland communities

It’s different than just a small town. When Newfoundland joined Canada in 1949, many of the inhabited places were tiny, remote coastal communities on far-flung islands and isolated inlets. With confederation came resettlement and most of these communities were moved to the mainland with the promise of road access and other amenities. Nowadays the roads into these places are poorly maintained, the inhabitants are mostly seniors and, although quite beautiful, they rarely make it into the Newfoundland and Labrador tourism ads popularized in recent years. Many of these resettled communities are slowly disappearing all over again, much like the communities they were meant to replace.

2. Shed parties


A party at Clarence Pittman’s shed in Pollards Point.

The kitchen party is dead, but everyone who’s still kicking has moved on out to the shed. To make room, they’ve pulled out all of the bikes and skidoos. The light bulbs have all been replaced with revolving multi-coloured LEDs, and the coolers have been packed full with ice. DJ Out ‘Round Shore has everyone dancing nonstop to those mixed-tapes the aunts have been making since the early eighties.
“Ain’t no party like a shed dance party!”

3. Bathymetry

Simply put, bathymetry is the measurement of the depth of water in oceans, rivers, or lakes. I’m most attracted to the antiquated methods that involved depth-sounding and the recording of fathoms (the distance between a person’s outstretched arms). I have this arbitrary increment quite often in the measuring and naming of objects that I make. These days, of course, the science has gotten a little more accurate. Still, nothing is precise. I spend more time than I probably should pouring over imperfect depictions of the ocean floor. If you’re interested too, this website is fun.

4. The North Atlantic Ocean

I’m not partial to sandy beaches or temperate waters. For me there ought to be impenetrable cliffs and shorelines piled with polished rocks the size of fists. The water should be frigid cold, cold enough “to cut the skin off ya,” as it’s been said.



In lieu of an official opening at The Rooms, a crew of old friends built a mammoth bonfire on the beach and we celebrated how I like best. Special shout out to Will Gill and the Brothers Bennett.

5. Lists

I have always liked lists. A list like this – a limited list – is difficult for me to compile. I have used lists and listing a lot over the years. My work has been formed by and populated with many lists. Most of my lists go on and on… They amass, meander, and often repeat themselves. At this moment I have over fifty separate lists saved in the Notes app on my iPhone.

 

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