I don’t know what it is about that space, but it blinds me from some important aspects of the work they are presenting. I thought about the work alot and did some Googling, agreed with the use of personal history and yet I still did not feel like I understood what was happening. So I go into the gallery again, and man, do I stare down the work. You’d think it owed me money or something. I look around and sense this frozen movement in the works. The ladder rungs climb the wall, the man’s head mimics the “Joyce” heads far on the opposite wall, the oilcan drawing and sculpture quickly shrink and grow to/from each other, and then there are the red feet and the birds. Its like they’re moving, but everytime I look at them they freeze. One. Two. Three. Red Light! That’s a substantial amount of factors to be influencing the artist but my Spidey-sense was tingling and it wouldn’t stop.
I decide to ask about the giant oilcan and try to justify my movement theory. No luck though. The same info that I have read or already surmised is repeated back to me with no support for motion. Although the subjects are revealed to be items from his studio and his drawings tend to be decades old before he publicizes them. But not to lose hope, there is a library of art books in the gallery. I was invited to look at the three books on Mr. Therrien. Yeah buddy! I check out the first one and see more work similar to what is in the show, but also some other pieces that use different iconography with the same language. Blue blobs come to mind. No revelations in that one. I replace the book and grab the next one. This publication has older work and is bilingual. Muy interesante. Again, the work is similar to the show. Except that it is very different! The older work is more textured and process is more evident. It’s as if Mr. Therrien got to a certain point with his art and decided to smooth it all over.
His process is still present, but it is veiled thanks to his use of the computer. Things aren’t as textured or tactile as they used to be. Now there is more repetition, like the multiple “Joyce” heads. There is repetition in the sculpture as well, but it’s surface has changed. Or at least this show was highlighting a shinier selection.
So anyways, Robert Therrien is not a liar. Just a cheat. But I caught him. Process is the card up his sleeve. My compliments to Lora Reynolds for making this game challenging. That’s two for two. I just wish I was more attracted to the art. Therrien is still NOT BAD.
I’ll tell you ’bout what I sees.