May 6, 1999
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Foundwealth (1999)

Struts Gallery, Sackville, NB March 12 – April 3, 1999
Artcite, Windsor, ON May 18 – June 16 2001

FOUNDWEALTH is about seeing the light.  To see it indicates both, the end of a journey, and the beginning of a certain level of hope.  The moment where the light is seen is a moment where space and time are crunched together into a new thing.  It is the split second where choices are made.  I want the installation to be about that moment, where everything could happen.  This moment of decision or indecision looks a lot like our point in time; the crossing of the two millenniums.  It seems as if we are moving into a corridor of weightlessness.  It seems that the EXIT and the ENTRY, the GOOD BYE and WELCOME signs do not have any particular places.  Like astronauts in a tube, we have to look, while lost in the dark, at the light that may come through the cracks, to guide and to inspire us to continue forward, to believe that there is some worth in everything and maybe wealth is not what we thought at first.
Is wealth something that one can find, like a fat wallet on the sidewalk?  How can wealth be lost?  How can it be found and how can it be maintained?  Maybe it happens simply, by fortune, while strolling down by the lake, by the river, or going home late at night.  Maybe it happens by ingenuity.  Perhaps it is a bit of both, luck and skills, patience and audacity.
FOUNDWEALTH is constructed around a few historical moments.  In 1776, the Scottish economist, Adam Smith wrote in his book An inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations about the invisible hand that comes and regulates the economy.  In 1848, John August Sutter, the man who was in the process, through his sawmills, of becoming one of the wealthiest man on the Pacific coast, was ruin by the discovery of gold on his own property.  In 1891, the Pope Leo the 13th wrote an encyclical letter on the condition of the working classes.  References to the work of Alchemists; the all-purpose curative liquid A.K.A. – Snake Oil; and the Greased Pole where goods where hung during village fairs inform this installation.
FOUNDWEALTH is a poetic reflection and a kind of frontal collision-relationship of the rich and the poor.  It is a bridge made of burning rags and thrown over the abyss where the river called Economy runs furiously.  I want the carpet-cleaning trainee to talk to the capital risk investor.  I want to know if the parents are telling the story of how the good RSSP bear grew so big in their own forest preserve.
FOUNDWEALTH is made up of seven works.  Those works bear reference to the number 7, which has always held a powerful and mystical place in History.  We only have to think of the Seven Seas; the navigable waters of the world; forming that road to treasure and adventure; the Seven Marvels of the World which included the lighthouse in Alexandria; the Seventh Heaven where God and the most exalted angels dwell; the Seven Deadly Sins (among them, Envy); and the Seven Eleven, a place where you can buy a 6-49 ticket.
Daniel Dugas, Shemogue NB February 1999

 

Daniel Dugas peers into a glass sculpture that is part of his recent art installation, FOUNDWEALTH

Art by Installation

Daniel Dugas’ last exhibit forced viewers to questions what it means to be wealthy
By Alison Hughes
in Sackville

LUMINOUS lighting emanates from seven surfaces in the dim room. It radiates through yellow plastic beads, shines on carved glass and illuminates messages set into plain white walls.

The exhibit’s overall effect is deceptively simple, but behind the constructions making up Daniel Dugas’ latest art installation is a complex thought process. Drawing on influences from medieval alchemy to modem economics, FOUNDWEALTH uses audiotapes, found art objects and sculpture to examine conflicting ideas about what it means to be wealthy.

A self-described “pluri­ disciplinary artist,” Dugas has been pushing the artistic envelope since completing a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at the Université de Moncton, in 1986. His resume includes 12 solo exhibitions, 24 two-person and group shows, as well as dozens of audio, video, radio and performance credits.
Dugas bas received numerous Canada Council and provincial Creation grants for his projects, along with funding from several art institutes. These have led to travel opportunities throughout North America, Europe and Asia, including a role as a Canadian representative at the 1997 Jeux de La Francophonie, in Madagascar.
While working for a year at the Banff Centre for the Arts, Dugas met and began collaborating with his partner Valerie LeBlanc. Together, they headed off to the Art Institute of Chicago.

With LeBlanc originally from Halifax and Dugas raised primarily in Moncton, the two eventually moved to New Brunswick. Here, they gained notoriety in 1996 by travelling to small towns with an exhibit known as the Trunk Gallery. People paid a dollar to look inside the hatchback of a Citation to see the couple’s custom-designed audiovisual installation. After Peter Gzowski interviewed them about this unique way of taking art to the people, they received calls from all across the country.

