PATRICK MIKHAIL GALLERY IN MONTREAL IS PLEASED TO PRESENT “MONUMENT” AN EXHIBITION OF NEW WORKS BY TORONTO ARTIST MICHAEL VICKERS
JANUARY 7 TO FEBRUARY 18, 2017
SATURDAY, JANUARY 7, 2017
2 P.M. TO 5 P.M.
PATRICK MIKHAIL GALLERY in Montréal is pleased to present MONUMENT, an exhibition of new works by PMG artist MICHAEL VICKERS. The exhibition, the artist’s first solo presentation with the gallery, marks a continued investigation of the sculptural object, while incorporating elements and influences from industrial design, assemblage, and a renewed interest in poetry.
Waterjet-cut metal panels, engraved boulders, and new large-scale installations fill the gallery space, interjected by floral arrangements and tomographic imagery based on MEG and MRI scans created in collaboration with Dr. Karen Davis’ neurology lab at Toronto Western Hospital. In MONUMENT, we find not only a curiosity towards modes of presentation, materials, and differing relationships between objects, but also introspective reflections (both minute and macro- connections) and contemplations riddled through visual decisions and gestures.
Three large panels of cut aluminum lean and cast a shadow on the gallery wall. Gates? Doors? Windows? Mirrors? Tracking the artist’s hand and then it’s removal, these works bring drawings and sketches once inked on crumpled paper into the physical. Epitaphs to the poetry of everything, and the symmetry and patterns within it as their texts explore the balance between holding on and letting go desiring an needing and the power relationships between two forces. Such a struggle of force resides at the root of the story of David, nodded to through a plaster cast of the famed Michel Angelo work (arguably the most reproduced sculpture in history) that resides on one of two shelving installations that fill the space. With a Tense and contemplative expression, the cast focuses on a mythological figure’ held between action and inaction- the moment he has decided to battle Goliath but no battle has begun. Is character more critical than action? There have been great debates over the sculpture’s gaze- one that is entropic, many say- one eye fixated on the viewer and the other looking ahead and beyond. The bust is but one of several objects resting upon the industrial a helving- Assemblages, affective tensions, relics.
In the large rock and stone works, we find nods to text-based artists including Holzer and Nathan Coley, but words that reveal a contemplation of, or conversation with, the self. ““Given that everything on Earth comes out of magma, and that living creatures descend from inanimate materials, are human beings just walking and talking stones?” questions Jane Bennett. Boulders, engraved and etched by phrases whisper reminders of urgency, and importance.
Resting on the gallery floor and upon plinths, the works read like intimate monoliths. While one may conjure images of the Carnac Stones of Brittany, or stone hedge- we can look also to the monumental boulders of Muhammad Ali’s ‘Fighter’s Heaven Camp’ in Deer Lake, Pennsylvania- where Ali’s father hand painted the names of his sons boxing peers on often room sized rocks. Photographer Peter Angelo Simon once remarked the boulders we ‘tributes to the heroes of his sport and cautionary auguries of the perils he face. The silent stones were strong men felled by time’.
Brain scans, MRI
What is going on in my brain? Grandfather’s alzheimers and my mother’s mental health struggles. Generation Y- nxious and tense, suffering from an abundance of choice and barrage of social media. Pieter Kruger, a London-based psychologist, says research indicates that people who feel they don’t have a choice are actually more resilient — mainly because they can blame life or others if they make a wrong decision. However, if you have a range of choices, you have no one to blame but yourself. “We become much more obsessive because we want to make the right decision every time,” he says.
Lastly, flowers have a gentle presence throughout the exhibition- including a wreath adorned with my name- a euphemistic memento more to myself and those around me, displayed with a self conscious romanticism and ephemerality. There is a long and storied symbolic language to flowers, which are found in funerary motifs extending back to ancient Egypt. In this case, individual white orchids scatter across the space in glass vases- a flower that is most often known to represent reverence and humility, innocence and purity, and elegance and beauty.
Tense and contemplative, a sculpture held between action and inaction- the moment he has decided to battle Goliath but no fight has begun. Concerned, ready for what lies ahead. Is character ore critical than action? Also not forget how David won the battle- mule 17:49, David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone, and slung it, and struck the Philistine on the forehead; the stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the ground.
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