Price & Thomas Art CoLab: Becoming Rock

Rock # 6 of the Becoming Rock project located along the Barrie, ON waterfront.

Becoming Rock
Price & Thomas Art CoLab

Saturday, October 1, 2022 – Sunday, October 16, 2022
Barrie, Ontario Waterfront

Artist led talks and walks with Jill Price and Frances Thomas:
Saturday, October 8, 9 -11 am @ Barrie’s Southshore Community Centre
Saturday, October 8, 1- 3 pm @ Heritage Park across from Meridian Place

Foundationally connected by their individual childhood experiences with land, the Becoming Rock one-minute sculpture project is a collaboration by interdisciplinary artists and curators Jill Price and Frances Thomas. Encouraging both movement and stillness along Barrie’s waterfront, the project is inspired by the playful one-minute sculptures of Austrian artist Erwin Wurm and instructional art of the 1960s. Pairing art history with everyday activities, the project is designed to provide an entertaining field exercise for all ages that reinforces the long tradition of humans interacting with rocks as material, site and symbol.

Becoming Rock Project Zone sign located along the path at Heritage Park and South Shore Community Centre.

Also an installation that acknowledges both the physical and spiritual significance of stone and the number seven as being important across many cultures and areas of study throughout history, participants are encouraged to discover 7 signs placed next to 7 large rocks around Barrie’s waterfront between Heritage Park and the South Shore Community Centre during Canada’s 2022 Culture Days. Upon finding the signs, visitors are invited to carry out written prompts and use their bodies to create one-minute sculptures based on earlier works by artists such as Andy Goldsworthy, Nobuo Kubota, Lori Blondeau, Bruce Nauman and Karina Aguilera Skvirsky.

Hoping to archive and celebrate the outcomes of the project at a later date, Price & Thomas encourage participants to document their interactions with each rock and then send their own black and white photos to @ptartcolab where they will be featured on their Facebook and Instagram feeds.

Images (left to right): Erwin Wurm’s One-Minute Sculptures at Venice Biennale in 2017. Black and white photo of Jill Price’s response to sign at Rock #6 (Photo by Frances Thomas).

Beyond being inspired by artists who have come before them, Becoming Rock also reflects facets of Price and Thomas’s independent bodies of work.

Price, currently researching unmaking as a creative act, is interested in how relational aesthetics, performance, land art and dematerialization practices of the past can help build more sustainable, equitable and accessible practices for the future. Price outlines,

“It has become important for me to reduce the amount of material I consume and put out into the world while simultaneously encouraging the creation and appreciation for art that reduces the amount of harm being done to our highly interconnected ecosystems of earth, air, water, human, and more-than-human beings.”

Also inspired by a deep meaningful series of black and white photos created by Thomas in 2017, the project extends from an experience in which the artist returned to the scattered glacial erratics near Parry Sound to coax a mystical connection with the non-human. Thomas shares,

“Vast and smooth, the Georgian Bay granite shoreline was my playground growing up. In returning to the area and camouflaging myself in patterned textiles, the hope was that my presence and proximity would go undetected by my surround. For me it was a ritual of silence, observance, and reverence. A yet unfinished project with the working title Place, Space, and the Immaterial, early documentation of these encounters has helped inform this current initiative.”

Photo of Jill Price and Frances Thomas (Photo by artists).

@ptartcolab is an experimental collaboration between Jill Price and Frances Thomas, two arts professionals educated in gallery culture, museology, curating, arts education and contemporary art. Both living in Barrie, Ontario, they are grateful to be living, working and playing on the traditional territory of the Wendat Nation and Anishinaabeg people, which include the Odawa, Ojibwe, and Pottawatomi Nations, collectively known as the Three Fires Confederacy.

Exploring how working together might push their practices into new areas of investigation while considering the many issues of what it means to be makers in today’s world, Price & Thomas are also working to explore how art, in all its manifestations, can find its way into unexpected spaces and places, increase accessibility and visibility of contemporary and conceptual art, build new audiences, and encourage participants to sense and engage with their surroundings in new ways.

Jill Price is an interdisciplinary Canadian artist of German, Scottish, Welsh and unknown descent, born in Toronto, Ontario. Interested in both the histories and effects of material culture, Price works at the intersections of drawing, craft, botany and performance to help unsettle anthropocenic perspectives, processes and representations of land. Currently a SSHRC PhD Research Fellow in Cultural Studies at Queen’s University, Price is developing an UN/making Methodology to help imagine and encourage more sustainable and ethical approaches to the visual arts. To read more about Price’s practice and exhibition history visit jillpricestudios.ca.

Frances Thomas, is an interdisciplinary Canadian artist of Welsh, Scottish, Irish and Northwestern European descent. Born in Parry Sound, Ontario, Thomas is occupied by the contemplative interpretations of the physical and the immaterial and avoids the straight translation of anything. Working at the intersections of the imagined and ideas of the real through abstraction, she achieved an MFA from York University. Drawn to the mystical, she describes her process as an “inventory that I build or make, or unmake and remake, just like a life, bits and pieces that can only ever be bits and pieces always seeking a new organized whole out of disparate experiences.” To read more about Thomas’s practice and exhibition history visit francesthomas.ca.

Becoming Rock is generously funded by the City of Barrie and project donors Sheila Delaney and Joan Lehman. Price & Thomas would also like to thank all the artists who gave permission for the use of their images within the project.

For more information contact:
ptartcolab@gmail.com
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