Ghost Net Drawing Svalbard Selected Works

Ghost Net Drawing, Svalbard 2021

Changes we are making on a global scale to our environment are accelerated in locations where I have recently made work. In both Canada and Norway, I have focused on visualizing precarious landscapes on the verge of radical change. Sailing around Svalbard, Norway, we collected large amounts of garbage, fishing nets and ropes. At each site, I used these objects as large drawing tools, dragging them through the sand and snow before we loaded them on the sailboat. I photograph ephemeral drawings situated in the landscape and print them on recycled fabric and paper. 

On the Arctic Circle residency, Laura Millard reclaimed a ghost net in Svalbard—one of many lost, abandoned, or discarded commercial fishing nets that plague our waters. Recovering and using the net to draw the symbol for infinity in the ephemeral snow, Millard continued her approach to large-scale land art by photographing the drawing with a drone and painting over the print, rendering it to memory, and preserved. As in the cycle of life, the land is returned to itself.

Noah Gano
Ghost Net Drawing Svalbard 40×60 inches, watercolour, gouache, pencil, chalk on photograph on hahnemuhle paper
Ghost Net Drawing Svalbard
Ghost Net Drawing Svalbard 40×60 inches, watercolour, gouache, pencil, chalk on photograph on hahnemuhle paper
Collapse News

Shared Terrain: DesignTO Project Exhibition

‘Shared Terrain’ is a group exhibition that fosters cultural exchange between the Nordic Region and Canada. This exhibition is structured around exchange and conversation between 10 creatives from distant locations who are collaborating with each other for the first time.

Artists and designers from Canada and the Nordic Region are paired in 5 groups, working together virtually from September to December to create new work for the exhibition. They are invited to be inspired by each other, exploring the connections between their practices with respect to their regional locations and cultural histories.

This exhibition features the work of Carissa Baktay (Canada and Iceland), Laura Millard (Canada), Teemu Salonen (Finland), Randi Samsonsen (Faroe Islands), Katarina Spik Skum (Sápmi, Sweden), Anie Toole (Canada), Lillian Tørlen (Norway), Wednesday Architecture (Denmark), Justine Woods (Aabitaawizininiwag, Canada), and Boris Yu (Canada).

Shared Terrain, Photo by Christine Lim courtesy of DesignTO Selected Works

Collapse & Circle Draw

Collapse speaks to impermanence and instability. Crumpling the image of Svalbard’s Esmarkbreen glacier, falling out of its frame, calls attention to the ephemeral and unstable nature of this environment. I have been moving my practice increasingly from two dimensional images to more sculptural, immersive ways to present images in a space. Playing with the ideas of light, darkness and collapse, I wanted to bring the image of the glacier out of the frame and have it collapse into the viewer’s space. What ways might be found to metaphorically reflect the tenuous, changing impermanence of a warming planet? During my Arctic Circle Residency that October in Svalbard, I saw that landscape plunge into increasing darkness. This work incorporates these experiences, using light and printed fabric to transform my image of the rapidly collapsing Esmarkbreen glacier in an area of the globe that is experiencing the effects of climate warming most rapidly and acutely.

During the 2019 Arctic Circle Autumn Residency in Svalbard we sailed around Spitsbergen and collected boatloads of discarded nets, ropes and plastic garbage we picked up in remote locales. Circle Draw is made in the moraine silt of the Chauveaubreen glacier which debouches into Ayerfjorden. I pulled a found section of fishing rope through the sand in a series of circles, reflecting on time, cycles, and our transience in this place.

Shared Terrain, Photo by Christine Lim courtesy of DesignTO
Collapse at Shared Terrain, 2022
Shared Terrain, Photo by Christine Lim courtesy of DesignTO
Collapse at Shared Terrain, 2022

Arctic Circle Draw News


Laura Millard’s exhibition trace, on view at the Visual Arts Centre’s McClure Gallery, engages with the language of drawing and gesture in relation to the landscape while questioning the traces our actions leave behind.

Millard’s process begins with drawings that she views as performances in the landscape. She photographs these from far overhead with a drone, and then uses paint and drawing materials to work into the print, adding marks made by the hand to those captured in the image. Selected images are printed onto fabric to use in lightboxes scaled to the height of the viewer. The lightboxes envelop the viewer, casting light and the reflected image into the space. These immersive experiences of place visualize precarious landscapes on the verge of radical change.

Millard has made her line drawings in remote and familiar places, from using a recovered fishing net and rope in Svalbard, Norway, to using snowmobiles and ice skates in northern Canadian locales. The ephemeral nature of these drawings done on ice, sand and snow points to the impermanent nature of our time in these places and the hubris of ‘leaving our mark’.

Arctic Circle Draw