Think back to your childhood and the days when finding a few branches and a secluded corner of the backyard might lead to building a fort.
Perhaps you even ventured further afar, to an abandoned lot, into the forest, or some other place away from home, to build a secret retreat using whatever materials you were able to find – branches, discarded plywood, a wooden palette, broken household items, or even a large cardboard box.
It is this sort of memory that is the starting point for Kelowna-based artist Dylan Ranney’s most recent artistic undertaking. His installation, Refuge, is currently on view in the outdoor courtyard space at the Kelowna Art Gallery.
The artist has constructed a number of raised beds that contain over 100 different species of plants including: Egyptian papyrus, banana trees, Roma tomatoes, vines and multitude of different flowers.
The plants were selected by the artist for their visual aesthetic with the help of a local horticultural expert. The beds form a pathway that leads to a large pod-like structure at the heart of the space. It has been created from natural materials that have been harvested locally, including a variety of willow, grapevine, and other shoots. Ranney has woven these materials together to form a round fort-like enclosure with two entrances and a port-like window opening.
Visitors may wish to enjoy a space where they can get away from the noise and have a moment of peace, or they may choose to reflect on what the idea of refuge might mean now, with the need for sanctuary from ongoing conflicts around the world.
Dylan Ranney is a local artist who works primarily in painting and sculpture. He received his BFA from UBC Okanagan in 2013. His work has been shown in both solo and group exhibitions throughout the Okanagan.