Shadow Ecology

Featuring artwork by Heather McCaig and Emily Phillips

In the gallery from August 4 – October 2, 2021

Virtual Exhibition: extended to October 31, 2021.

Virtual exhibition created by Matt Cripps.

Shadow Ecology was chosen to represent New Brunswick in the 2021 Frankfurt Book Fair’s Guest of Honour visual arts program – details below.


About the Exhibition

On Saturday, August 7, at 2:00 p.m., AX will celebrate our newest exhibition with our first in-person event in the gallery since the onset of the pandemic. Shadow Ecology pairs Heather McCaig’s sculpted glass and Emily Phillips’ paintings, creating an enchanting exhibition inspired by our diverse and fragile ecosystems. 

Shadow ecology refers to instances when resources are stripped in one area (usually rural) and moved/sold to another area (usually urban). The place where the resources originated feels the negative impact of the loss, or “shadow”, while the city or place that is receiving the resources doesn’t see the environmental damage sustained in the process.  

Heather McCaig’s glass draws attention to Canada’s disappearing ecosystems, environs that are quickly becoming shadows on our landscapes due to human disturbance. Her detailed works feature native flora and fauna from each region and bring the country’s ecosystems together in one room, allowing the viewer to recognize that, by losing these crucial ecosystems, we are losing ourselves. 

Emily Phillips’ paintings help people connect with beloved wild places in the Fundy region. She aims to evoke in her viewers the same attachments she feels to these places, along with an appreciation for their intrinsic value and continued conservation.

On Friday, August 20, at 2:00 p.m., we will host a talk featuring the artists in the gallery. The one-hour, in person talk will provide more insight into the work of the two artists, their artistic practice, and how they came together to put forward this exhibition that’s inspired by our diverse and fragile ecosystems

Thanks to the New Brunswick Department of Tourism, Heritage and Culture for their support of these exhibitions.


About the Artists

Heather McCaig is a flameworked glass artist from Ontario, who now lives near Sussex, New Brunswick. Heather is entirely self-taught and at the forefront of flameworked fine art in Atlantic Canada. Through her work, she hopes to portray the fragility of our natural world and inspire a need for its protection. Heather has received a scholarship to the Pittsburgh Glass Center in the United States and support from the New Brunswick Arts Board through their Creation Grant, Career Development Grant Program and an Arts Infrastructure Grant for New and Emerging Artists. Find Heather online: www.heathermccaig.com Instagram/Facebook: @heathermccaig.glass

Emily Phillips is a landscape painter originally from Baltimore, Maryland. After moving to New Brunswick in 2010, she developed a strong connection to the Bay of Fundy region’s landscapes and built an artistic practice based on this inspiration. Primarily painting in oils, Emily’s training is the result of a decade of self-directed exploration. Find Emily Online: www.emilyphillipsart.com Instagram / Facebook: @emily.phillips.art 


October 15, 2021 – “Shadow Ecology” featured at Frankfurt Book Fair

AX is proud to announce some great news about Shadow Ecology, featuring New Brunswick artists Heather McCaig and Emily Phillips. The NB Department of Tourism, Heritage and Culture, as well as Heritage Canada, selected AX’s virtual exhibition, Shadow Ecology, to represent New Brunswick at the Frankfurt Book Fair, arguably the largest book fair in the world. Each year, the fair selects a country to be their Guest of Honour, and Canada is the 2020/2021 honouree. As part of the event, which sees thousands of visitors, the Frankfurt Book Fair highlights the arts and culture sector of the Guest of Honour country, and a visual arts exhibition is part of that celebration. This year, due to the pandemic, the visual arts component was moved online. 

The Shadow Ecology virtual exhibition was selected to represent New Brunswick because of the quality of the artwork as well as the quality of the virtual presentation. Congratulations to the following artists: Emily Phillips and Heather McCaig, whose work is featured in the exhibition; Matt Cripps, AX’s Ceramics Centre Coordinator and professional ceramics artist, who created the exhibition on our virtual software and photographed Emily Phillips’ paintings; and Colin Swift, the photographer who documented Heather McCaig’s flame worked glass pieces.

It’s a feather in our cap as a community cultural centre to represent the province in this way, and it’s a silver lining of the pandemic – we had been toying with the idea of purchasing virtual exhibition software, and in 2020, when we wanted to increase people’s opportunity to see our exhibitions despite the pandemic, one of our summer students, Shelby Dunfield, researched and found us the software that we’re using to create our virtual exhibitions.

We have a great team at AX, and we’re privileged to work with the talented artists in our province, as well as the department of Tourism, Heritage and Culture, which funded the Shadow Ecology exhibition and put it forward to Heritage Canada for consideration. Congratulations to all.

Jane Simpson

Executive and Artistic Director, AX