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The Work of Art Podcast

Episode 1:
Rita McKeough

November 2020


Welcome to The Work of Art Podcast. For our first episode, we share our artist talk with Alberta-based artist, Rita McKeough, held on July 21, 2019. McKeough discusses her exhibition, dig as deep as the darkness (hyperlink), which exhibited at the Richmond Art Gallery in the summer of 2019. The artist offers an overview of past works, giving us insight to the works and process that ultimately led to dig as deep as the darkness. 

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Banner Image: Rita McKeough, dig as deep as the darkness, 2018 Photographer: Michael Love

Credit: Rita McKeough, dig as deep as the darkness, 2018 Photographer: Michael Love

In the artist talk, McKeough explains her use of sound, video and interactive objects to build a realistic picture of the complex relationship between land and human development, and focuses on the impact these changes have on non-human species. She considers the experience of vulnerability in the environment and the possibility of forced resistance by the natural world, questioning people’s ethical and social relationship with the natural world.

Credit: Rita McKeough, Veins, 2016, courtesy of the artist.

Credit: Rita McKeough, tender, 2015, courtesy of the artist.

Credit: Rita McKeough, “H”, 2014, courtesy of the artist.

The Calgary-artist takes a more playful manner when it comes to her work and getting the message across. When creating dig as deep as the darkness, McKeough referred to her previous works – Veins (2016), tender (2015), and “H” (2014), where the works undergo intense conditions. The tensions of these works references the urgency of situating the chaos created by human greed to expand and extract resources that are vital to the environment. 

McKeough often turns to materials she uses as a form of conversation towards the audience. In dig as deep as the darkness, she hopes through the transformation of the gallery, it allows the audience to move through the work and immerse themselves into the perspective of the animals. 

Credit: Rita McKeough, dig as deep as the darkness (installation detail), 2019. Photo by Michael Love.

Credit: Rita McKeough, dig as deep as the darkness (installation detail), 2019. Photo by Michael Love.

dig as deep as the darkness was the first in a two part series of exhibitions. It was preceded by, darkness is as deep as the darkness is, curated by Jacqueline Bell and presented at the Walter Phillips Gallery, Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, from February 1 to May 31, 2020. 

Read CanadianArt’s Interview with Rita McKeough about “darkness is as deep as the darkness is”

Above: Rita McKeough, Photo by Krista Bell, courtesy of the Banff Centre. 

Rita McKeough is a Calgary-based interdisciplinary artist, musician and educator whose practice consists of installation and performance. Her work consists of working with audio, electronics, and mechanical performing objects. Mckeough holds a BFA from the University of Calgary and a MFA at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. Her 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.

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