The Keepers • Les Gardiens

Patricia Lortie

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Discovering Their Name — The Keepers

June 3rd, 2021 Residency — The Keepers Discovering Their Name Patricia Lortie In the end, when I saw them standing together in the studio, when I could walk amongst them and feel their strong yet gentle presence, the sculptures finally whispered their names to me. I...

Project Media

See a Keeper come together from start to finish with this video of the artist’s process.

The artist talks about the project, her process, and her experience staying in the KOAC studio over the winter.


The Project

"An installation that uses the forest as a visual metaphor to explore concepts of self and community..."

The Keepers is an installation that uses the forest as a visual metaphor to explore concepts of self and community. It is made of recycled cardboard sculptures accompanied by a video projection. It offers visitors a three-dimensional environment through which they can walk, as if in a forest.

The experience of the natural world is at the source of my artistic projects. Observing and feeling the world offers me avenues to begin to understand the human experience – both mine and ours. 

The forest, which appears to be composed of autonomous entities – the trees or the self – is in fact an interdependent community. This community shares food and information including carbon dioxide, water, defense signals and hormones. Each member contributes to its community in an essential way and is dependent upon the others. This observation is the basis for my reflection about our own sense of individual and collective identity. 

The sculptures are reminiscent of trees both in their size and their vertical curvature. The video projection introduces humans in that environment. They pass through the forest without leaving a trace – highlighting the ephemeral nature of our existence. The image projected is composed of a multitude of human bodies that move collectively in a supple wave reminiscent of the curves of the sculptures.

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"The forest, which appears to be composed of autonomous entities—the trees or the self—is in fact an interdependent community."

Each body represents an individual, the self, and the wave they form represents a community. The space occupied by each body is determined by that of its neighbors, a concept that illustrates the place of the individual in a community, the role he or she plays within it, and the limit of his or her actual autonomy. 

In this exhibition, I further explore the relationship between the concepts of community and self. The importance of asking questions about how the human species approaches individual and collective identity seems essential to me in this challenging time, a time when extreme individualism comes at a disproportionate cost to communities.

The Artist

The experience of the natural world reaches the core of my being. It opens up the connection to the mystic of being human and reminds me that I am part of an unexplainable and unbroken system.

Simple and profound earth bounding experiences shape my artistic endeavours. An afternoon laying on warm rocks while my father tries his hand at fly-fishing. The thick veil of cloud parting unexpectedly to reveal a glorious view of the surrounding summits. A quiet paddle on the surface of a mirror like lake. A slow float down the river chasing warm currents. All moments where existing in the world feel both simple and extraordinary.

In my artwork, I look for that feeling, chasing a profound connection with the world we live in. I attempt to revive the knowledge that we part of the natural system. 



Because I only feel completely satisfied when I embrace my minute yet profound place in the world.

My artwork, be it a painting, a sculpture, an installation or a community project, aims to restore awareness of our symbiotic relationship with nature. Each work provides an experience of feeling the unseen bounds that makes our existence possible; the unbreakable, undeniable bounds that we are all born into.



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