Watershed is a presentation of bio-regional art grounded in the artist’s immediate environment. The first development in the Ghost Passages of the McKenzie Shipyard series, these images are taken by McMenemy and transformed into visual references of a once thriving environment. Bolts of bright color have been inserted into each vignette, reviving it with a second life – another chance to have meaning and purpose. These spaces that would otherwise be overlooked in their original state are restored and retold.
The vibrancy of these colors represents a residual energy left behind in the space. Loosely laid on top of a muted and faded backdrop, this contrast illustrates the push and pull between what the shipyard once was and the desolate landscape it is today. In some cases, the technicolor seems to drip off the painting – clinging desperately to rusted and broken walls.
McMenemy describes her experience and documentation of the area as haunting but hopeful. “I could tell that the industry struggled with the changing of times. Repairs were neglected, the methods seemed antiquated and yet I could feel the passage of people that have come through here. I could see their struggle and their strength; their ability to hold themselves above the water when life became challenging.”
The stories of the shipyards are salvaged in McMenemy’s work, their energy resonates through the pieces. An energy that is not without tension and anxiety, however as upon closer reflection, the brightly colored segments juxtapose the serene backgrounds upon which they integrated. A deep crimson red ominously spills across the sky in Shipyard #1. The same red appears on a door in Shipyard #7, beckoning to be opened. The color transcends the panel's surface and serves as a memento for an industry that birthed a community.
McMenemy unearths these stories from the ruins in order to show that the past shapes our current collective identity. Their legacy lives on in the artwork.
1992 Queen’s University, BA, Film Studies
2018 Songs of the Smoke, South Main Gallery, Vancouver, BC
2016 Ghost Passages of the McKenzie Shipyards, Vancouver Maritime Museum, Vancouver, BC
2016 Arts in View, Blueshore Financial, North Vancouver, BC
2015 Arts in View, Blueshore Financial, North Vancouver, BC
2013 Drive By, Tartooful Gallery, North Vancouver, BC
2017 Parker Art Salon, Vancouver, BC
2017 Winter Showcase, South Main Gallery, Vancouver, BC
2016 Eastside Culture Crawl, Vancouver, BC
2012 Fire, Kay Meek Centre, West Vancouver, BC
2011 The Space In Between, Atta Glanz Productions &
Emmanuelle Renard, Vancouver, BC
2012–2014 Artist in Residence, Four Seasons, Vancouver, BC
2011–2013 Art Teacher, Coast Resource Centre, Vancouver, BC
2011 Artist in Residence, Artemis Gallery, Deep Cove, BC
Tracy McMenemy is a mixed media artist, working to blur the line between photography and painting. Her work introduces an ongoing conversation between the two mediums, presenting their distinctions and similarities in innovative ways.
At first glance, one cannot grasp what processes, materials and techniques McMenemy uses in her work. It is this uncertainty in the viewer that the artist attempts to capture with her distinct style across her various bodies of work.
“Photographs absorb, while paintings produce. My photographs absorb the detail, while my paintings produce an abstraction. By pushing these realities together within the same frame, I attempt to create a powerful tension between the two.” The materiality of photography is heightened with McMenemy’s treatment of the photograph. Transferring the image onto a readymade surface, she begins this painstaking process by first removing the photographic paper using steel wool – strategically leaving behind selections of the paper to create a variance in texture.
Painting, drawing, and ink are then applied with the same mark making techniques practiced in traditional painting. As a young girl, McMenemy embraced the green rolling hills of Northern Ireland, the dense forests of England and the lakeside habitat of Ontario, Canada. Although her relationships with family and friends were severed migrating from country to country, her connection to place gave her a sense of belonging. These early years were instrumental in forming the artist she is today, fueling her love and attraction to the natural landscape. McMenemy has a variety of private and corporate collectors in Toronto, Los Angeles, New York, Belfast, and Vancouver. She currently splits her time between her studio in Vancouver and her mountain home on the coast of North Vancouver.