Michael Belmore

“My first carved stone sculpture was done in Dawson City back in 2003. The work consisted of stones gathered downstream from placer mine tailing piles. It is impossible to miss these piles driving into Dawson. Placer mining is a technique by which gold is removed from gravel using water and gravity. The dredging of the riverbeds creates barren wastelands. It was this waste material that I wanted to reutilize into art, so I decided to carve and fit together a collection of stones into a square format. The square was to represent the boundary or delineation of territory (staking land). The carved stone represented our incursion into landscape. From that I started to look at mining from my home territory. I looked at the treaties that were signed especially on the north shores of Lake Superior, such as the Robinson-Superior Treaty 1850, this is an excerpt, “nor will they at any time hinder or prevent persons from exploring or searching for mineral or other valuable productions in any part of the territory hereby ceded to Her Majesty”. So the copper is about the value that is inherent and often hidden in the land. It is a value that is both monetarily and universal. It is kinda like, what you take from the land that you are standing on, what you learn, what you share, what you have to offer.”

Works by Michael Belmore in the Transient Exhibition


Carved fitted stones, copper, gold leaf

“Convergence is the culmination of two works Placid (2011) and Flux (2010). These works stem from an experience I had standing on the rocky shores of Lake Superior. As I watched foam dance on the surface between the crashing waves, through the roar of water and wind I recall hearing the subtle clink, clink, clinking of rocks as the water receded. The same persistent action that created the continual fleeting existence of the undulating foam also informed the rounded stones strewn against the shore. Convergence reflects on the calm that exists between surging waves colliding against a shore, more specifically capturing the moment when the water is receding. It is in this place, this lull from which Convergence is inspired. Consisting of a collection of fitted stones, the work is meant to be reminiscent of the dancing foam. Working stone has been present within human cultures since the dawn of time. From subtly formed rock that served as basic food implements to sophisticated components of today’s high tech industries, the common factor is that the sources of these tools are all derived from the ground on which we stand. The carved stone represents our incursion into landscape and the copper and the gold is meant to be a reflection on the value that is inherent and often hidden in the land.

Seemingly small things, simple things, inspire my work; the swing of a hammer, the warmth of a fire, the persistence of waves on a shore. Through the insinuation of these actions, a much larger consequence is inferred. Materials have a voice, they speak a language, and they speak to each other. Water and stone have a history of conversation that extends past our human existence. Through my work I am attempting to join the conversation. Art offers a voice to speak about the past and the future, about our connection to this island and its ever-changing landscape. I can see my work, especially the stone translating into a discussion of flora both indigenous and introduced.”