It's Alive! Bertram Brooker and Vitalism
December 17 to April 02, 2011
It's Alive! explores Canadian artist Bertram Brooker’s search for a visual language capable of animating audiences by appealing to their physical desires. Representations of Brooker as the “pioneer” of Canadian abstraction have forced an artificial separation of his career in advertising and his production as a visual artist. Pairing his work with internationally-renowned modernist artists, this exhibition marks Brooker’s accomplishments and explores links between his art, marketing and even the cinema.
The forces of nature play a significant role in Brooker’s vision of art and consumer society. Guest curator Adam Lauder asserts that this view was synthetic although his imagery referenced biology at every turn, drawing on artificial models of life developed by theorist Henri Bergson. Looking beyond previous, vague mystical readings of Brooker’s art, Lauder argues that he pictured the consumer as a new form of embodied subjectivity and spectatorship that heralded the emergence of the “information society” crystallized by Marshall McLuhan in his The Mechanical Bride of the 1950s.
This exhibition is organized and circulated by the Art Gallery of Windsor.