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Amy Fung
Myfanwy MacLeod at the Vancouver Art Gallery
May 13, 2014

As both featured artist and guest curator at the Vancouver Art Gallery, Myfanwy MacLeod has organized two exhibitions dovetailing into one that present her audience with a bold and brave cynicism that is absolutely rewarding. The conceptual segues flowing through her exhibition Myfanwy MacLeod, Or There and Back Again and Cock and Bull, her curatorial project with Grant Arnold, demonstrate an intuitive collusion of conscious and unconscious contrasts that is at once scathing, generative, and alarming. The selection of an all male cast of artists to compare and contrast with her solo show is not lost on anybody, and the implications of both respect and exclusion from the old boys club create an art world fugue that is at once arresting, albeit, disheartening.

Myfanwy MacLeod, Stack

MacLeod continues her razor sharp incision into the barriers between high culture and mass entertainment by investigating power structures and social dynamics with a cool handed wit. Led Zeppelin appear as a reoccurring theme throughout the exhibition, and MacLeod's new works include Stack, a wall-sized grid of screen prints re-creating the Marshall stacks that first appeared on stage in 1965 as a literal "wall of sound" in blistering arena rock shows (aka cock rock shows). It appears as a backdrop to a dominating floor piece by the late Anthony Caro and faces off against a Peter Doig, which is adjacent to William Marlow's 19th Century painting of the mysterious erection of Stonehenge. Verticality and sexual innuendo reverberate throughout, and run the gamut from teenage desire to an acceptance of our limited mortality.

To begin and end the exhibition, a series of Bruce Nauman's 1970 Studies for Holograms sit across from a lone drum kit. By including the elder American conceptualist, Macleod reveals her hand, telling us and not telling us how she treats meaning, and asks us to consider the information presented as experience rather than form and concept alone.

Vancouver Art Gallery:
Myfanwy MacLeod, Or There and Back Again & Cock and Bull continue until June 8.

Amy Fung is a writer and organizer who publishes nationally and internationally in journals, magazines, catalogues, and monographs in print and online. Her ongoings can be found at and on Twitter @anotheramyfung. She is Akimblog's Vancouver correspondent.



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