Spectacle is guest-curated by John Massier for the
Cambridge Galleries and brings together the work of Toronto
artist Peter Bowyer and New York artist David Kramer in an
exhibition of two new sculptural works in the gallery. In
addition, each artist has installed a large sculptural work on the
Queens Square grounds for the Cambridge Galleries 2001
Public Art Program.
For the Public Art Program, Peter Bowyers work Anything,
1999, will be installed in the library reading room. Anything,
originally exhibited in the 1999 exhibition Re: Location, is
constructed of galvanized steel and vacuum formed acrylic
panels and stands 17 feet high. Outwardly modelled on
commercial highway signage, Anything is stripped of its
commercial content, colour and metaphorical illumination.
David Kramers piece Making the Scene, 1999, originally
exhibited at the Toronto Sculpture Garden, will be installed
outside the library facing Grand Avenue. Similar to Peter
Bowyers work Anything, Making the Scene makes reference to
commercial signage in its material construction. Where
Bowyers work is mute and minimal, Kramers Making the Scene
is visually loud and dissonant. Four large letters, each in a
different type face, each surfaced with a different reflective
material or light source, spell the word HERE. The two works
join together in using the medium of commercial signage to
reacquaint us with the visual environment of publicity in which
we live and to remind us of how it shapes our lives.
In the gallery, Peter Bowyers piece Moods, 2001 consists of a
bank of galvanized steel stadium seating and a matching
television console. Though the bleachers allude to an arena
experience, they focus a line of sight toward the facing
monitor, upon which the most muted of possible spectacles
plays itself out: a simply drawn animated film that mixes
considerable blankness with a reappearing six minute pen and
ink action sequence. The animation is a hybrid - part
minimalist television graphic, part sub-molecular Pac-man.
David Kramers Cloud 9 is a sofa shaped like the number 9. It
has large fluffy white cushions, pierced by two rainbow
coloured cylindrical platforms. The large round form at the
centre is a light source and a back rest for the visitors who sit
on the piece. The top is covered with a Plexiglas table covered
with liquor bottles, beer bottles and the remains of junk food in
plastic wrappers. The other cylinder at the bottom of the 9 has
a white television on it which plays a loop of edited workout
videos taken from television.
It is no accident that Spectacle is situated on the hinge
between millennia. The notion of spectacle could be seen in
increasing measure to describe the garrulous quality of the
twentieth century, which has hardly abated with our shift into a
new century. However, Bowyer and Kramer do not play into
the typical associations with their proposed works. Where
Bowyer sets up a partial arena for a spectacle, he ultimately
offers none, tossing expectation and anticipation back toward
the viewer; where Kramer appears to offer the fulfilment of
personal desires, it is ultimately more a fulfilment of pathos
Together, the works in Spectacle address the question of our
involvement as observers and participants, predicated by
degrees of desire. On the hinge between millennia, the works in
Spectacle create an ever-present moment, a muting and
questioning of the spectacle we inhabit.
Making the Scene, 1999,
210 x 327 x 262 cm.
Toronto Sculpture Garden, 1999.