Bronzed sprouted potatoes and 91 dried chicken feet dangling from a barn board are past forms of Perry Rath's art.
Now he is on a Patient Quest, heavily influenced by nature and trees, at Groop Gallery until October 27.
Rath, who moved to the Bulkley Valley a decade ago to settle on a quarter section, said now his focus is based in landscape.
"It's part of the landscape tradition but definitely with more of a modern take on it," said Rath. "The elements I have incorporated into it are influenced by what I do. I go on a lot of hikes in the area and I take hikes with people that are knowledgeable about geology or lichens, for instance, so those are my influences."
Rath lives on 167 aces that used to be an old Christian commune. He and his family bought the property with a few other couples.
"I just have to trot across the driveway to go to my studio," said Rath. "I am surrounded by forests, which helped develop this tree-fringe motif in a few of my pieces," said Rath. "I've always been interested in textures and previously, in some of my work, I would mix wood ashes into paint to make different textures and it's a symbolic aspect of what ash represents - when something is returned to dust - and how wood is reduced to ash and how we burn wood to heat our homes, so I did a lot of pieces with ash."
In 2004 Rath had an installation at the Two Rivers Gallery where there were 91 dried chicken feet dangling from an old barn board.
"That got a lot of attention," said Rath, who has also cast sprouted potatoes in bronze as part of his art.
Rath does collaborations with other artists in different fields. He has an ongoing collaboration with a dancer and every two years they do a show that features human movement in art and look for contributions from others in the community.
Rath is a Smithers high school art teacher and asks his senior students to contribute to his collaborative art.
"A lot of my work in this exhibit has to do with memory and a sense of time, the passage of time and people's own reflection on where they've been or on events that have happened to them at certain locations," Rath explained. "So lots of this work has to do with personal story but also just historical and cultural and natural life cycles and events that have left an imprint on the landscape. So basically I am trying to tie together the internal landscape with the external landscape and how humans try to make sense of the land."
The Groop gallery is open Fridays from noon to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.