installation shots

I’m sorry, this post is ridiculously late. It’s been a year since my exhibition went up. But here are a few installation shots for anyone who was once curious and too far away to see it in person. It was a fantastic opportunity.

Also, I have catalogues available for $15 plus shipping.





Last week, after another fresh snowfall (although we’re getting nothing like the East Coast), I noticed how the skeletons of last summer’s Queen Anne’s Lace flowers held cups of fluffy white snow.

It was my Grandma Ruth who first showed them to me and told me their name. I was probably seven years old and on one of my annual summer visits with her, all by my big-girl self. She lived on Wonderland Road and the mall was just down the road from her. When I was a kid, there was a vacant lot we crossed on our way there, and that’s where all the Queen Anne’s Lace was.

I thought it was the most beautiful flower I had ever seen.

I stopped seeing its beauty as a teenager, when the flower just was’t showy enough. The petals were so tiny and pale and there was so much space between them. And I was into Doc Martens, not lace! As a young adult, I developed a passion for native plant gardening and Queen Anne’s Lace went even lower in my esteem: it’s not native.

But the other day, holding its cup of white, its beauty was renewed for me.

When I was 21, I dated a man who was 38. He seemed like such a grown-up to me. For some reason I thought of him today and realized with a shock that I am now the age he was when he dated me. I hate those kinds of shocks. I don’t feel grown-up at all. Or maybe it’s that I don’t want to.

But there are benefits to growing older. My idealism is as strong as ever, but nothing is ever simple for me anymore. Some details are not as important as they once were. There are nuances and complexities so that my world is all grey. (Some days I can’t even decide what’s for dinner because the pros and cons of the options are so hard to weigh out.) Except when things like that Queen Anne’s Lace holds something so fresh and pure white, and I think of my Grandma Ruth and the smell of that hot vacant lot in summer and the warmth of her constant love for me.

Two nights ago I gave my artist talk… my first one ever, really. I mean, I’ve spoken for a few minutes at other exhibitions but this one was half an hour, properly prepared and with slides and everything. I was terrified for most of the week before, when I let myself think about it. But I think it went well… I was way less nervous than I expected, the audience was kind and they asked lots of good questions after.

Then I got home and after the rush of dinner and herding kids into bed, I finally sat down on the couch. For the first time since September I have no particular deadlines for projects. I have a quilt I’m working on for Eldest and I want to sew some other things for the kids, but I don’t feel any pressure beyond a vague anxiety from this relatively open schedule.

I made a few pictures last fall involving medicinal plants… I was thinking about how some herbalists believe that medicinal plants grow where they’re most needed. So perhaps dandelions, which are known for their detoxifying properties, proliferate in urban and suburban areas because we need some help managing the toxins.

This is goldenrod… its latin genus name means “to make whole.”

Comfrey salve

Apparently Queen Anne’s Lace is also a cleansing agent. I just looked it up now and what I had never noticed is that it has a red flower in its middle, said to symbolize the blood from a prick of Queen Anne’s finger.

of dreams and other things

Last night I dreamed of Kiss My Ashlinn. I dreamed she was still alive. She still had incurable lung cancer, but she was living. Boy, was she living. I dreamed she had lived long past even the most optimistic prognoses and she was shocking all her doctors. She was even skating! And she wasn’t on oxygen anymore.

That’s all I can remember, but it was the kind of dream you wake up happy from, and you wish it wasn’t just a dream.

* * *

My book went to press today, so it should be on time for the book launch on Feb. 24. I’m very excited about it. It was a very collaborative effort and I’m super excited that it’s more of a book in its own right than a catalogue of the exhibition per se.


last night

This morning, I have to admit, was a bit of a letdown. My youngest woke me up, as usual, although at least this morning he didn’t do it by yelling “WAKE UP!” over and over again in my ear. He just slithered out of bed and I heard him putting his little toilet seat in the toilet. A few minutes later he came back into my room; “My pants are wet.” He’d missed.

Well, that is how it goes for most artist-parents I imagine. You have an incredible evening with all kinds of friends coming out to see your years-long project come to fruition; they tolerate your three-year-old running amok through the whole gallery; strangers tell you all manner of kind things about your work. You drink one glass of wine too many and the evening screams by and next thing you know you’re home with a headache and your children are as loud as they ever were.

Maybe it’s because we homeschool, maybe it’s because my youngest is still so young and his health is a challenge. But there is a serious shortage of solitude in my life, has been for a long time, and for a while there, I thought maybe I would never make art again. But I had to finish the show, and I did.

This is probably not something people say publicly, but it was seriously amazing to see my work fill three rooms. One of the things Alec Soth said in my workshop was to start visualizing the end result of your project as early as possible. I knew I wanted an exhibition and a book, eventually. And the gallery walls I envisioned the work on was the Macdonald Stewart Art Centre. It’s so amazing that it’s up there now, nearly five years from when I started dreaming.

