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Indepth Arts News:

"Spectacle: Installations by Peter Bowyer and David Kramer"
2001-03-31 until 2001-05-13
Cambridge Galleries
Cambridge, ON, CA Canada

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 than satisfaction.

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.

IMAGE:
Making the Scene, 1999,
mixed media,
210 x 327 x 262 cm.
Toronto Sculpture Garden, 1999.


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