Bill Rodgers: small displacement(s)
January 10 to March 1, 2009
Calgary-based artist Bill Rodgers has been at work on the project installed for this exhibition since 1994. Searching for a way to combine his work as a visual artist with his interest in motorcycle racing, he wound up focusing on the Tourist Trophy (TT), an annual motorcycle race held on the roads of the Isle of Man since 1907. Continuing with his previous work with the palimpsest, Rodgers took an art book on Matisse and rubbed out all of its pages using a razor blade to get ready for his first work of art about the TT. He arranged the pages in a grid and traced a map of the TT’s route, complete with place names, overtop of the faded images of works by one of the twentieth century’s greatest masters. Following this key piece, Rodgers created a traveling-light version on Tyvek, which will also be in the exhibition, along with other related works.
To prepare for this installation, Rodgers gathered found objects, and has fabricated reliquaries that contain items related to the TT, or at least the Isle of Man, including shed fur from his own cat – a Manx.
Taken as a whole, the exhibition is a sort of secular shrine to the TT, with elements of mapping, myth, and chance, and sentiments ranging from a straightforward love for the event, to a post-modern ironic stance in his ornate reliquaries, which are obviously created with a tongue-in-cheek devotion.