Installation View, McMaster Museum of Art, 2013
McMaster Museum of Art, Hamilton, ON

Curated by Ihor Holubizky and Patrick Mahon

The exhibition emerges from an interest in the artist's role as a social critic; as a producer of images and artifacts that have the potential to acquire some capacity as critical currency. Furthermore, a consciousness of the idea of the artist as a suspicious or foolish figure in culture is at issue. Therefore, the Albrecht Dürer print, Of Taking Offense at, but Learning From Fools, has particular significance for within this artist-curated project. Related works by Dürer and those of William Hogarth, the most celebrated British engraver of the eighteenth century, are reminders of the critical role of visual art, and perhaps especially graphic (print) art, in moral teaching in the West prior to the Modern period. Nonetheless, in more recent artworks, including modern ones, artists often take a critical position through inventive strategies intended to challenge, provoke and to remind viewers, culturally-speaking, so as to influence our thinking for values-related purposes.

In addition to Mahon's works made specifically for this project – a series of six studies and two large-scale 'printed stick drawings' or relief sculptures of voyagers, nominally, shipwrecks – the exhibition includes a set of small "stowaway" objects by thirteen invited artist colleagues. While small things, they have a representational capacity regarding the respective practices (and lives) of those artists, and are welcome if surprising company aboard the (exhibition as) voyage.