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An online Exhibit by Monica Lacey ~ Part 2

Monica Lacey continues her story with her visual works and words…

(If you missed Part 1, click here).

 Curiousity: a love letter to abandoned houses, digital composite, 2013
© monica lacey 2009-2013 all rights reserved
I am currently working on a large installation project for Art in the Open, a local outdoor art festival held in August.  I'm creating an outdoor installation of an abandoned house, but minus the walls, roof and floor.  So the space, in the woods of Victoria Park here in Charlottetown, will be delineated by hanging windows, doors, and furniture.  I'm making personal item-type things to have around the 'rooms,' but the furniture and other materials I'm using are almost exclusively salvaged.  

I've had a fascination with/attraction to abandoned houses for years - I have photographed and explored hundreds of them.  I'm interested in the curiosity that drives this exploration, why I/we want to look through someone else's discarded stuff; in the stories or fragments of stories one might find if one explores...I've come to believe that places and objects have their own feelings and experiences, so expressing that will be a part of the piece as well.  This installation will be a whole new thing for me because I'll be constructing the 'house' rather than simply discovering it…building a kind of love letter to these houses I've known.  It's going to be the largest project I've ever done, which is very exciting.

  the haunted mind (your thoughts exhaust you 
installation view, mixed media, 2012
© monica lacey 2009-2013 all rights reserved
I grew up studying dance - ballet, jazz, modern - and my husband, Devon, has a background in Capoeira and Contact Improv Dance.  We both love to move and dance and we found there were no opportunities in Charlottetown, as adults, for dancing other than going out to a bar.  
We wanted to create an atmosphere that was safe, encouraging, and inspiring for people to come together, express themselves freely, and experiment with different kinds of movement, (for instance using a verbal prompt to begin a series of movements such as "you've lost something tiny and are trying to find it while in a rush").  

We began in 2011, and we run our sessions weekly during the winter.  
Our focus is on the enjoyment of dancing/creative movement for the sake of it and on intuitive/spontaneous choreography as a group - there is no performance aspect to the group.

prairieskies, digital composite, 2013
© monica lacey 2009-2013 all rights reserved

I did a three week residency in April at this amazing place called Elsewhere (  It was so inspiring and energizing there - I have such a love for materials and for infusing objects and places with meaning, and that's what Elsewhere is all about.  

There were some completely new experiences for me, such as the interactivity with the public while you work on your project, and also I had a whole team of curators to consult with, which was an absolute luxury!  My fellow artists-in-residence were doing work that was very different from mine, and it's always great to be around people with totally different ideas from your own.  

The whole experience pushed me forward in my practice in ways that I'm really excited about and I came home with a long list of new ideas for future projects.  Residencies are great opportunities for inspiration, and I feel, really important to the development of my career as an artist - my hope/plan is to do one a year for the rest of my life.

  afternoon in volterra, digital photograph, 2008
© monica lacey 2009-2013 all rights reserved

I think community engagement is the bare minimum - we should all be engaging with our communities in an active way!  I believe in getting involved, especially in things that resonate with what you do and what you love.  So for me, where I can be of service to my community is through the arts, and I do that when and where possible.  

Right now I'm in my second year of teaching an art course two days a week at a Senior Citizen's day program, I'm on the board of this town is small (PEI's artist-run centre), and standing for nomination to the board of the Island Media Arts Coop.  In the winter I do the [aforementioned] dance collective, lead a short fiction writing group for the PEI Writer's Guild, and last winter I ran a monthly discussion group for artists that I hope to continue in the future.  I volunteer my time and donate artwork for fundraisers in the community on a pretty regular basis as well.  I'm also a semi-retired Kundalini Yoga Teacher, and on occasion I offer workshops exploring/recovering creativity via Yoga and meditation.

  Path, Fundy National Park, New Brunswick,
digital photograph, 2008
© monica lacey 2009-2013 all rights reserved

I feel like I have a long way to go before I'm an established artist!  I'm pretty fresh out of

school and feel like I'm still finding my voice with my work.  I certainly hope that I never stop experimenting, but I think I need at least a few more years under my belt before I would classify myself as established.   I got started on this career path a bit late in my life, though I think I'm making up for lost time!  I would love to return to school in the next few years and complete an MFA - not for the credentials so much as I'm attracted to the rigor it would bring to my practice.

 daffodils, watercolour on hot press paper, 2013
© monica lacey 2009-2013 all rights reserved

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