Rita McKeough

dig as deep as the darkness

July 20 - September 15, 2019

Above: Rita McKeough, dig as deep as the darkness, video still image, 2018
Curator: Dylan McHugh

A plant is talking to itself, to its own branches, pulsing, and clicking. Ferns stand on guard. Roots stir and move to alert the others. Blueberries to cranberries to bears: clicking, buzzing, vibrating chatter. Excavators dig and bore thousands and thousands of holes into the ground. Tensions build, plants and animals adapt to defend themselves. Conflict is at hand.

Dig as deep as the darkness is a media installation that proposes an abstractive idea of an excavation site revealing subterranean layers below an imagined city. Sound, video and interactive objects are used to articulate the complexities of relationships of land to land development and the consequences to animal and plant species. The installation offers an immersive and complex experience of the vulnerability of the environment and gives voice to the forces of resistance in the natural world.

The exhibition, dig as deep as the darkness, will be followed by a second exhibition by Rita McKeough, darkness is as deep as the darkness is, curated by Jacqueline Bell and presented at Walter Phillips Gallery, Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, February 1 to May 31, 2020. A catalogue on both exhibitions will be jointly-produced by the institutions, and is forthcoming in 2020.

Rita McKeough is an installation and performance artist based in Calgary. Her work incorporates audio, electronics and mechanical performing objects. Since the late 70s, McKeough has been committed to creating chaotic and immersive installations that reconfigure contradictions and tensions in our everyday lives. She uses interactive technologies to represent complex interspecies relationships and to create links between her installations and sound and music practices. McKeough consistently works from a feminist perspective, and her recent work focuses on the environmental impacts of land development and the industrial extraction of natural resources. This recent work demonstrates her desire to use sound to create a rhythmic voice of agency and empathy to articulate forces of resistance in the natural world.

McKeough’s work has been featured in Radio Rethink: Art Sound and Transmission (Banff Centre for the Arts, 1994), Caught in the Act: An Anthology of Performance Art by Canadian Women (YYZ Books, 2004), and Oh Canada (Esker Foundation, 2015). McKeough feels fortunate to have the support and assistance of her friends and community to produce her work.

Dylan McHugh is a Vancouver-based interdisciplinary artist and periodic curator. He received his formal education in visual art at ECUAD and NSCAD University and is one of the founding members of the artist collective DRIL.

McHugh has exhibited in Canada and internationally. Recent exhibitions include: What are our Supports: Re-grounding the Footnotes (Or Gallery), Measure Of Light (Dynamo Arts Association), Thru The Trapdoor (On Main Gallery) and Western (Kamloops Art Gallery). Recent curatorial projects include Re-grounding the Footnotes Sonic Response (Or Gallery), CinemaShine (Bestway Studios), Stoned Soup (Western Front) and The Drag (LIVE2011).


Sunday 12:00 PM – 5:00 PM
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Tuesday 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Wednesday 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Thursday 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Friday 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Saturday 12:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Closed on statutory holidays.

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Richmond Cultural Centre
7700 Minoru Gate
Richmond, BC  V6Y 1R8
Canada Line Station: Richmond-Brighouse


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