Dr. Margaret (Marmie) Perkins Hess Gallery
Everything We Have Done Is Weather Now
January 19 – May 18, 2023
Artist: Lisa Hirmer
Curator: Josephine Mills
Lisa Hirmer’s gorgeous photographs of weather data bridge the divide between everyday conversations about weather and the enormity of the climate crisis, thereby helping to open up possibilities for imagining different futures for our planet.
Talking about the weather used to be a banal topic for conversation, a perennial and innocuous backdrop to everyday life. But with the climate emergency looming ever bigger, this is no longer the case. The weather is now something much more complicated, something at once an everyday experience and a harbinger of a new planet-scaled reality that is hard to comprehend. In this exhibition, Guelph-based artist Lisa Hirmer explores the changing human relationships with weather, particularly how it is registered and understood.
Hirmer explains how she decided to focus on weather in her recent artworks: “Climate change, which I use as a shorthand for the violence enacted against the species of this planet, other non-human entities, and human beings, is often associated with dramatic weather events and the disruption of old seasons. This struck me as a good site of investigation. Weather is both urgent and mundane. It is something we experience in common. Intrusions as weather are intrusions into the shared material plane on which life carries out.”
Weaving together photographs of archival weather recording ledgers with photographs of contemporary skies, her work Everything We Have Done is Weather Now looks to weather as a cumulative material archive in which human activities are deeply implicated. This work, as with others in the exhibition, is also a search for practices that can bring us into greater awareness of weather, with its ever-changing patterns and contemporary irregularities. Everything We Have Done Is Weather Now arises from a long-term research partnership between artist Lisa Hirmer and uLethbridge Art Gallery that focuses on creating a collective sense of possibility around the climate crisis and on fostering practices that move us towards what is needed to survive climate change. The beauty of the images bridges the divide between everyday conversations about weather and the enormity of the climate crisis, thereby helping to open up space for imagining different futures for our planet.
Everything We Have Done Is Weather Now in the Hess Gallery and Ooleepeeka Eegeesiak’s exhibition Coulees Remember Glaciers in the Helen Christou Gallery are part of Weather Collection, a series of online storytelling events and digital exhibitions combined with in-person exhibitions and hands-on artmaking that invite people across Canada to build new relationships with the future of our planet. Weather Collection is a cross-Canada partnership between the University of Lethbridge Art Gallery, Lethbridge; Mount Saint Vincent University Art Gallery, Halifax; the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, Fredericton; the Agnes Etherington Arts Centre, Queens University, Kingston; and the Yukon Arts Centre, Whitehorse. The Weather Collection series aims to work with the specific property of visual art to spark the imagination in order to open up new perspectives on the discussion about our environment and support productive possibilities for the future. The national partnership and digital components of the series are funded by a Digital Now grant from the Canada Council for the Arts.
Josephine Mills, Director/Curator