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Main / 2003 / 2002 / 2001 / 2000 / 1999 / 1998
September 7- October 5, 2001


Douglas Coupland, author of GENERATION X, presents his first New York art show entitled SPIKE at Totem Gallery. The exhibition is very appropriate for Totem Design, New York's leading proponent of contemporary media comprised of Totem Magazine,, and Totem Gallery, located in the heart of Soho at 83 Grand Street. Featuring a stable of emerging and established designers and artists working in many mediums, Totem Gallery addresses the faltering dichotomy of art and design.

Spike is the first full-sized sculpture installation Douglas Coupland has done since 1986. Why sculpture instead of words? He is asked that all the time. The best answer that I can think of is that sculpture is a frozen 3D snapshot of the world as seen through an emotional and critical lens. Sculpture uses a different part of the brain or a different part of the soul‚ the self.

"A very large and strange transformation took over my own family two years ago with the birth of my niece who arrived with no left hand. Sounds simple enough, but the effect was deep and ongoing and in many senses turned my family inside out, like sleeping bags, letting us shake out the dust and bedbugs and let the sun do some healing. The family situation was aggravated by a spike in birth defects in the part of Vancouver where we live. Hence the title of the show. The spike made the papers, and the spike was definitely there, but in the end there was insufficient energy, will and know-how on the part of the local medical authorities to ferret out the reason for this spike. There was no Erin Brokovich."

"Sculpturally, I have tried to deal with changes in my worldview but in a different way. Shortly after my niece's birth I was in a North Vancouver Wal-Mart's shampoo section when, wham!, I emptied my cart out and filled it with one of every plastic bottle in the shop. Bottles, stripped of labels, are beautiful; I thought I was responding to these bottles purely as Pop artifacts. But the obsession continued, and finally a friend pointed out to me that plastic bottles are all about the hand, and with no hand, a bottle is useless, really, and the punch line is that it's precisely the bizarre chemicals inside these things that might damage a baby in the 6th or 7th week of fetal development. Bingo. The rest of the pieces flowed from there, the soldier pieces as well‚ the obvious political implication of the color green plus a manifestation of my family's military background."

"Writing and sculpture aren't therapy, they're both ways in which we as humans can make sense of, and come to grips with, our experiences, of taking something intensely personal and rendering it universal."

The author behind books like "Generation X," "Microserfs" and "Life After God" grew up on a NATO base in West Germany, which may have inspired the theme of his exhibition at Totem Gallery, where we will be treated to a blend of truly Warholian pop art, battle scenes as they may have played out in the boys room, and — in another section of the gallery — sales of his limited edition design collection. Coupland has twice been awarded the Canadian Award for Good Design. His extreme pop culture savvy is seen equally in his art, his writing and in his design.
Copyright © 2008 David Shearer   
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