Review: If STOP signs were heart shaped, would you stop?

Today I thanked myself for taking the long way home.

I was rewarded by stumbling upon the works of Francois-Xavier Chamberland at Propeller Centre for the Visual Arts.

“All is not lost. Old, warn, and faded things find new meaning. François-Xavier Chamberland extends an invitation to examine to what we may have once spurned. Chamberland puts together unlikely companions. Old thing inspire him, old things, and odd things.”

His works, made mostly of metal and wood, attracted me because of their rust. The colour contrast between metals that have and have not been oxidized are probably one of the things on my slow-walks that I stop to notice the most. And here was a whole gallery filled with them!  Screens and saws and axes and wrenches, artfully displayed, are similar to, but contrast, the themed pieces about worn relics from a wedding and a homestead. My favourite of his pieces is the one that is closest to the window, and is a whimsically dancing figure, made entirely of blocks of metal… or at least this is how I remember it. You should go check it out yourself, and there’s even an opening this Saturday March 3 from 1-6pm.

I didn’t take any photos because my energies were drawn towards the North, back gallery with Gary MacLeod’s World of Imposters. This is his artist statement:

“Words and signage saturate our mass media landscape. I obsessively create signs and manipulate photographs, to realize a parallel visual world that mirrors this one. By slightly changing the content of a sign, perspective is shifted and perception is altered to consider other subtle or blatantly boastful meanings.”

If you’re a frequent reader of mine, you’ll know that this perspective and perception shifting is so similar to the kind of thing I do in my head all the time, and try to capture on my camera phone.  Luckily, Gary did it for me. I got to meet him, and talk to him about his intentions for his show, and the way in which his pieces were displayed.  His love for signage was not only evident in the way the room was set up, but in the the animation of his description. Since he’s so well known for his neon signage, he had hoped for a spot in the front room so his blazing “OMEN” eye could beckon visitors from Queen Street. Personally, I was quite happy to walk into the back room and be surprised by the works instead of having them present immediately.  I luckily happened upon his reception by accident, which goes tonight until 10pm, but even without the cheese and wine, you should definitely go check it out before March 11th.

The title of this post is Gary’s statement about the piece that I found the most striking, and the one we spoke to each other about longest. What I found fascinating, is how he had intended to have the lights from the neon signs on one side of the room behave as though they were headlights, flashing upon the signs on a road in the night. I’m particularly in love with the shadow behind it:

Installation by Gary MacLeod © 2012
Photo by Little Bites with Bigwood © 2012

The following camera phone photo shows two more of my favourites from the exhibit, which, paired together, can also be considered a perspective shifter:

Installations by Gary MacLeod © 2012
Photo by Little Bites with Bigwood © 2012 

What a lovely accidental art night.  I love my neighbourhood.

1 comment
  1. Lori Bigwood said:


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