April 30 - May 21
Public Reception: Saturday, April 30. 1pm-4pm

“I have come down with a curious affection for outboard motors,” remarks Brendan Duggan about his first solo exhibition that will display both his metal sculptures and drawings that have a nautical theme.  

“The sculptures and drawings include reassembled and re-imagined outboard motor parts that have been transformed into otherworldly vehicles. These vehicles don’t always improve their situation or even make sense. Instead, they create their own landscape while still clinging to the old,” says Brendan. Most of the work in this exhibition includes an outboard motor part, either a real or recycled part or a fantasized recreation. “I’ve been calling my work abstract constructivist assemblages,” explains Brendan.  

The title for his exhibition was coined from the conventions of Greek tragedy, where a machine is used to bring actors playing gods onto the stage. The machine could be either a crane (mechane) used to lower actors from above or a riser that brought actors up through a trap door. The idea was introduced by Aeschylus and was used often to resolve the conflict and conclude the drama. Deus ex machina means “god from the machine.” The term has evolved to mean a plot device whereby a seemingly unsolvable problem is suddenly and abruptly resolved by the inspired and unexpected intervention of some new event, character, ability or object. Depending on how it is done, it can be intended to move the story forward when the writer has "painted himself into a corner" and sees no other way out, to surprise the audience, to bring the tale to a successful conclusion, or as a comedic device.  

Working with metal and using found objects presents Brendan with many physical and technical challenges. “For me, the initial idea is the main thing,” Brendan explains. “My sketch books bring me more joy than the finished work. I’ve always drawn pictures and I can photographically remember drawing pictures as young as five years old. When I go through my sketchbooks, I can remember completing almost every drawing and the moments around the drawing. Making the work itself can feel like writing lines on a chalkboard. That being said, performing the work well can be a technically didactic experience.”  

Brendan’s interest in art began during high school. He then went on to study at the Ontario College of Art but the experience wasn’t what he expected so he took some time off, returning to his studies at the Toronto School of Art where he earned a diploma.  

At first, Brendan thought he would become a painter. “It wasn’t until after completing a few early sculptures that something clicked about holding a finished object,” recalls Brendan.  

To create his sculptures, Brendan uses a variety of metal working techniques along with a few blacksmithing “tricks” he prefers to keep as trade secrets.  

Brendan hopes that visitors to his exhibition will have more questions than the exhibition answers. “I certainly do after thinking about and making this work.”

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Located at 15 King Street in Bracebridge, the gallery is open year-round, Tuesday to Saturday from 10am to 1pm and 2pm to 5pm. It is closed during the last week of September and the second week of October as well as between Christmas and New Year’s Days. Please check the Calendar of Events for the actual dates. For a map, please follow this link.

Exhibitions are booked one year in advance.  To learn how to apply for a show, please follow this link: Exhibition Application.

The Chapel Gallery was opened in September, 1989. Housed in a reconstruction of the first Presbyterian Church in Bracebridge, the Chapel Gallery hosts exhibitions of art and craft by our members and other local and provincial artists. Exhibitions are selected by the Gallery Committee and change every three to four weeks.

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Muskoka Arts & Crafts Inc. is located in the District Municipality of  Muskoka, Ontario, Canada.