Marlene Creates A Newfoundland Treasury of Terms for Ice and Snow

Paul Petro Contemporary Art ⁠ accessible_forward
980 Queen St W

Since 2011, Marlene Creates has been observing and photographing winter’s phenomena by means of over 80 named varieties of ice, snow, and winter weather in the Newfoundland dialect. Examples include ballicattered (covered with a layer of ice from spray or waves), clinkerbells (icicles), ice-blink (the dazzle of the ice), and devil’s blanket (a snowfall that hinders your usual work). These terms are precise, practical, evocative, sonic, and lyrical. Two videos shown alongside the photographs include an award-winning documentary video-poem based on the Blast Hole Pond River, and a real-time, single take of sea ice in Conception Bay in 2014 when it was so cold that the bay froze for the first time in decades.

“Treasury” is used in the title to describe a collection of highly valued poetic terms. Several are from 17th-century English, brought to Newfoundland with the settlers; others arose from occupational activities in this climate. But they’re now fragile intangible artifacts. Major changes, particularly the decline of the fishery, have resulted in a loss of local linguistic complexity. And these terms are fragile for another reason—climate change.

With special thanks to the Newfoundland & Labrador Arts Council and The Canada Council for the Arts.

Marlene Creates lives and works in Portugal Cove, Newfoundland & Labrador. For almost 40 years her work has been an exploration of the relationship between human experience and the land, and the impact they have on each other. Since 2002 her principal artistic venture has been to closely observe and work with the 6 acres of boreal forest where she lives. Since the mid-1970s, her work has been presented in over 350 solo and Group exhibitions and screenings across Canada (including several nationally touring solo exhibitions) and in Austria, China, Denmark, England, France, India, Ireland, Korea, Scotland, and USA. She was elected to the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts in 2001.