I’ve known for a long time that I use my camera to meet people I wouldn’t otherwise meet, to expand my community. Parenting young kids can feel pretty isolating. Especially when you’re  trying to pursue a personal project like this for no logical reason, on top of all the other obligations of family life. What I didn’t realize, and what I discovered last night, is that showing my photographs also widens my community. So many friends from so many different realms of my life came out last night, and I realized I have a lot more community than I thought. It was amazing.

It was such a whirlwind of a night that I didn’t take any pictures, except one of my kids, after the speeches and after most people had cleared out, in Kelly Richardson’s exhibition downstairs. I’ll have to go back so I can truly take in the other exhibitions, and of course for installation shots. In the meantime, I’ll leave you with this.

Thank you so much to everyone who came out. And to everyone at the gallery for making it possible and for doing such a great job hanging my show and putting all the materials together and for giving me free drink tickets!

the last week or so

There’s been some crazy stuff happening in these parts.

This is a little hard to see with the glare. How about a closer view?

Trying to figure out how to fit them all together… eventually I figured it out:

See you next Thursday at the opening?


I’ve been sitting on the most exciting news for way too long. Unofficially I’ve known for a year now, and officially it’s been eight months. I don’t know why I’ve waited, except that this space got really quiet since I went back to my day job, and I guess I just didn’t get around to it. So here’s the news…

I will be exhibiting Yes these bones shall live as a solo show at my local public gallery, the Macdonald Stewart Art Centre, opening in January 2015! And it will be accompanied by a book! I am over the moon. Last weekend I visited the gallery and stood in the rooms where my work will be, and after a brief cramp of panic in my gut, I was thrilled to imagine it.

In preparation for the show and to fund some of the printing and framing costs, I’m going to have a print sale. I plan to print two images and offer them in 11×14 size. Normally I only offer them at 16×20 or 24×30, but I realize those can be unwieldy for the average person who just wants to hang  a piece in their living room. I haven’t totally chosen the images, so if you want one, please email me (kate[at]peripheralvision[dot]ca) to let me know which one you want.

While we were there last weekend, we saw Robert Hengeveld‘s show, promised lands, a set of animated installations, which we loved. My favourite piece was called “paradise” and it was a separate room, dark, with a fake camp fire and fireflies. There was a pond with fake ducks, a record player spinning, birds that occasionally sang and moved, and an owl standing sentry in the corner, that spun its head round once in a while. A lot of it was built with cardboard, and the “forest floor” was literally carpeted – with green shag rugs. When my oldest encountered the carpet, he exclaimed, “I don’t know what this stuff is, but I LOVE it, and I want some!”

My youngest’s favourite piece was called “unbridled rein.” They both spent a long time watching it and came back again and again to it.

PS I’m on instagram now, if you’re interested.

The Lonely Parade

I’ve been wanting to get into photographing musicians for a long time. A few weeks ago, I got a chance to photograph The Lonely Parade, an emerging band of young women from Peterborough, Ontario. They have been named Emerging Artist of the Peterborough Folk Festival and they’ll be opening for one of Guelph’s best bands, The Constantines, to launch the festival in late August.

I was lucky enough to get an early copy of their new album, Sheer Luxury (yes, I’m gloating). Lucky for you, you can listen to it online.

new website!

I have a new website! Since we published it on Sunday I’ve discovered some bad links, and today I noticed that the comments on old blog posts have disappeared. So please bear with me while we sort that out. But… I have a new edit for Yes these bones shall live, which incorporates items I’ve been collecting from the derby girls for four years now. I’ve also been wanting a new site design for four years, so this is all VERY satisfying. I pulled some work down that was on my old site and added work that I hadn’t shared this way before. I will add some old work again, but I didn’t want to wait to publish the new design while we sort that out.

Please have a look around and tell me what you think.

I just discovered my work featured on a web page about Russian roller derby.

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Google Translate tells me it says:

“Canadian photographer Kate Wilhelm made ​​a series of pictures of girls playing in roller derby. The purpose of the project – to show how the match (or vice versa, contrary to) derby ladies traditional women’s behaviors, such as the behavior of women – mothers.

“All photographs are taken at home, the girls are shown with their families and children.
Kate Wilhelm talks about the idea of the project: “The idea of the project came after a good friend of mine joined the roller derby league. I saw how she spent her first Bout. From the beginning I was fascinated by this sport, especially as a woman it radiates # sexuality and aggression. I wanted to know more about women in roller derby.

“Moreover, I was intrigued to see such a large number of children at the games. Many ladies also derby moms, all their families come for the match to cheer for them. There is a widespread belief that when you become a mother, all of you right expect softness, femininity, some heat, but in any case not sexuality. You become weak, passive, you obey the demands of others, and self-sacrifice becomes your creed.

“In fact, the identity of the mother is more complex and multifaceted than the one that everyone expects to see. So what could be better than to break the stereotypes and expectations, wearing tights and mesh shorts, and take an aggressive contact sport, which is also very sexy?

“Kate has a site where you can find more work on women in roller derby.”

I think that’s super cool.