Collin Elder

Transient Repositories: “Site Visit”

September 2022 - November 2022


Victoria, BC

Born in Banff, AB, based in Victoria, BC, I began oil painting while pursuing a career in ecological restoration, which, along with a degree in biology, has focused my work on how we relate to landscape and wilderness. Visiting and assembling moments in landscapes of British Columbia has inspired me to create works that encompass time and capture the experience of looking.

Three framed, oil paintings on panels of yellow weed and small green oak leaves, and green and blue ivy leaves on a brick wall.

This residency involved looking at the persistence and importance of commonly overlooked and underappreciated weeds. I did this by studying these temporary visitors on hcma’s future building sites here in Victoria and portraying them in oil paint and graphite sketches. The veracity of human development here is matched by the persistence of plant’s return to the land during its temporary dereliction between buildings. The community persists over time but the individuals become site visitors, in a similar way that a ‘site visit’ is in the architect’s agenda. Acknowledging them provides an experience that can move us to the periphery and allow us to re-evaluate human/plant interactions. They are a constant reminder of nature’s persistence, but they also provide a role in food/pollination and urban beauty. They are, themselves, transient repositories, of seasonal food and habitat. All resulting paintings and sketches were oak-framed and hung in the office for a short time to emphasize the point of how transient and yet resilient they are. But having them up, I hope, made us appreciate and be slightly sympathetic to their plight as generally being unappreciated, despite being essential.

Oil painting on panel of green and blue ivy leaves. Two oil paintings on panels of yellow weed and small green oak leaves, framed, on a brick wall. Oil painting on panel of green dandelion growing out of concrete.

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