Graeme Patterson, The Mountain, installation

Graeme Patterson: Secret Citadel

Saturday, 1 February 2014 to Friday, 30 May 2014

Curators: Melissa Bennett, Curator of Contemporary Art
Sarah Fillmore, Chief Curator, Art Gallery of Nova Scotia

Secret Citadel is the most recent iteration of Graeme Patterson’s unique vision, begun with his 2007 exhibition, Woodrow. Secret Citadel tells a story of two characters who embark on bittersweet adventures. The stages of life from childhood to adulthood are conveyed in animated videos that accompany large sculptures containing highly detailed miniature worlds. Each sculpture reflects on a stage of life. Though Patterson focuses on male friendships, viewers can relate to the subtleties and complexities inherent in close relationships.

Figures of a bison and cougar represent Patterson and a childhood friend who moved away and embody archetypal male friend figures. The animals are central characters throughout a loose, yet highly complex narrative that is at times dark, melancholy, joyful, and whimsical. The Mountain recreates the childhood homes of the young friends as Patterson remembers them from the 1980s. In Grudge Match, scenes of high school sports are played out in the projection. Two charred bunk beds are joined to form Camp Wakonda, with dramatic scenes of a school bus crash. Player Piano Waltz completes the transformation to manhood. Atop the piano the bison and cougar enact the pastimes of adulthood.

A 30-minute animation brings together the scenes in each sculpture, evoking the vulnerabilities of friendship and loneliness, love and loss.

Graeme Patterson lives in Sackville, New Brunswick. This is his second major touring exhibition.

Graeme Patterson: Secret Citadel premiered at the Art Gallery of Hamilton. The exhibition is co-produced by the AGH and the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia and will be touring nationally.