By Melissa Jameson, Special to the Review
When was the last time you received a letter in the mail? For many people, hand-written letters are a lost medium, replaced by quick emails, chats and text messages.
Using letters sent to and from Mudry, as well as letters sourced from family and friends, the exhibit explores the stories behind written communication using a variety of mediums including paintings, framed letters, and collages. It also includes a writing desk where viewers are invited to become participants in the exhibition by choosing to either write a letter or post card to someone they know or one to be included in future exhibitions.
The idea for the project came from Mudry’s own thoughts about why people no longer write letters.
“I started wondering why people don’t write letters anymore. We used to wait at the mailbox for the mail to come,” she said.
It goes beyond that, Mudry said, to wondering about the envelopes and the stamps.
“From there it grew into Written Connections,” she said. “It’s about the whole process. Where the stamp came from. Where the letters had to travel before finally getting to the recipient.”
Mudry said the move towards texting, messenger, and email has led to a more abrupt form of written communication.
“Even with email we’ve seen it evolve. People used to sit down and write an email like a letter,” she said. “There’s a lot of abbreviation with text and messenger. It seems like there is less time spent on communicating. With a letter it was more than the written word. You could see how people were feeling when they wrote the letter by the pressure of the pen on the paper. You could see if they were writing fast or slow.”
It’s a project that has been in the works for Mudry over the past four years, and one that is still growing; she has telegraphs given to her by a great aunt she has yet to add into the project.
She also recently discovered an interesting letter project involving Christmas Island, Nova Scotia.
“You can mail your Christmas letters to Christmas Island in Nova Scotia, then they will put a special mark on it and then mail it to its intended recipient,” she said. “It’s a growing project, it’s neat doing the research to see what pops up.”
Mudry said the message behind the exhibit is about the importance of getting back to the idea of more thoughtful communication.
“It’s an important message. Getting back to that idea of communication as opposed to quick communication,” she said. “With Written Connections I see the piece growing over time from its humble installation beginnings to include more active participation from the viewers and web presence encouraging letter writing around the country and the globe.”
Written Connections will be on display at the Revelstoke Visual Arts Centre beginning Friday, June 30. Also on display is a member’s exhibit called Canada Is…, in which local artists reflect on what Canada means to them; All in a Day by Memory Uglene, and Art Every Day, by Lucie Bergeron.