Fish in the Water are Thirsty
After years of planting trees in Québec and in B.C., and working on the photo project Shaping the New Forest, I decided that I needed a foot in the countryside, to live closer to the land, in a way more sane than planting trees in clear-cuts. Then, from 1995 to 2002, in a partnership between myself and Luc Beauparlant, the place we bought became the base of operations for the artist-run center Boreal Art/Nature where we hosted residencies with artists from all over the world.
I began to make photographs around the house, in 1992.
Special thanks to Luc and Christine for their care and efforts to practice the art of everyday life on this land.
" In the series, The Fish in the Water are Thirsty, what is apparent is Gilbert's own intimate investment in the site she attends. It is a subtle, lived engagement distinct from the more overt politic of the New Forest series. Her photographs suggest a way of relating to locale predicated on a close attentiveness: what does it mean to inhabit and observe a place in it's seasonal unfoldings?
Though seemingly spontaneous records of natural scenes, the large format negatives and photographs are the result of thoughtful composition and rigorous selection: very few are printed, from hundreds of negatives. Further, "nature" here is not wild, but rural and indeed completely overlain with the marks of enculturation, from the Himalayan gargoyle-style snowman, to the photo captured echo of a 60s land-art inspired spiral on a melting lake."
Renee Baert, Curator of Contemporary Art, Ottawa Art Gallery, 2002