WOODROW: Graeme PattersonMarch 13, 2008 - March 13, 2008
What would Halifax, Saskatoon or Victoria look like as a ghost-town’ We don’t have to answer that question about our city, but the fear of one’s home ceasing to exist is very real for many people living in rural Canada, who are watching their towns wither before their eyes. In Woodrow, an exhibition of sculpture and video by Halifax-based artist Graeme Patterson, we are treated to an imaginative recreation of the real-life village of Woodrow, Saskatchewan as a ghost town.
Woodrow consists of nine large sculptural works incorporating video and animatronic elements, and a unique video projection, Monkey and Deer. The sculptures in Woodrow reflect the key elements of local culture, the sites that define the town: a farmhouse, a barn, grain bins, a workshop, the church, the hockey rink, the grain elevator, and finally, the road into (and perhaps more importantly, out of) town. The buildings represented are run-down and neglected, some virtually ruined, though none are actually abandoned: they are inhabited by a series of ‘ghosts,’ presences that hark back to the histories of the sites and their importance to what was once a thriving community. Through his use of stop-motion animation and robotic figures, Patterson infuses new life into what at first glance is a dead town. Patterson’s world is peopled by figments of his imagination, people and animals drawn from town lore, family history and the natural world. It is a dreamlike world, marked by a consistent vision and a remarkably honest and generous look at time, memory and the notion of ‘home.’