Kevin Dubois: Blue Period
April - May 2010
This exhibition celebrates the site specific installation recently installed at the Ike Barber Learning Centre at UBC on permanent display.
Blue Period is a short “History of Painting” in the form of a library of artists’ names from A to Z that pays homage to artists I admire and have been influenced by. The medium, in this case, enamel fired stained glass, is the message. In a world of digital technology where high definition computer generation at the push of a button is the norm, I have taken steps backward to the eleventh century practice of church windows to observe the effects of painted iconography and light, which, upon consideration, I feel are the matrix with which we represent contemporary culture. Birth, death, love, loss and belief are revealed and questioned in a modernist attempt to understand our relationship to the past, and its influence on the future. “Blue Period” is a marriage of old world craft with pop art sensibilities and playful surrealism.
During art school, I spent a year in Europe studying fine art. Still life, landscape, life drawing and portraiture were the lessons of the day as well as numerous visits to churches to draw from frescoes. It was in these churches that I first experienced stained glass. In need of a job after art school graduation I found employment in a sign shop, utilizing newly acquired drawing and painting skills to lay out and fabricate back lit illuminated sign faces for Mac’s Milk, Dairy Queen and liquor store commercial advertising. I also worked as a typesetter for a small handmade book publisher.
The combination of fine art and commercial art experience contributed to the my aesthetic which manifests in this current body of work, “Blue Period”. Inspired by a studio flood which destroyed my art book collection, I have attempted to address the sense of loss for the resource of books. I have created an imaginary library with stained glass incorporating the everyday mass of information that arrives at a door step including imagery and text from daily newspaper advertising; births, obituaries, sexual encounters, food, shelter and entertainment all defining the inhabitants of the given household before it hits the Blue Box for recycling.