Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search

Art Canadian

Marlene Creates

Places, Paths, and Pauses

edited by Susan Gibson Garvey & Andrea Kunard

Goose Lane Editions
Initial publish date
Sep 2017
Canadian, Essays, General, Essays, Artists' Books
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2017
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it


"... I was able to make a simple gesture which left no permanent mark on the land."

In 1979 Marlene Creates signaled her intent. In contrast to the monumental earthworks of that time, she revealed that her interest in the intersection of art and the natural world was with the ephemeral, the small scale, and the non-monumental, and with place, "not as a geographical location," she writes, "but as a process that involves memory, multiple narratives, ecology, language, and both scientific and vernacular knowledge." Supplementing the impermanence of her artistic gestures with the technology of photography, Creates found an audience and created a body of work without peer.

Creates has sensitvely probed the relationship between human experience and the natural world for almost four decades. From her early works that record traces of the human body on the land to her later explorations of poetry in situ in the boreal forest and photography as an active medium — where the rush of water over the lens transforms the artist's own image — Creates leads us with an environmental and cultural consciousness to a greater understanding of the language of the natural world and our "places" in it.

It is no easy task to sum up, in a single book, a career that privileges the act over the artifact, the moment over the monument. But under the direction of curator-critics Susan Gibson Garvey and Andrea Kunard, Marlene Creates: Places, Paths, and Pauses offers not only a broad view of her work in photography but also a critical appreciation of her multi-disciplinary approach (assemblages, memory-map drawings, and video-poems) through essays by Gibson Garvey and Kunard, art historian Joan M. Schwartz, nature writer Robert Macfarlane, and poet Don McKay.

Marlene Creates: Places, Paths, and Pauses accompanies a major retrospective touring exhibition organized by the Beaverbrook Art Gallery in partnership with the Dalhousie Art Gallery. It will open in Fredericton in September 2017 and thereafter will be shown at galleries in Halifax, Charlottetown, St. John's, and other venues in central and western Canada.

About the authors

For over forty years, Susan Gibson Garvey has been active in the Canadian visual arts community as an artist, educator, critic, curator, and gallery director. She was the Curator and later the director of the Dalhousie Art Gallery from 1990 to 2007. Susan has taught studio art and art history, developed and implemented special courses in curatorial practice, written numerous catalogue essays and published articles and critical reviews in Canadian arts journals and magazines, and organized over 100 exhibitions. She has received several grants and awards, including the Royal Canadian Academy of the Arts Medal for outstanding services to the visual arts in Canada and the Canadian Museums Association Award for Distinguished Service. She was President of the University and College Art Galleries Association of Canada; and she is a founding member (and was first Chair) of the Halifax-based Contemporary Art Projects Society (CAPS), which organized the first Halifax International Exhibition of Contemporary Art (2000) as well as many other collaborative projects, exhibitions, and curatorial symposia. Susan resides in Canning, Nova Scotia.

Susan Gibson Garvey's profile page

Andrea Kunard taught for over a decade at Carleton University, Queen's University and Nova Scotia College of Art & Design University. As associate curator at the National Gallery of Canada, Kunard explores the intersections of contemporary and historical issues in Canadian photography, focusing on cultural uses of the medium, and its capacity to challenge and reconfigure accepted understandings of the public and private, subjectivity, memory, and knowledge. She has curated numerous exhibition for the National Gallery and Library and Archives Canada. Kunard is the co-editor of The Cultural Work of Photography in Canada. She has also written articles on contemporary and historical photography in The Journal of Canadian Art History, the International Journal of Canadian Studies, and Early Popular Visual Culture.

Andrea Kunard's profile page


  • Winner, Governer General's Award for Visual Arts and Media
  • Nominated, Melva J. Dwyer Award

Editorial Reviews

"This is the sort of book that will repay repeat reading and most especially repeat viewing of the unique images that comprise its bulk."

<i>Atlantic Books Today</i>

"As a whole the images, commentary and essays of Marlene Creates: Places, Paths, and Pauses create a richly woven tapestry that enable the reader to gain insight and understanding into Creates’ ‘discreet’ oeuvre; an oeuvre that I am pleased to have encountered and feel deserves greater recognition."

Eco Art Scotland

"Creates’ ‘places’ are open to poetic, scientific, amazing paths."

<i>The Telegram</i>