Michael Fernandes

22 November 1983 - 17 December 1983
Opening Reception 22 November 1983 8pm

West Gallery:

No Escape

“No Escape” a muti-media installation incorporates a series of photographs, slide projections, images on the floor and a series of objects within the gallery space. The artist presents in his exhibition “a situation to remind us that man’s own doing fuels his journey through a technocratic society.”

“All we really wanted was a change – work, a haircut, more food. We wanted to be free.

We used to huddle in short-pants in the shade, making off a circle on the earth. Each player with a rock would aim from a measured distance. We threw the rocks to gather points. We used the game to hone our wits.

The power of imagination was once an innocent device for play.” – Michael Fernandes

Terrence Johnson and Michael Fernandes at Mercer Union
John Bentley Mays
Globe and Mail, December 1983

A mixed media installation by Johnson, who heads the visual art department at the Banff Centre School of Fine Arts; and another by Fernandes, who lives and works in Halifax.

Johnson’s resolute piece, called Converging Courses, is composed of large, unpainted squared-off logs lightly shaped to suggest oil tankers and arrayed on the floor. It is accompanied by fine drawings of tanker silhouettes.

This is not, however, a show about toys you can take into the bathtub. Johnson’s piece is wary, rigorously formal inquiry into image making. His semi-ships are not unfinished; each of these objects is poised at some place on a line between being a log and being depiction of a ship — between being small and wood, and suggesting big and metal.

Describing the sculptures this way perhaps make Johnson’s inquiries sound ivory-tower indeed. Nothing could be farther from the truth. These days, with artists everywhere making images like crazy, this intelligent cautionary work (and this sort of work) is a tonic.

Michael Fernandes installation, entitled No Escape, contains a huge table and chair handsomely crafted, that make the viewer feel like Alice after she got very small. It also features slides, an audio tape-loop, fuzzy, glossy photos of the world’s aboriginal people, and a motion detecting mechanism that switches on the various parts of the installation when you come into the room. I don’t understand any of it.