Posts Tagged ‘Douglas Coupland’

A return to St. Helens Avenue and the galleries there.

A few galleries devoted to contemporary art can be found on St. Helens Ave.  I know that I have mentioned some of their past exhibits in previous blog posts.  Exhibits change and so back we go.   The three exhibits that I saw today have little in common with each other.  Three artists with different views; three men trying to turn their thoughts and ideas into something visual.  The first gallery that I visited today is the Clint Roenisch Gallery where the exhibit is “Hot Takes, No Sax”, by Torontonian Niall McClelland.   It will be there until 21st April.

From Wiktionary: “Noun[edit]. hot take (plural hot takes). A bold, broad, and subjective moral generalization on a situation, with little or no original analysis or insight, especially by a journalist.”   Something written quickly and without much thought put into it.   Although some people associate it with journalism, you could also apply it to a lot of things online – think about the comments section after a news article, or something on your facebook or twitter feed.   Sometimes I think that that expression applies well to contemporary art – thrown together to provoke but not much actually went into it.

below: Running diagonally across the room is a line of trunks and metal cases that are covered with bumper stickers.  On the wall are 4 images, each with a black and white background.  The frames are covered with more bumper stickers.  This is only part of the exhibit.

room in an art gallery, a line of trunks runs diagonally across the room, they are covered with bumper stickers.

below: These are the three images on the wall in the photo above.  The frame on one side of the image on the left has the names of four American politicians from the not so recent past – Nixon, Goldwater, McGovern, and Carter.  Some of the images may be familiar to you as well.

three pictures on a gallery wall, in black and white checkerboard backgrounds, blue images on that. Artist is Niall McClelland

below: More of the stickers.  Is there a theme to them?  How do these relate to hot takes?   Which side is the artist on?  “Urban farmer”, “When you sit down for dinner, thank a farmer”, “Impeach Trump”, “Give a hoot”, “The times they are a changin”, “Be green”, “Bio fuels: no war required”, “Who’s your farmer?”, “I’d rather be gardening”, “Nasty woman”, “Break the chains, shop at independent stores”,  “Saving seed is a basic human need”, “Localvore”,  “Whatever happens to the water, happens to the people”, “What is the proper way to fold an anarchist flag?”

sticker covered metal cases on the floor of an art gallery with a picture on the wall behind, the work of Niall McClelland at the Clint Roenisch gallery

Next is Douglas Coupland’s “Tsunami” at Daniel Faria Gallery, until 28th April.  Trashy in a certain way.  Coupland has collected, cleaned and painted various plastic containers and other disposable items he found along the shore in British Columbia.  A number of the items probably crossed the Pacific Ocean after the earthquake and tsunami in Japan in 2011. Trash on display?  We’ve all heard the expression “reduce, reuse, recycle” which may be facetious here?  Is it too pretty to be a statement about the environmental impact of plastics?

plastic containers and other items found washed up on the shore of British Columbia, cleaned up and painted and put in sealed clear plastic boxes, art gallery exhibit, artis is Douglas Coupland

below: The large gold piece is a collection of more debris that Coupland has amassed and painted.  Another one,  all in black, is on a different wall (not shown here).

plastic containers and other items found washed up on the shore of British Columbia, cleaned up and painted and put in sealed clear plastic boxes, art gallery exhibit, artis is Douglas Coupland, with large structure behind made of gold painted containers and other items

This spring, Coupland will transform the Vancouver Aquarium into a vision of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch by filling aquarium tanks with some of the trash that Coupland has collected – by some I mean 20 tons of it.  Twenty tons of found rubbish.  Twenty tons of plastic and other debris.   Jet streams will simulate ocean currents and the garbage will “float, bounce, disperse and gather along the tank, fragments flowing into one another like an overwhelming and exhausted assemblage”.

below: Tucked away in the back room of the gallery are four paintings like this, also by Douglas Coupland.

part of a Douglas Coupland painting, with a black and white picture of a man's face in the center of swirls of colours. Apainting by Douglas Coupland

 

Part three is the exhibit “Raw War” by Bruce Eves that is on at the Robert Kananaj Gallery until 21st April. Eves was just given one of the 2018 Governor General’s Awards in Visual and Media Arts.

