Monday, June 16, 2014
Richard and I made our way on Saturday to the Vancouver Art Gallery for the retrospective of Douglas Coupland's art. It takes up the whole of the first floor of the gallery and while it was instructive to see the breadth and scope of Coupland's practice across a range of media, I feel like, as with much of the artist's writing, the work could use some definite editing.
Many of the assemblages and installations, in particular, read to me as exercises in accumulation and excess--which, to be sure, is partly the point. But it's exhausting to look at. I much preferred the G7 series, Coupland's digitized acrylic riffs on iconic works by the Group of Seven and Emily Carr. Ditto his QR code works in the vein of Mondrian, and the last room of 9/11 dot matrix works viewable through your smartphone was quite a stunning mediated revelation.
Then there's the oversized bust of Coupland's head on the Howe Street plaza outside the gallery. I thought there'd already be more gum covering the surface, although it is quite big. Richard found a spot on Doug's chin to add his masticated wad--sugar-free, of course.