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Canadian Artist of the Week
LOOK AT THIS: The Bitumen Skating Rinks And Sunken Gas Stations Of Mia Feuer
July 12, 2014
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An Unkindness, 2013
1/11 OPEN GALLERY

LOOK AT THIS is a weekly series featuring the work of Canadian artists, designers and creators of all sorts.

Name: Mia Feuer

Born: Winnipeg, 1981

Lives and works: Washington, DC — for now. Feuer told Strombo.com that she was just hired as a professor of sculpture at California College of Art. "So, right now I am in the process of moving from the East Coast to the beautiful Bay Area and will be residing in Oakland," she said.

Her work: Feuer is a sculptor and installation artist whose work deals with industrial refuse, resource extraction and environmental degradation. She told Strombo.com that her interest in the themes emerged from time spent in the oil-rich Middle East. "I started to ask myself questions about my practice, especially in terms of my own dependency on petroleum derivatives and products in my studio," she said. "I have had a dangerous material-love affair with Styrofoam for years!" Her installation An Unkindness, above left, is a response to visits to Fort McMurray and the Arctic Circle. It consists of a synthetic (but usable!) skating rink, with a nightmarish sculpture evoking tar and feathers suspended above it.

On being a Canadian artist in the States: An Unkindness was produced for the The Corcoran Museum in Washington, DC. "I considered that this particular museum happens to be located across the street from The White House," she told Strombo.com. "Before figuring out exactly what would be in this exhibition, I thought about all the policy makers who were literally across the street — making decisions about the future of global energy consumption — and I did ask myself what my responsibility was, as a Canadian artist having an opportunity to show work in the particular location at this particular moment."

Her next big project: Feuer is currently seeking crowdfunding on Indiegogo for an ambitious project called Antedeluvian, part of a series of public artworks in DC exploring near futures (the top right image above is a preliminary sketch). When it's complete in September, it will consists of what appears to be a sunken gas station floating in DC's Kingman Lake. "I wanted to create a jarring, highly visible moment in the landscape that might provoke a dialogue about rising sea levels, the future of coastal cities and climate change," she said. "One of the details I was interested in achieving with this piece was having the lights on the canopy roof structure shine a vibrant reflection into the water." To mitigate the work's environmental impact, the power will be supplied by solar and wind energy. "I am hoping that using these sustainable technologies to power the piece will perhaps also provoke a conversation about renewable and non-renewable energy resources."

Another Canadian artist she admires: "I recently was invited to The Banff Centre to be a visiting artist at Peter Von Tiesenhausen's thematic “Making” residency.  After learning some more about his practice, I would say he is a really important Canadian artist I admire. Not only do I love his exceptional relationship with materials, but I am also really interested the ongoing collaborative project that he has with his land. In 1995, he claimed copyright over that land and has been successful on several occasions defending this artwork against the incursions of multinational corporate interests, oil companies. Another piece that I was really moved by recently was Patrick Bernatchez’s Chrysalis Empereur, which I saw at the MASS MOCA’s recent survey of contemporary Canadian artists."

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