Riverworks: Alexis Bulman, Doug Dumais, and Kirstie McCallum

Exhibition presented by: Creative PEI, The River Clyde Pageant and the Prince Edward Island Watershed Alliance with funding from the federal government’s Climate Action Fund

March 31, 2022 – April 4, 2022 | 10:00 am – 7:00 pm daily
Beaconsfield Carriage House
2 Kent Street, Charlottetown, PEI

In the summer of 2021, Riverworks invited three artists to explore and make art on the shores of the Hillsborough River. Alexis Bulman, Doug Dumais, and Kirstie McCallum created land-based artworks based on their shoreline observations of ecological transformation.

At the Stratford Waterfront, Alexis Bulman installed Lillian’s Place; at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital shoreline, Doug Dumais performed Shoreline Palimpsest; and at the Tea Hill shoreline, Kirstie McCallum constructed Pollinator Clock.

As these public art installations were underway, the PEI Watershed Alliance planted “living shorelines” at each location. Living shorelines are a soft, nature-based approach to coastline protection that mimic natural processes. Living shorelines employ biodegradable materials rather than using hardened seawalls or rock armouring, which cause significant ecological damage. This approach protects land and water, encourages wildlife return, and exemplifies a harmonious relationship with the more-than-human world.

Using art as a form of citizen science, the three Riverworks artists have come together in this exhibition to expand on the themes of adapting with, listening to, and observing waterways within the larger context of the climate crisis.

Each of the works within Riverworks pose questions about change and time, asking us, what does it mean to consider human experience as a fleeting part of larger planetary cycles? The artworks offer perspectives for ways of living that embrace and attend to changes along our rivers, coastlines, and communities.

Biographies

Alexis Bulman

Alexis Bulman is an interdisciplinary artist based in Epekwitk/Prince Edward Island. Her sculpture and installation work draws on community and collaboration to explore themes of climate adaptation, and access negotiations in public and private spaces. The artist’s investigations are achieved through deep engagements with materials and process. From illuminated floating tents, chopped and fallen lumber, to cedar-shingled structures and more. Bulman uses materials as sites for sharp and playful intervention, and relies on the instincts of her body to inform her conversations with site-specific places.

Bulman completed her BFA at NSCAD University in 2013 and has exhibited nationally in galleries such as Eyelevel Gallery, NS, The Confederation Centre Art Gallery, PEI, The Robert McLaughlin Gallery, ON and internationally at the Kelvin Gallery, Glasgow School of Art, Scotland, UK. Bulman has received provincial support from the PEI Art Grants as well as national support from the Canada Council of the Arts.

Most recently, Bulman was a planning committee member for the inaugural Disability Atlantic Arts Symposium and worked as the ClimateSense Artist with the University of Prince Edward Island’s School of Climate Change and Adaptation where she created community-engaged artwork through a continued accessibility framework.


Doug Dumais

Doug Dumais is a camera artist based in Charlottetown, Epekwitk/Prince Edward Island who documents spaces undergoing drastic changes such as construction sites, eroding shorelines, and public institutions.

Dumais manipulates his images by layering them with historical paintings, illuminating them with illegible poetry, or obscuring them with frosted glass. Engaging in a playful game of broken telephone between the observable world, the camera, the editing process, and back to the “real world” of viewership, Dumais’ work recklessly pursues double-takes. By subtly manipulating photographs, Dumais turns his images into tools to oblique tools of communication to explore mysteries and abstract concepts lying immediately beyond the horizons of language and representation.

The goal of his photo-manipulation is to allow the ambient, neglected, and overlooked locations in the built and natural environment to take up space, and encourages viewers to become deeply aware of – and contend with – the pervasive changes reoccurring around them.

Dumais holds a master’s degree in art history from Concordia University (2019). He has exhibited at ARTCH Montréal, Galerie La Castiglione, this town is small, and has an upcoming exhibition at the Ottawa City Hall Art Gallery.


Kirste McCallum

Based in Epekwitk/Prince Edward Island, Kirstie McCallum is a sculptor and installation artist who draws on craft practices, organic gardening, and DIY science to explore cycles of growth and decay, material agency, and environmental sustainability.

Focusing on physical transformation and somatic engagement with matter, she deliberately combines raw/natural, recycled, and fine art materials. She has worked with bioplastics, hand-gathered seeds, copper, raspberry canes, wire, willow shoots, plaster, hand-made natural pigments, small electronics, and food-grade dyes. Through this work she highlights the shifting relationships of care, exploitation, and interdependence that exist between plants, people, and the land.

Kirstie holds an MFA from OCADU and MA in creative writing from the University of New Brunswick. She has been awarded residencies at the Banff Centre, the Darling Foundry, and the School of Making Thinking. She has worked for Studio F Minus, a public sculpture company in Toronto. Her work has been supported by The Canada Council for the Arts, PEI Arts Grants, and The Ontario Arts Council. It has been exhibited at Red Head Gallery and The Gladstone Hotel in Toronto, the Banff Centre Project Space, and the New Gallery showcase in Calgary. In addition to her practice, Kirste teaches literature and writing at OCADU.