Tomorrow, February 28th is the last day for an intriguing debut for Portland artist Derek Bourcier, he's also giving an artists talk with coffee from 1-2PM at PSU's Littman Gallery
. The fact that a coffee chat gets such high billing here is in keeping with Bourcier's sly self-deprecating slight of hand, evident in most of the works.
Derek Bourcier's Mr. Lonely
Take for instance the most visually arresting piece in the show, "Mr. Lonely." Consisting of several humidifiers mounted on drum hardware and humidity from a basement room it is a fairly frank paean to frustrated male ambitions. It has its roots in the work of Charles Ray whose pathos is disarming while it's grandaddy Marcel Duchamp made found objects legit. I'd even be willing to label this run of the mill immature navel gazing designed to amuse art school friends if it weren't very common for young men in their 30's or older to be forced to move back in with their families in this sluggish economy. The effect is soul crushing and I've known a few such men who chose to die at their own hands rather than endure that situation.
Other objects like "Passed," a small cardboard box filled with tiny packets of breath from his family intended as packing material have a subtle, fragile and nostalgic quality that hit home. Disclosure, I know the mountain college town where Bourcier is from and he captures the touching desperation to leave Logan Utah with an exceptional succinctness. Whereas, other works like "Time Waits" (a turntable with a motion sensor) are a little hackneyed and have done as BFA projects many times before.
I'm In The Bushes
Some of the other strange winners are "I'm In The Bushes," a text message word bubble made of MDF and “Sunrise in outer space” a portable basketball hoop base full of prison wine. Both speak of a hilariously confined desperation. Other works like "To Sing For You" a Japanese glass float and a recording of rain has a certain melancholy poetry that "Summer (t-shirt)" a very realistic clay simulacra of a t-shirt tossed like garbage on the floor improves upon. Tellingly, the t-shirt as the most innocuous work in the show was perhaps the most labor intensive and seemingly personally invested. In contrast the three canvas photo prints titled "Bieng There" pushed the mundane nostalgia over the line and would not have been missed if left out of the show.
Overall, this is still young work that is a tad "art school" but the poetic/hilarious nonchalance that thinly masks more desperate problems warrants keeping an eye on this artist.
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