ART | ENVIRONMENT | LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE
Lesia Mokrycke is a sculptor, painter, environmental artist and landscape designer known for her multi-media installations, public projects and performance collaborations. Her early work was strongly influenced by the dramatic landscapes of her youth in Northern Ontario and the Hamilton-Niagara. Lesia’s multi-disciplinary approach to art and landscape architecture is guided by a clear desire to make creative, poetic, and contemplative spaces that bring people into closer contact with the environment. Her designs mediate liminal territory between art and science, city and forest, earth and sky, while going beyond disciplinary and perceived geographic boundaries.
In her words, “themes of connection, journey, and exchange are always about finding ways to restore broken histories. While searching for what can become emergent, I focus on human stories and bringing relationships with water, memory, and time into greater focus.”
Mokrycke began her work in art, architecture, and the city as a sophomore at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts when she completed her first large-scale public art project, a mural titled Old Growth. In this first project, Mokrycke reimagines a building as a stand of deciduous forest that once occupied downtown Hamilton.
The environment, human experience, and urban life have always been a central focus for Mokrycke, who often works with manmade materials in her installations to visualize environmental phenomena, such as in Rain. She has since built the foundation for a career in art and landscape architecture that explores geographic phenomena, while focusing on critical issues of landscape, time, and cultural identity in contemporary culture.
In studying natural systems Mokrycke’s art raises awareness about environments that have been altered by urban development, setting up a logistical organization of the landscape that visualizes ecological patterns, tethering human movement to time, memory, and history. Her interest in scale, plants, geology, and the flow of water in the Niagara region have led to works that emphasize the sculptural, living, and experiential qualities of the land.
Mokrycke’s multi-disciplinary installations are abstract, colorful meditations on time and space that are influenced by feminist art and her early training as a painter. Her works have been featured in Canadian contemporary venues such as Nuite Blanch, where she designed a multi-media sound and video installation, Choros (dance), that uses sensors to trigger a physical response from the people who enter the space, setting up a dialogue between ephemera, the body and architecture that underwrites many of her environmental public works. Mokrycke's public projects often incorporate members of the public as part of the creative process, such as in the Nikkei Interment Memorial in British Columbia in 2018, where the community's stories became an integral part of the memorial design.
In a world that is inundated by virtual stimuli, landscapes are the tangible places of experience and connection - both for ourselves and with other forms of life. Mokrycke's installations immerse viewers in an atmosphere of color, light and sound that is responsive to the particularities of the places where she works, projecting outward from the body and breath to the climate, condensation and rain. Her experimental works take shape as empathic conversations between architecture and phenomena, exploring forms of making in landscape at the scale and rhythm of the body.
In 2019 Mokrycke began work on a multidisciplinary urban design and public engagement project that explores relationships between water, infrastructure, and ecology, emphasizing how raising awareness about natural systems can connect people with critically sensitive ecosystems, while encouraging habitat restoration and mitigating climate change.