Cullen Bingeman – 2021 Riding Mountain Artists’ Residency

While in residence at Riding Mountain National Park, visual artist Cullen Bingeman plans to explore the park, then create drawings in response to his daily experiences during his stay at the Deep Bay cabin.

For Cullen, the Riding Mountain Artists’ Residency presents a respite and opportunity to reflect on the challenges of urban life while sitting precariously on the edge of a fragile wilderness.

“I’m intrigued by how the park encapsulates so many relevant aspects of human experience,” he said. “It is a beacon of environmental conservation and yet it is challenged by development from both outside and from within.”

In his practice, Cullen explores what he calls “Tacit drawing”, inviting guests to silent drawing sessions in his studio. In these sessions, he lays out various sized cut papers, brushes, paper towels and inkwells that look like dinner place mat settings. He offers his guests a place at his drawing table, sets a timer, and the drawing begins. After an initial introduction, a silent conversation rooted in visual communication unfolds between the participants.

“I incorporated this exercise into my show ‘Tacitility’ by holding drawing sessions in the gallery throughout the week,” said Cullen. “Some of the most meaningful interactions I have had about art were through these silent communications with people I didn’t know anything about. I like to imagine that these events were an exceptional experience shared between us.”

While current social distancing restrictions prevent in-person tacit drawing sessions, Cullen believes his time at the Deep Bay Cabin may still be a great opportunity to explore the participatory elements of his practice.

“The clear lake community provides a dynamic opportunity for a conversation about how we are seeing and feeling in a time when we are challenged to find creative ways to connect with each other,” said Cullen. “During my residency, I will draw in and around the cabin space while finding safe ways to engage the community through the medium of drawing. This is an experimental activity that presents the possibility for unknown kinds of exchanges with surprising results.”

The Riding Mountain Artists’ Residency is offered in partnership by the Manitoba Arts Council and Riding Mountain National Park. The residency takes place in the Deep Bay cabin, a recognized federal heritage building originally used as a base for the Royal Canadian Air Force’s floatplane forest fire patrols.

Since its restoration in 2006, the cabin has welcomed over 100 artists in dance, music, theatre, literary, visual and media arts, who create and share their work with audiences in the park and surrounding area.

Interested in the staying in the Deep Bay cabin? Find out how to apply to the Riding Mountain Artists Residency through the Manitoba Arts Council’s Learn – Residencies program. Apply by November 1, 2021 for a residency in the summer of 2022.