I saw the Douglas Coupland exhibit at the Vancouver Art Gallery this week. It’s a pretty expansive exhibition, spanning many rooms, and includes paintings, sculpture, both unique and from found objects, graphic art, print covers, and digital images and manipulations.
Ever since my twenties I’ve loved more modern art - the use of colour, line and shape just seems interesting to me in ways that classical painting isn’t. Miro was my first real obsession, but I’ve loved and been drawn to all manners of modernish artists - Dali, Mondrian, Lichtenstein, Alex Colville, Lawren Harris, etc. I didn’t realize that Coupland, whose written work I love, was also such a prolific visual artist.
What I loved about the exhibit, and what has stuck with me since, is that Coupland’s art is dynamic (an overused term, but forgive me). Coupland asks his audiences to view his work through their phones, to take pictures, and thusly, to reflect on the art that they’re consuming. His work engages the present human condition - of course, classical art comments on the human condition, and can suggest to is some universal truths, but because it was created hundreds of years ago, it doesn’t have anything to say about the world we live in. Coupland uses images, materials and texts that are part of our lives now, our technologically-driven, Western-valued, Canadian lives, and for that reason, his work spoke greatly to me