“taps into a zeitgeist fraught with peril”

below: Part of Work #901 by Bruce Eves.  There are seven panels in total.  Every hour for a week in February 2014 he took his heart rate.  The numbers in the squares are his heart rate.  It’s difficult to see in this picture, but each square also has the date and time.  In addition, each panel is a day.   Something happened on Friday February 14th at 16:00 to elevate his heart rate to 123 beats/minute!

Part of a set of 7 paintings by Bruce Eves on a gallery wall, each painting is squares with numbers in them. The numbers are Eves' heart rate taken every hour for a week.

Eves has also painted a sequence of numbers that are actually nine blood pressure readings.  It was after he learned that he had a heart condition that Eves started using his health (and the monitoring thereof) as subject matter.   A self-portrait based on data about oneself, so to speak.  How his doctor sees him.

A few things to think about?

(P.S. My apologies for the title)

 

On the southeast corner of Don Mills and Sheppard (across Sheppard Ave East from Fairview Mall) some striped poles have sprouted.  Running southwest, at a 45 degree angle from the streets, are 4 tall striped poles with pointy tops; they look like tall skinny cylinders.  They are part of Douglas Coupland’s latest public art installation in the city, ‘Four Seasons’.

below:  Looking southeast, the four poles representing the four seasons rise up in the public space between buildings.  Autumn, of which you can only see a little, is in the foreground, and is followed by summer, spring, and in the distance, winter.

Four tall striped poles designed by Douglas Coupland as a public art installation.  The pole in the foreground, spring, can only be partially seen.  The winter pole is in the distance.

If you have seen the Douglas Coupland exhibit either at MOCCA or at the ROM, you will realize that bright coloured stripes seem to be part of his trademark.  The first time that I saw these poles I thought of Douglas Coupland and I wasn’t surprised to find that he in fact was the artist who designed them.

below:  Also part of the art installation are three poles that stand next to the new condo development along Don Mills Road.

Looking across the street (Don Mills Rd) at a new condo development.  Three tall striped poles are beside one of the buildings as part of an art installation.  The building closest to the poles is low rise (2 or 3 storeys) but the building behind is a much taller structure.

below: The ‘winter’ pole is mostly white stripes.
It is the farthest from the intersection of Don Mills and Sheppard.

Very tall striped cylindrical pole with mostly white stripes with a few greys and only one or two pale colours.   Looking up from the base of it towards the tip, two tall condos, one on either side, are in the photo too.

It was a damp grey day when I took the photo below.  The result is a grey photo of a grey intersection.  It is also an example of Toronto suburban planning, or the lack thereof.

Over looking a major city intersection, Don Mills Road and Sheppard Ave East.  Lots of traffic.  Some taller apartment buildings from the sixties and seventies are in the background.  One of the tall cyllindrical poles of Douglas Coupland's art installation is in the foreground.

A brightly coloured striped cylindrical shaped pole in front of a tall condo building.

On the 4th of February I posted some photos and information on Douglas Coupland’s ‘Gumhead’.  This is the installation where people are meant to interact with a large head by sticking chewed gum to it.  The plain black head gets transformed into something new (a sticky mess?).  At that point, the head been inside Holts for Men for about two weeks.  One of the photos from early in February is this one:

A large (about 6 foot tall) black head sits in the front of a menswear store. People have been encouraged to add chewed wads of gum to the head. It is about one third covered.

Yesterday, almost three weeks later, I revisited it and this is the photo that I took:

Douglas Coupland's 'Gumhead' inside Holts For Men store in Toronto.  It is a very large black sculpture of a man's head to which people have been attaching gobs of chewed gum.

I was expecting to see more gum on the head.  After all, a similar piece in Vancouver was totally covered by the time the exhibit finished.   As I stood there in my winter walking clothes, i.e. not dressed for shopping at Holts, I thought of a few things.

The Vancouver ‘Gumhead’ was outside with easy access to all.

Although this ‘Gumhead’ is visible from the street, it doesn’t invite people to come inside and interact with it.   Unless they have heard about the exhibit, passersby may not realize that they have the option of sticking their own wad of chewed gum on some guy’s big face.  In addition, inside a store is not really a public place.  It would be interesting to know how many people came in off the street to take a closer look at it.  By ‘people’ I mean non-customers with no prior knowledge of ‘Gumhead’.

And anyway,  it’s ugly.  That’s my two cents worth.

