June 23 - August 5, 2006
Michael Buckland might have felt a little out of place growing up in what was then conservative, blue-collar Saint John. His approach to art making is unconventional and blends theatrics, performance and installation: a far cry from representational paintings. After years of presenting his quirky art in far-flung corners of the globe and most often in Toronto, Buckland returns to his hometown with a multi-layered installation called I fooled the children of the revolution. The exhibition investigates the temporary, the transient and the unstable, and probes the flexibility of meaning through an array of painted graphics, video, beach balls and lots of word play. The various exhortations to action could lead one to imagine that Buckland was hoping to incite some sort of riot or revolt in the townsfolk. The lack of howling protests only furthers his point. Let me explain.
1. Barbara Kruger is an artist from New York who gained prominence with her use of iconic white text over black and red that wryly pointed out sexual and social inequalities. “I shop therefore I am” was featured as an art project on, in of all places, cloth shopping bags, pointing out the simulacra of advertising in selling back to consumers our own dreams, fears and desires.
3. The beach balls are everywhere, in various stages of decompression. Who uses beach balls anymore? I thought Ultimate Frisbee was all the rage. In this context they work as a symbol of leisure time: is this what our revolutionary forefathers fought for?
4. For those unfamiliar with the song, take note of a few facts: It was released in the US in 1972, spent six weeks at #1 in the US, was nominated for 3 Grammies and sold 3 million copies worldwide. Taking note of the lyrics, however, one can see it is probably the most depressing song ever written.
© chris lloyd 2006