For Peter Bradley, an artist residency meant the chance to focus on writing and pursue his goal to write every day.
Bradley, who came to the ranch from Juneau, Alaska, has been researching a historiography of herring. “I’m interested in how the vast collective knowledge that people have about herring is represented and how it’s reduced and how it’s lost and how it’s kind of overpowered by dominant knowledge systems that aren’t necessarily the smartest knowledge systems,” he said.
This is his first artist residency, although he is quite familiar with its benefits. “I’ve worked for a couple of residencies, so I am a believer in residency. I’ve seen artists come to residencies and thrive, and get things done that they didn’t imagine doing, and have a level of productivity that they’ve never had before, and I’ve seen artists work really well together.”
He hadn’t given much thought to doing a residency, but then was nominated for the one here.
“I imagined exploring certain threads about Oregon. The focus of my herring work is in Alaska. The secondary focus is in B.C., and the third focus is anywhere else where there have been herring or any other forage fish populations that may have been indiscriminately slayed in recent decades or centuries—and Oregon is one such place,” Bradley said.
The first commercial fishery in Alaska was started by a thieving land agent who lived in Oregon and made his fortune by reselling the same land parcel. “I was interested in following that thread a little bit,” he said. A residency at Pine Meadow Ranch also presented an ideal place to connect with others about ecological themes, Bradley added.
“A lot of what I’m looking at is, in regard to herring, it’s about how people use places,” he said. “A few places are named after herring, but they’re no longer herring there. And it’s because that place has had different people who’ve come through in the last century and a half and have used it in different ways and have transformed it in different ways. So there’s the wheel turning.”
Bradley will share his work with a few guests who will visit during an open studio event, and he’ll be one of the jurors in a community haiku project sponsored by Pine Meadow Ranch Center for Arts and Agriculture, The Roundhouse Foundation and Portland based-artist Alisha Sullivan. “Thoughts on Living: Community Haiku,” invited Sisters community members of all ages to submit haiku poetry. Selections will be projected in lights on locations in town during the weekend of the Sisters Folk Festival, September 30 through October 2. The project focuses on how words connect us and how poetry can capture the universal experiences of community, coexistence and connection to place.
As for Bradley, being on the receiving end of an artist residency is paying off. “I’m having such an awesome time getting writing done here,” he said.