Opening Reception: Friday, June 12, 7:30 – 10:30 pm,
w/ the artist in attendance

CHOPPER
Solo Sculpture Exhibition by Brandon Vickerd (Hamilton, ON)
June 12 – August 1, 2015

Artcite Inc. is pleased to present “CHOPPER”, a solo sculpture exhibition by Hamilton, ON based artist Brandon Vickerd. Brandon Vickerd’s public sculpture premiering at Artcite Inc., Sputnik Returned #2, was featured in an article by Pearl Van Geest in Canadian Art!

The “purposely diverse” work of Brandon Vickerd straddles the line between high and low culture, acting as a catalyst for critical thought while addressing the “failed promise of a modernist future predicated on boundless scientific advancement”. Whether through the seduction of his fine craftsmanship, the creation of spectacle, or a dose of broad humour, Vickerd’s goal is to provoke the viewer into questioning the dominant myth of progress ingrained in our Western world views.

Vickerd’s CHOPPER series, now showing at Artcite Inc., through August 1, 2015, borrows from motorcycle culture, mimicking the stripped down frames of 1960s choppers: that iconic assertion of individuality, masculinity, and speed, “pushed to new levels through mechanical re-imagining”. Biker culture itself is something of a hidden universe for the uninitiated, and yet it is omnipresent in the badass archetypes that have never really left the Hollywood screen. The mechanic’s shop now shares that space, too, with TV shows like American Chopper reinforcing what Vickerd sees as a current reverence for hyper-craftsmanship, in a society that is quickly losing the need or will to continue to create by hand.

Vickerd’s Chopper series of sculptures has come out of years of training in custom bike shops, where the artist learned about new materials and processes from masters of the craft. Vickerd’s current sculptural style is clearly derived from automotive and motorcycle design, and his exoskeletal forms mimic the exposed mechanics of motorcycles. Vickerd’s CHOPPERs also share the painstaking technique of the custom bike, in a precise handling of steel, fiberglas, and paint, albeit in forms abstracted out of all mechanical use or recognition: several chopper sculptures are “tight” and muscular: engine-like, and buzzing with pent-up energy and the promise of sudden propulsion. Others of Vickerd’s choppers are less contained: seemingly ready to fly to pieces. As art objects, Vickerd’s choppers are striking. As machines, they are decommissioned. The CHOPPERs’ collective promise of speed, agility, and rebellion are locked away and frustrated as ‘wayward desires’. Brought together as sculptural installations, they seem poised and ready to be ridden.

Born in 1977 in Windsor, Ontario, Brandon Vickerd is a Hamilton-based sculptor and Professor of Visual Arts at York University in Toronto. He received his BFA from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (1999) and his MFA from the University of Victoria (2001). Vickerd’s art pieces, which are diverse in form and content, and include site specific interventions, public performances and object based sculptures, have been exhibited extensively, in group and solo shows across Canada and the US. Vickerd has received numerous awards and grants from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Toronto Arts Council, and the Ontario Arts Council.

Vickerd’s community based, outdoor project Dance of the Cranes has been featured in Brooklyn, NY, and Washington, DC (both, 2015), and his Sputnik Returned 1 was featured in “Sculpture by the Sea” in Arhuss, Denmark. The Windsor installation of Sputnik Returned 2 is the second appearance of this compelling–and witty–sculpture. www.brandonvickerd.com

Artcite wishes to acknowledge additional project support from Cathy Masterson, Cultural Affairs Officer, City of Windsor and the Corporation of the City of Windsor, and Mr. Aldwin Trillanes for his generous donation of the ‘Sputnik’ crash site (a formerly sweet Acura).