Gladys Reeves Garden Room (Archived Land : Terrain Archivé) group exhibit

Jackson Power Gallery, Edmonton, Alberta

14 to 29 September 2018

Exhibit description

Land holds memory: layered, fragmented, buried, or strongly etched.  It represents identity and connection to our own history and to those who came before us; a narrative landscape that intersects human experience and the natural world.

The gallery’s layout of separate but interconnected rooms forms an environment for individual artist’s interpretation of the theme, providing the visitor with the perception of movement through time and place.

Gallery artists: BELLE // MONDO, Paddy Lamb, Sydney Lancaster, Marlena Wyman

Gladys Reeves Garden Room – paintings and installation by Marlena Wyman

As a long-time archivist and now Edmonton’s Historian Laureate, my art practice is informed by history, and my rural Alberta upbringing provides me with a deep connection to land.

My installation is an homage to early Edmontonian Gladys Reeves. Among her many achievements, one of her most significant contributions to Edmonton was her tireless advocacy for the beautification of our city and the preservation of the natural beauty its ravines and river valley.

In 1924 Gladys became the first woman to hold the position of President of the Edmonton Horticultural and Vacant Lots Garden Association. She was instrumental in the formation of the Edmonton Tree Planting Committee in [1923], and served as Secretary and one of its most active members. Many of Edmonton’s mature trees that grace our boulevards today and thanks to the efforts of Gladys and her committee.

Gladys advocated for Edmonton as a City Beautiful and defended Edmonton’s ravines and river valley from development. She campaigned to restore these green spaces, which were being used for garbage dumps. She spurred Edmontonians to citizen action in clean-up campaigns and she avidly furthered the work of earlier programs to plant gardens in vacant lots.

Gladys Reeves died in Edmonton on April 26, 1974 at the age of 83, but much of her legacy of green remains.

Background information for the exhibit from the Provincial Archives of Alberta: Gladys Reeves fonds #PR1974.0173, the City of Edmonton Archives: Office of City Commissioners fonds #RG11 and Edmonton Horticultural Society fonds #MS-89, and Kathryn Chase Merrett’s book “Why Grow Here: Essays on Edmonton’s Gardening History”.

I would like to thank the Edmonton Historical Board and the Edmonton Heritage Council for their support.