May 16 - June 10, 2017
Opening reception: Friday May 19, 7-9pm
The forest is where I live and feel at home. In my paintings I observe and document the changes that happen over time to my local forest landscape.
Some of the changes to the forest are dramatic and radically alter the landscape at a regional scale. Pine beetles killed most of the trees of an area larger than France in less than a decade. Two summers ago, the Chelaslie fire burned 133,000 hectares (1330 square kilometers). Logging clearcuts are very visible from the air. Farming turned much of the Nechako Valley from forests into fields. Housing and development are creeping over what was once forest. Roads are everywhere.
Logging has had a very large impact on the local forest. My brother, a logging contractor, invited me to spend a couple of days at work with him out in the bush. I took photos of the work of logging and of the beautiful and ugly scenery in the bush. We fed whiskey jacks and ravens. He explained the whole operation to me, how all the machines work together. We snowshoed in the winter and walked in the fall, to see the land on foot. In the studio, I made paintings of the logging machinery and the logged landscape.
All of my family - my husband, brothers, sister, all four of my kids, both parents, uncle, cousins, nephews, and I - have worked in the forest industry, most of us for all or most of our working lives. We’ve done various types of work, such as tree falling, tree planting, sawmill work, logging contracting, silviculture surveying and truck driving. My daughter, brothers, son-in-law, nephew and cousin all work in the forest industry today. Logging is what puts the food on our tables.
My thoughts about logging and art
There is a tension between love for the environment and industry; I think it’s possible for them to co-exist. It’s an interesting area of tension to explore with art.
I got several comments from people that logging makes them sad. I’ve thought a lot about this. In the Central Interior of BC, logging is what we do. Every single person in my family has worked in the forest industry. Logging puts food on all our tables.
I’ve done artwork about the forest for many years. I painted the many different changes that happen to the forest. I was inspired by the pine beetle epidemic that killed almost all of our pines in BC. Logging also changes the forest, so I decided to do a painting about logging. My brother, a logging contractor, invited me to go along to work with him and so now for two years I’ve been painting the work of logging and logged scenery.
It may seem strange, but I find beauty in the chaos of a cutblock. I know the trees will grow again. I don’t think logging is perfect, but it doesn’t make me sad.
Annerose Georgeson lives near Vanderhoof, on the same farmland where she grew up. She was born in Switzerland and as a child immigrated with her family to Canada. She has shown her artwork in 16 solo exhibitions in public galleries in BC and Alberta.
Georgeson has a BFA in Visual Arts from UVic and is part-time faculty at CNC’s Fine Arts program in Prince George. She was the artist in residence at CNC- Nechako for five years and was also the curator of Red and Blue Beetle Art, a regional touring exhibition about the impact of the mountain pine beetle. She has taught art and facilitated community arts projects for many years in Vanderhoof.
Georgeson’s art is based on nature. She is currently working on a series of large paintings about the forest, documenting the various changes in the forest, including logging, fires, farming and the pine beetles.