Volume 95, Issue 43

Friday, November 16, 2001
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How you say "N-Ah-So" good?

'Chindogus' now on sale at Multimart

Stagnant Swamp finds new life

And the boots go marching 10 by 10, hurrah! Hurrah!

Shits and Giggles

CHRW Top 20

Gazette Comics

And the boots go marching 10 by 10, hurrah! Hurrah!

By Christine McKenzine
Gazette Staff

Upon entering Western's McIntosh Gallery, it wasn't clear the "walking tour" provided by one of the artists would constitute a pun on the artistic installation inside the gallery.

Along side London artist Paul Novick, Montreal-born artist Dominique Blain's work is currently featured at the McIntosh Gallery as a part of the Fragments of Unity exhibit.

In Blain's installation, Missa, 100 pairs of combat boots hang on black fishing wire from a metal grid pattern on the ceiling. The boots, once belonged to members of the Israeli army and are arranged symmetrically.

Yet, amongst this symmetry, there is a haunting element to the work – the left boot of every pair is slightly raised, toe pointing downwards while the boot sways eerily with the air currents of the gallery.

The suspension of the left boot replicates marching soldiers, enhancing the grotesque nature of the piece, which represents the march of invisible soldiers echoing an invisible military power.

The effect of such order and design is overwhelming and almost dizzying, even more so when walking around the installation.

Lauren Starr/Gazette

This is the intended effect of the work. During the walking tour, Blain said she has produced a very simple idea in order to attain the essence of the piece. Missa comments on the powers of seduction inherent to the fascist aesthetic and the atrocities of dictatorships.

Although Blain has not been personally affected by war, her work encapsulates her deep emotional response to war.

Blain says she can't comprehend the dangerous threats humans are capable of posing. In light of the events of September 11, the notion of suicide bombers reinforces that.

Her piece, in form, strives to reveal this theme, as well as transmit to her audience a certain sensation that, infused in war, is the power of control and the capacity to manipulate.

Blain's other work, entitled Stars and Stripes, was first produced as a collage, later as a silk screen on paper and finally in its present, large-scale form on tapestry, flag-like in construction.

Similar to Missa in its rigid order and formal aspects, it too comments on a fascist regime.

A red cross (red being the dominant colour of her works) divides the tapestry into sections. On one side of a cross stripe, the endless rows of World War II bombers are juxtaposed with rows of beauty pageant contestants on the other side.

The two pieces are arranged within the gallery so one does not interrupt the other. The installation of combat boots is the main focus and, in order to view Stars and Stripes, the viewer must turn and face another wall of the room.

Paul Novick's works are similar in thematic composure and he too will provide a verbal deconstruction of his art in order to reveal more symbols of unity. Novick will be providing a walking tour today at 12:15 p.m..

Fragments of Unity is at the McIntosh Gallery until December 9.

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Copyright The Gazette 2001