Niagara This Week article

From scraps to ships

Arts Place exhibit reflects area’s relationship
with water, Welland Canal

ntw boat show photo copyLuke Edwards/staff photo

Port Colborne artist Doug Carter has a new exhibit at Arts Place Gallery. Using pieces of scrap he found travelling around south Niagara he’s assembled the pieces into artworks reflecting the area’s relationship with water and the Welland Canal.

Port Colborne Leader, Aug 22, 2013

By Luke Edwards

Doug Carter has learned how to make something from nothing.

The Port Colborne artist currently has an exhibit up at Arts Place Gallery in Port Colborne. Using the process of assemblage, Carter has created a myriad of pieces of artwork from nothing more than the things he’s found lying on the ground. The pieces can be anything, from a busted piece of plywood to a bicycle reflector to nuts and bolts or pieces of wire he’s found strewn about.

Some of his favourite finds are broken pieces of automobile headlights or broken CDs.

“I like the way they throw the light around,” he said.

Pieces can be found anywhere, and Carter said he picks up anything that seems interesting. He’s found items right in the city, but quite often finds things that end up on the beach along the shores of Lake Erie. He’s found many things after going out for a bike ride after a big storm.

Always collecting these items, Carter then pieces them together to create art. The pieces can take on two- or three-dimensional shapes, and for Carter, his pieces represent the area in which he found them.

“The visual impact of living in Port Colborne, a block from Lock 8 and its constant parade of boats, as well as the close proximity to the harbour, Gravelly Bay and Lake Erie, provides one with a kaleidoscope of visual impressions and creative ideas,” he said.

Carter lives near the Welland Canal, and said he can look out his front door and see the ships going by. But, like anyone who lives near the canal can attest to, you don’t see the ships in their entirety.

“I look down the end of my driveway and see big massive, chunks of boat go by,” he said.

Carter moved to Niagara in 2005. He lived in Wainfleet for a while, before moving to Port Colborne in 2007. He’s been an artist most of his life and said when he came to the area and got to know local artists he found out how influential the canal, as well as the two Great Lakes and various rivers that span Niagara, are to the regional art scene.

“There are a lot of great canal painters here,” he said.

And while Carter has painted himself – he said he likes to try all different types of art to keep the learning process going – using the assemblage technique was something unique. With few artists who use the process in the area, he said his art stands out.

Earlier this year he worked with the Niagara Artists Centre and was challenged to create art from items he picked up at the St. Catharines Flea Market. Over the course of a couple of months Carter picked up enough to create some pieces, and said he had more than a few heads turn when he showed them off.

“Kids would stop their families (to show them),” he said.

Carter’s exhibit will be up at Arts Place until Sept. 15. The gallery is open Thursday to Friday, from noon to 4:30 p.m.

Those who can’t make it out to Arts Place can still check out some of Carter’s work online, at, where a slideshow of some of the pieces featured is available for viewing.

Arts Place is located at 714 King St. in Port Colborne.

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