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CONFLUENCE Artist’s Wall Pages

‘Circling the Confluence’ couldn’t have happened without the help of many people. Since beginning this project in January of 2011, Andrea and Daniel reached out to the communities of Elora and Fergus.

They offer their heartfelt thanks to:
Liam Beirne, Conor Beirne, Jill Davey, Benny DiZitti & Rhoda Lipton, Klaus & Judith Doerig, Paul Kaye & Elsa Mann, the Kooiman Family, Jane Longman, Karen Murtaugh & Dwight Pile, and of course, Phil Irish, Arlene Saunders, Sara Lin Barron and the volunteers at the Elora Centre for the Arts, and to all those who have encouraged us along the way.

Maps and mapping circles have long been a part of Daniel and Andrea’s work, both individually and together. In this case, a one kilometer circle was drawn from the confluence of the Grand and Irvine Rivers. The confluence was a natural center point, as the rivers and the gorge are such integral parts of Elora. ‘Lover’s Leap’ overlooks the confluence, and is a well-visited landmark.
This convergence of the two rivers is also symbolic of the collaboration between Andrea and Daniel, each bringing their own sensibility to the project, creating something new.

Encaustic is a beautiful, luscious and ancient method of painting with hardened beeswax and oil paint which Andrea has been using as her primary medium for over a decade. Daniels chosen medium is environmental art sculpture, ephemeral art made with natural elements. Over the past several years he has incorporated beeswax into his wall sculptures. Collaborating on encaustic paintings that use organic elements and found objects was natural.

Each site was visited before beginning a piece. They used photographs, collage, graphite/charcoal rubbings, found objects, natural elements which were used back in the studio. Layers below were revealed by gouging and scraping. Oil paint was rubbed into and onto the surface of the wax.

confluence – noun

  1. a flowing together of two or more streams
  2. their place of junction
  3. the body of water so formed
  4. a coming together: concourse
  5. a crowd or throng: assemblage

During this project, Andrea and Daniel have explored the area extensively, re-visiting favourite places, and discovering many new treasures in and around the Gorge. On one extensive hike near the confluence, they found some rusty metal pieces that they bundled up and brought home. These came to represent roads on each piece.

On another visit, they came across a pile of rusted saw blades, which reminded them of waves…these were incorporated in places where there is low ground, or water.
Being open to ‘surprise’ became an on-going part of this project, both in the studio and while hiking the area.

The ‘tornado’ branches were generously given to this project by the Kooimans and Doerigs. These branches have been weathered by time – since the tornado on August 19th, 2005. Now they take on new life, as Daniel weaves them through the exhibition. Locally gathered rocks play a part in anchoring the sculptures.

These represent both of the rivers – the Grand and the Irvine, as well as the convergence of the two – and echo the tornado itself as it wraps up the center post. Holding the branches together is recycled Japanese paper ribbon dipped in beeswax which is gently wrapped around key junctures. From the tangled forests to the gallery, the branches take on new life as they grace the space with their energy.

The devastation caused by the tornado was extensive… flattened forests, destroyed homes, and although there have been repairs and re-growth over the last six years, the effects are still evident.
It was a challenge to harvest the ‘tornado branches’. The tangle of branches and huge trees created a landscape unlike any before experienced. Truly, the full impact of that day became apparent once in this forest.

Now, the branches have become a part of something new, and are transformed and transforming in this setting.

The Minarovich Gallery floorplan was superimposed over the circle of the confluence, with the pillar in the center lining up with the convergence of the two rivers.

The locations on the circle were chosen by the empty walls of the gallery (their size being determined by the size of the wall). Once selected, they became sites of study and inspiration. Andrea and Daniel researched and visited each site extensively before beginning the paintings, and spent time at the confluence to inform the sculptures.