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Robyn Moody sculpture work examines Alberta oilsands development

April 2, 2013

New gallery exhibit made up of hundreds of spinning gears and mirrors

(Charlottetown, P.E.I.) - The Confederation Centre Art Gallery is pleased to present the sculptural installation Power 2: Heart Lake as seen through the eyes of Manley Natland, by Alberta artist Robyn Moody. The unusual piece is a roughly 17-foot long scale model of an Alberta lake, made up of hundreds of spinning gears arranged across the gallery floor. Affixed to each gear is a tilted mirror, which occasionally flashes light from overhead, suggesting the continuously changing reflection of sunlight glistening off the surface of a body of water. "The work addresses the vulnerability of water sources in Alberta threatened by the development of oilsands," says Moody. Heart Lake is a real lake, as yet untouched by resource extraction; the work depicts this as a sort of mad machine, a fleetingly beautiful reflection of its natural source, but one harnessed to a circular, and single-minded, perhaps vain quest.

"Robyn Moody's work is a type of image of the landscape, and therefore is in the grand Canadian tradition," says Pan Wendt, exhibition curator. "But where sometimes artists have imagined the landscape as a boundless source for inspiration and life, many contemporary artists are starting to paint a more apocalyptic picture in the wake of such massive threats to it."

Moody's complicated title for the work reflects this more tragic vision of the landscape, as Manley Natland was the American geologist who in the 1950s first conceived of the possibility - and the means of extraction - of oil from the sands of Alberta.

Power 2: Heart Lake as seen through the eyes of Manley Natland opens on April 6, 2013 and spins until August 4. The spring hours for the Confederation Centre Art Gallery are Wednesday to Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Image Cutline:
Power 1: Heart Lake as seen through the eyes of Manley Natland, (detail), 2009, plastic, motors, MDF, 520 x 285 cm. Photo credit: Brian McKenna .