Nicole Dextras, Breath (2007), ice installation for A Night of All Souls at Mountain View Cemetery [grunt gallery, Vancouver BC, Apr 1-May 8]
Vancouver artist Nicole Dextras creates art in a multitude of media, including book arts, paper casting, public site art and photography. Although she also works with organic materials from forest and gardens and has created fantastic wearable Weedrobes, she may be best known for ice typography sculptures. Using moulds made from marquee letters and other signs, she freezes alphabet letters then sets them up to form words.
Many of her eco-installations are elegant and unique responses to environmental concerns. Others are meditative responses to her personal life experiences. The contradiction between the massive, cold, hard letters and the quietly melting shapes, often accompanied by candles and other soft lighting, is a poetic endeavour of the first order. As she puts it, They have more in common with dreams and oral stories than linear language.
Dextras has installed words like RESOURCE, VIEW and LEGACY on the Yukon River and Lake Nippissing, and in Dawson City and North Bay. Letters spelling Memoire de Glass were installed outside a Montreal Metro station, and a series of words inspired by the poetry of Pier Giorgio Di Cicco placed throughout parks in Toronto. In 2007, Dextras and friends created memorials using ice letters for A Night of All Souls celebration at Mountain View Cemetery, Vancouver. Her ice projects have ranged from small pieces with eighteen-inch high letters to seven-foot text in the Yukon.
A graduate of Emily Carr, Dextras also teaches courses there, including a course in environmental installation. For Signs of Change, Dextras is exhibiting photographs of projects from the last five years at the grunt gallery and installing new pieces on a weekly basis at different Vancouver sites during April 2010. See www.grunt.ca for updates on locations.