Reconciling their experiences within primarily rural contexts, each work offers insight into the evolution of the contemporary “readymade,” underscoring an enduring tension between what is, and what is not, art. An idea originating in the work of Marcel Duchamp in 1915, the readymade modified mass produced, manufactured objects-a bottle rack, a comb, a shovel-repositioned by the artist to subvert aesthetic assumptions and the unconscious reliance on the visual. “All in all,” Duchamp suggested, “the creative act is not performed by the artist alone; the spectator brings the work in contact with the external world by deciphering and interpreting its inner qualification and thus adds his contribution to the creative act.”
Each of the artists here has adapted such urban precedents to rural purposes, often exploring the readymade within a broader creative engagement with environmental issues, public space, and social practice. The result is a range of works that reposition landscapes and architectures, popular culture and everyday forms—entry points that highlight the mutability of interpretation and meaning.
Responding to everyday surroundings where the use and adaptation of found materials are deeply engrained in daily life, the work of these artists playfully and adeptly blurs registers—between the mundane and aesthetic, natural and handmade, low-tech and no-tech, DIY and folk cultures. The collective vernacular that emerges in Rural Readymade is one that speaks of an agile and persistent drive towards the creative reimagination of art and everyday life.
Curated by Shauna McCabe and organized by the Confederation Centre Art Gallery with the support of the Canada Council for the Arts.
Artists: Will Gill (NL), Geoff Hendricks (NY/NS), Janice Wright Cheney (NB), Eryn Foster (NS), Adriana Kuiper (NB), Ryan Suter (NB), Kim Morgan (NS), Doug Lewis (MB/CN), Norma Jean MacLean (PEI), Clint Neufeld (SK)