Art Tag: Investigating ‘the cartography of our being’

By Andrea Stokes – 

In the last round of Art Tag, artist Stephen Frew tagged one of his favourite Kitchissippi artists, Jeff McIntyre.

Jeff and I met at Platform Gallery and Studios (51 Young St.) to talk about The Red Sticks Project, a large-scale piece he is working on for a site-specific installation and as a touring exhibit.

Photo of Jeff McIntyre by Andrew Szeto.
Photo of Jeff McIntyre by Andrew Szeto.

Jeff is passionate about constructing this compelling and ambitious project. From Platform, Jeff takes me to a temporary workspace at the Enriched Bread Artists studios, where he’s assembled various components of this installation: a giant red stick tripod, red rocks, a red canoe paddle, and other materials that would be found in a traditional canoe camp.

His artist statement describes the installation this way: “The Red Sticks Project investigates the cartography of our being. Red is important. Red is alarming … this installation strips away the excess” of material culture “to reveal the bones of shelter, food and water.”

Jeff has been a Kitchissippi resident for six and a half years but has been creating art his whole life. He began his career as a young muralist and his work was in high demand all across Canada.

Jeff grew up camping, exploring, and building forts in the woods in Northern Quebec and Ontario. Today, he owns land outside the city, from which he takes trees, rocks and other elements he is using in his installation. Jeff exuberantly describes the satisfaction he gets from shaving and pulling the bark and experimenting with how it appears after a first or second coat of paint. All of these elements will eventually be dipped in a rubberized coating of matte red.

“The planning and fabrication of The Red Sticks Project is most enjoyable… it does not get better than this,” says Jeff. “I am sculpting trees for shelter posts, and whittling saplings for a tripod. I’m using rocks for a fire pit circle that were carved by glaciers 10,000 years ago.”

Jeff is very thankful for the sponsorship and support of Langford Canoes who helped get this project off the ground.

He will be touring the exhibit in 2017 to coincide with Canada’s 150th birthday. He also plans to create a larger version of the project on his own land, where he will be able to “sleep inside his art, under the stars, beside a bending stream.”

Jeff is tagging local artist, Ryan Smeaton, because, in his words, he is a guy to watch.

“I admire his technical and traditional approach to creating contemporary art that teeters between reality and imagination,” says Jeff.

For more of Jeff’s art, go to jeffmcintyreart.com.

Art Tag is a special series by local artist Andrea Stokes. Each artist she profiles for KT “tags” their favourite artist to be profiled in the next issue. Find the others in this series right here

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