You have until March 9th if you want to get yourself to Bloor and Bellair  (near Bloor & Yonge) to participate.  Gum is provided.

 

Douglas Coupland: everywhere is anywhere is anything is everything

Royal Ontario Museum
until April 26, 2015

entrance to an exhibit at the Royal Ontario Museum featuring a large yellow wall with the name Douglas Coupland in large black letters.  In the distance are two women standing in front of a painting that is hung on point.

In the background is a large painting of geometric abstract shapes in yellows, reds and greys.  In the foreground is a close up of two stacks of blocks.  The blocks are old children's wooden building blocks but they are alll different.  Three have letters of the alphabet on them, one has a picture of a birds nest.

The 21st Century Condition
“I want to explore how it feels to be inside the 21st century brain as opposed to the 20th century brain”

Six paintings arranged three across by two down, on a wall.  One in grays, one in pink, one in purple, one in ornage and one in pale pink.

a large wall is covered with coloured rectangles and in each rectangle is an expression that has become common.  For example, get a life, oh my god, delete entire history?, etc.  A woman is standing to the left of the wall, taking a picture of it with her cellphone.

view of an art exhibit, some people are walking through it and a couple of people are looking at the art on the walls

blog_coupland_rom_colour

Painted with dots.  When they are hanging on the wall, they look abstract.
When they are shrunk down and viewed on a smartphone, the picture comes into focus.

three paintings hanging on a wall in an art exhibit.  One is of Osama bin Laden and the other two are 9/11 related, New York .

update:  Here is an interesting article that appeared in the Torontoist on 24th Feb about this exhibit.

Douglas Coupland’s
everywhere is anywhere is anything is everything
at the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, Queen St. West
until 19 April 2015

Secret Handshake
What makes Canadians Canadian?
What do we identify with that others don’t recognize?

close up of part of a quilt.  One of the squares is made from fabric with a Toronto Maple Leafs hockey player on it.  Old chrome hubcaps have been added to the quilt.

A quilt made of plain beige fabric into which dreamcatchers of various sizes have been incorporated.
A low hutch with three drawers.  The handle of each drawer is on old pepsi advertisement on an old bar from a door - the kind of bar that you would push on to open the door.

 One of the rooms of the exhibit features Coupland’s re-imagining of famous Canadian paintings,  paintings by Tom Thomson and Lawren Harris of the Group of Seven to name a couple.
In the center of the room is a black metal structure that is supposed to represent a damaged hydro transmission tower reminiscent of the ones damaged by the eastern Canada ice storm of 1998.

A large metal structure that is supposed to represent  a damaged hydro (electricity) transmission tower is in the center of a room.  There are paintings on the walls.

A large metal structure that is supposed to represent  a damaged hydro (electricity) transmission tower is in the center of a room.  There are paintings on the walls.

***

Growing up Utopian

A portion of three Douglas Coupland creations are visible.  In the foreground are numerous lego houses complete with yards and garages all laid out in a grid.  In the background are wood shelves with household articles from the past.  In the middle are lego towers in bright stripes and interesting shapes.
below: Towers, 2014
An urban jungle of imaginative lego towers created from selected parts of towers that were “crowd-sourced” at building events at the Vancouver Art Gallery.

Close up of some of the brightly coloured lego towers in the art exhibit

below: 345 Modern House, 2014
One hundred identical houses built from a kit that was first issued in 1969.

A grid of white lego bungalows with black roofs with detached garages, green lego lawns and red fences.

 

.

Gumhead is a “gum-based, crowd-sourced, publicly interactive, social-sculpture self portrait” in the words of Douglas Coupland, the artist who conceived and developed this idea.

It sits inside the entrance of Holt Renfrew Men on Bloor St. West.

A large (about 6 foot tall) black head sits in the front of a menswear store.  People have been encouraged to add chewed wads of gum to the head.  It is about one third covered.

People are encouraged to add their own chewed gum with the intention that the head will become covered, obscured, and transformed.  And people have done so, some with imagination or whimsy.

He now has eyelashes on one eye.

blog_gumhead_eyelashes

blog_gumhead_fs

blog_gumhead_mexicojpg

blog_gumhead_side

Gumhead is scheduled to remain until March 9th.
And yes, gum is provided…. as is the Purell!

blog_gumhead_gum