Aidan Urquhart, 2003, Five Easy Pieces #1,
acrylic and collage on wood panel, 24 in x 24 in,
Introduction: Hi Mary, thank you for joining us to share your thoughts on Aidan Urquhart’s creations. Mary is the director/curator of the Woodstock Art Gallery in Ontario.
Q: Mary, what was your initial reaction to Aidan’s work when you first came across it?
A: I became aware of Aidan’s work way back in the early 2000s through his art bomb faxes. This was when fax machines were a still common feature in office settings. I always thought his Art bomb faxes were fun and fresh. Unfortunately, I would have to regularly dig them out of the trash and reprimand my colleagues for throwing away valuable pieces of art!
Aidan is still creating his subversive and unexpected art bombs although now I get them in the mail. Due to the dominance of digital communication receiving these wonderful works now seems even more special than ever before – almost like a throw back in time.
Q: What motivated you to exhibit his art in your public art gallery?
A: When I started at the Winnipeg Art Gallery in 2004, I was fortunate that a show of Aidan’s was already scheduled for 2007, and I was given the responsibility to curate his exhibition. Because I was already familiar with his work, I remember being very excited to work with an artist I admired and connected with.
Q: What elements in Aidan’s work do you find exciting and fresh?
A: I appreciate that Aidan’s works are like a treasure map, full of clues and codes that you need to unlock to access the hidden meaning. At the same time, they are full of accessible and bright imagery. If you are looking for a quick and witty visual “hit” his paintings always deliver but conversely if you want to invest the time you can spend endless hours pouring over the details.
Q: In your extensive career as a public art curator what makes Aidan’s work stand out in the contemporary art community?
A: The dark and twisted humour embedded in his work. He sometimes uses his black humour overtly but often it is hiding in plain sight, and you need to work a bit to find it. When you do it is always rewarded with a subtle but wry smile.
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