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.
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.
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.”