Detail of a photograph in Leslie Greentree’s show, The Shadows Are Only Beginning to Reveal Themselves. (Contributed image).

Red Deer artist reflects on the grim reaper in reflective exhibit

Leslie Greentree’s photos and words diffuse difficult subject matter

Launching an exhibition about death can be like spotlighting something unseemly that makes most of us turn away.

While all lives end, “people are very awkward about talking about it,” said Red Deer artist Leslie Greentree — so she’s obligingly diffused the difficult subject matter in her fragmentary show of visual and written reactions to death. It’s called The shadows are only beginning to reveal themselves – at the Harris-Warke Gallery upstairs at Sunworks on Ross Street.

Greentree hopes her esoteric photographs and stream-of-consciousness narratives — some irreverent and amusing — will allow viewers to look at death “sideways, through filters… they can glance at it, then glance away.”

Images of faded blooms, rusty carts, and rain-streaked windowpanes are paired with words that allow viewers into the storyline: “You are in a cargo can on the TransCanada somewhere between Winnipeg and Souris when you learn that he has died…” begins one passage that falls between autobiography and fiction.

Greentree survived painful end-of-life experiences — most cataclysmically when her father passed away a year and a half ago.

An image of three dandelions scattered on the sidewalk can still bring back the surreal moment when she felt the need to step outside as relatives were going through photo albums in preparation for her dad’s funeral.

Greentree recalled taking the picture of the yellow blooms just after leaving the funeral discussions, her camera serving as a distancing mechanism at the time.

She’s since come to realize that the death of a loved one shifts all perspectives. Suddenly rational people start looking for messages or meanings in random events.

Some friends will pull away, while others step up to offer support during this terrible time — and it’s not always the ones you’d expect.

Since artists and writers “tend to process what’s happening in the world around them,” Greentree said, “I decided I wanted to be creatively adventurous.” She culled through the thousands of photographs she’s taken over the years to put together a show about death that isn’t depressing, but gives viewers a chance to reflect on their own feelings.

Greentree has published a book of short fiction: A Minor Planet for You, which won the Howard O’Hagan Prize for Short Fiction in 2007, and two poetry books, including go-go dancing for Elvis, which was shortlisted for the Griffin Prize for Poetry in 2004. Greentree also just completed another short fiction collection, This is not the apocalypse I was hoping for.

The exhibit runs until Feb. 10.



lmichelin@reddeeradvocate.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Rough sleepers keep city staff busy even in winter

The cost of removing homeless camps discovered in remote natural areas in… Continue reading

Former prison employee pleads guilty to role in inmate escape

Corrections Canada employee smuggled cash into prison for inmate who later escaped

Gesundheit! Stifling a sneeze can cause injuries in rare cases, experts say

TORONTO — With cases of flu continuing to rise in Canada, there’s… Continue reading

‘Reprehensible’: Trudeau abortion policy raises ire of U.S. right

WASHINGTON — In what’s almost certainly a first in the lengthy history… Continue reading

Beer Canada calls on feds to axe increasing beer tax as consumption trends down

OTTAWA — A trade association for Canada’s beer industry wants the federal… Continue reading

Central Albertans recall Hawaii’s false missile alert

Former Red Deer councillor Paul Harris was hanging out at the Ka’anapali… Continue reading

This robotic maid takes us one step closer to ‘The Jetsons’

Imagine this: You’re rushing to get ready for work — juggling emails,… Continue reading

Milan line offers canine couture for pampered pooches

Milan has long been the world’s ready-to-wear fashion leader. Now, dogs are… Continue reading

Kim Kardashian West and husband Kanye welcome baby girl

NEW YORK — It’s a girl for Kim Kardashian West and her… Continue reading

Advocate poll takers oppose plastic bag ban

Red Deer Advocate readers like their plastic bags. In an Advocate poll,… Continue reading

Photo: Chilly work in Veterans’ Park

What a chilly job but somebody has to do it.… Continue reading

Boy, 15, one of three hit in Vancouver shooting

Police believe a man in his 20s was the target of the shooting

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month