Since 2017, Alchemy Artists Residency has shared food, art and dialogue with visiting and local artists, winemakers, growers, long-time residents, and seasonal agricultural workers in Hillier, Prince Edward County. Participating artists are paired with local wineries and farms to create and share work in response to their surroundings.
Field Notes 2022 is a group exhibition at Base 31 (formerly known as Camp Picton) offering the work of 15 artists who participated in Alchemy Artist Residency from June to September 2022. Field Notes is also a self-guided temporary public art exhibition in various locations throughout Prince Edward County including Hillier, Wellington, Picton, and Carrying Place.
Over the last 200 years, Prince Edward County has been defined through shifting roles in the history of settlers from military outpost to Canada’s canning capital, to one of the fastest growing viticultural regions in North America and a source of inspiration for artistic and culinary pursuits. These diverse activities contribute to the County’s history and are documented through separate and distinct lenses– historic, agricultural, and artistic. While the lens of documentation varies – there is a common thread of field notes.
Field notes are described by the poet, artist and scholar Karin Cope in a generously shared lecture offered to her fall 2021 graduate students at Nova Scotia School of Art and Design as “documentation involving travel, altered perceptions, repeated observations, encounters, interviews, reflections, associations, measurements, all carefully annotated via various sorts of recordkeeping from sketches to journal entries and other forms of data collection…It is a methodology used in a variety of disciplines in the social sciences and biology, most famously botany and geology.”
Pilots, such as those who once lived and trained at Base 31, used these methodologies to record weather patterns and wind direction. Today’s farmers and vine growers can learn from the documentation of earlier settlers who farmed the land. Vine growers and winemakers meticulously document the nuances of the grape growing and maturation of the vines for the harvest to come. Contemporary artists, makers, and chefs have found sources of inspiration through this methodology for a myriad of artistic and culinary pursuits. Now recognized as a critical method for artists, field notes (like Alchemy itself) is an opportunity to show work in progress, explore new ideas, consider collaboration, and form connections with others.
During their residency at Alchemy, artists have the opportunity to collect, document, and share deeply layered stories showcasing what compels people to continue to create, grow, farm, and live in the County. The resulting works represent an ever-deepening relationship and understanding between and among artists, residents, farmers, wine growers and agricultural workers both seasonal and local. Through textiles, installation, painting, drawing and sculpture, these works – collectively and individually -- examine themes of collaboration, labour, creative expression, food sovereignty, and community in a rural agricultural setting.
Mindful of the harvest's central role in the county, Alchemy artists also plan and prepare Table Settings, a weekly meal featuring local produce and proteins for 40 seasonal agricultural workers who live and work on collaborating with local wineries. These meals are offered to acknowledge the significant contribution of farm and vineyard labourers, many of whom come from outside of Canada and all of whom work alongside local farmers and growers. Through this initiative, Alchemy’s volunteer kitchen brigade of artists and cooks has prepared and served more than 2500 meals since 2020.
Alchemy artists return to the County each harvest season to explore, learn, and create. With each year, their affection and understanding of the land and people, who call the County home, continue to grow.
Through Field Notes, Alchemy artists find and share a deeper appreciation for the beauty and physically demanding work that comes with living and working at the western edge of Prince Edward County. Their offerings through this group exhibition offer a collective narrative to share how simple, yet profound acts of growing, making, and sharing, whether food, wine, or art, can further foster community.
Returning to inspiration found in Cope’s notes – the act of field notes can help artists and others to “understand something about the place where you are, the phenomena and entities you encounter, and your place in that world (however invasive or precarious or contradictory it might be). Field Notes are essential to arriving at such understandings through description and reflection.
Alchemy Artists Residency gratefully acknowledges funding support from the Ontario Arts Council, an agency of the Government of Ontario, and the Government of Canada through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario.
Closson Chase Vineyards, 629 Closson Rd, Hillier
Broken Stone Winery, 524 Closson Rd, Hillier
Hinterland Winery, 1258 Closson Rd, Hillier
Grange of Prince Edward, 990 Closson Rd, Hillier
TONIA DI RISIO
Casa Dea Estates Winery, 1186 Greer Rd, Wellington
Rosehall Run Vineyards, 1243 Greer Rd, Wellington
Blue Wheelbarrow Farm, 120 County Rd 32, Picton
PATTI RANDAZZO BECKETT &
Redtail Vineyards, 422 Partridge Hollow Road
CLAIRE M TALLARICO
Thyme Again Gardens, 403 Smokes Point Rd, Carrying Place
Check individual vineyards and farms for their public hours.
Thursday - Sunday 12pm - 4pm
The Dentist's Office
26-343 County Rd 22,
Picton, Prince Edward County
Sunday 25 September
2 - 4 pm
A poetry reading by Heather Lindsay at 3pm.
This exhibition is a part of Ontario Culture Days 2022.
Base 31, Picton
Seven Temporary Public Art Installations + One Public Reading in Hillier, Prince Edward County, Ontario. Each work responds to the land and the individuals who grow and care for the vines and each other.
Patti Randazzo Beckett at Broken Stone Winery, 524 Closson Road
Mary Macdonald at Stanners Vineyard,
76 Station Road
Lisa Wood at Closson Chase Vineyards,
629 Closson Road
Barbara Brown at Hinterland Winery,
1258 Closson Road
Lynn Hubbs at Casa Dea Estates Winery,
1186 Greer Road
Claire M. Tallarico at Coldcreek Vineyards,
1521 Danforth Road
Tonia Di Risio at Redtail Vineyards,
422 Partridge Hollow Road
Jane Macdonald A reading at Hillier Hall Friday September 24 at 4 p.m.
Click on the artist's name for more information.
Check individual vineyards for their public hours.
This exhibition is a part of Ontario Culture Days 2021.
Closson Chase Vineyards
Visit the Culture Days Ontario website to digitally view the installations in and around Hillier, Prince Edward County.
Ontario Culture Days lives at the local level. The non-profit organization supports participants from the smallest hamlets to the largest cities, while coordinating with national, provincial and territorial Culture Days partners.