“A lot of people would go to a Legion, but never to a gallery,” Dugas says. “There’s also a need for more populist art. I think it’s important for an artist to have reactions from many people in order to grow.”

In FOUNDWEALTH, Dugas questions whether wealth is anything more than a marketing illusion in today’s society. The show’s first installation is a wall-mounted piece of beveled glass with the exhibit title etched elegantly into the surface. In front of this hangs a bare bulb with a symbolic and functional string attached.

As a motor on the floor turns noisily around, it moves the string and causes a shadow title on the wall to shrink and grow with rhythmic regularity. This hypnotic motion draws in the viewer, suggesting wealth’s seductive power. Simultaneously, it reveals the crude machinery working behind the scenes to create expensive polished products.

Dugas cleverly combines public perceptions with personal research in offering his insights into the origins of wealth. Central to this installation, both physically and conceptually, is a circular light table. A pole rising from the centre represents the medieval greased pole where foodstuffs used to be hung during celebrations, for those hungry, agile and determined enough to reach them.

On the table itself, seven carefully chosen found objects are displayed like jewels. Each of the items, from a broken doll to a pinecone, has a word written on the surface, forming the sentence “I always thought there were seven seas.”

“The roots of wealth were originally the seven seas,” Dugas explains. “But when I got out a globe, I counted 33 seas. It’s like the growth of wealth parallels the number of seas. That’s the terrible beauty of the free market, that it always finds a way to grow,” he says. “It’s both creativity and cancer, and the role of society is to decide the boundaries.”

A voluminous and eclectic reader, Dugas explored economic limits in the exhibit through three seemingly unrelated men: 18th-century Scottish founder of capitalism Adam Smith, late-19th-century Pope Leo the 13th and mid-19th-century California lumber baron John Sutter.

A white plaster hand mounted in an opening in the gallery wall symbolizes the “invisible hand” Smith described as regulating the free-market economy.

Sutter serves as a warning that even hard work and capability aren’t enough to ensure wealth if the timing is wrong. The millionaire sawmill owner was ruined by the discovery of gold on his property and the subsequent gold rush fever. In the exhibit, a carefully crafted walnut light table holds a pile of yellow plastic beads that look like gold, but have no inherent value.

Having lived the hand-to-mouth existence of an artist for many years, Dugas has given considerable thought to the role of money in society. Like a magpie, he picked up shiny fragments about wealth from novels, financial pages and personal observations during the year it took to assemble the show.

While this installation hasn’t been purchased by a collecting institution, as others have been in the past, Dugas considers it a success. As he begins to dismantle these pieces, though, his mind is on the multitude of other projects awaiting attention. He has just published his fourth poetry chapbook and together with Ms. LeBlanc is preparing more manuscripts for a launch later this spring. Then, there is another word-based project involving parking lots and an audio production already under way. Dugas is also a musician.

“Projects are like kids. The one that squeaks the most gets finished,” he laughs. “Valerie is a very productive artist too. Often we say ‘gee, wouldn’t it be nice to just look out the window and be bored?’ ”

As well as pursuing their own art projects, the couple runs a high-end glass-carving business, producing presentation items and architectural details. Both enjoy the freedom of working together at home in Shemogue, not far from Shediac. Dugas still feels the urgency to communicate ideas through painting, sculpture and other media. Whether the projects are about nature and civilization, media manipulation, or found wealth, he plans to continue making art that stimulates thought about challenging subjects.

“With the crossing of the two millenniums, we’re a bit like in a corridor of weightlessness; the entry and the exit signs, the welcome and the goodbye signs, we don’t seem to have a specific place,” he muses. “I think it’s very important to have a feeling of hope and of the importance of what you’re doing- that it’s of value. ”

Telegraph Journal
April 17, 1999

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Daniel H. Dugas

Artiste numérique, poète et musicien, Daniel Dugas a participé à des expositions individuelles et de groupe ainsi qu’à plusieurs festivals et événements de poésie en Amérique du Nord, en Europe, au Mexique et en Australie. Son neuvième recueil de poésie L’esprit du temps / The Spirit of the Time vient de paraître aux Éditions Prise de parole.

Daniel Dugas is a poet, musician and videographer. He has participated in solo and group exhibitions as well as festivals and literary events in North America, Europe, Mexico and Australia. His ninth book of poetry: L’esprit du temps / The Spirit of the Time has just been published by Les Éditions Prise de parole.

Daniel Dugas es poeta, músico y videocreador. Ha participado en exposiciones individuales y colectivas, festivals y eventos literarios en Norteamérica, Europa, México y Australia. Acaba de publicar su noveno poemario, L’esprit du temps / The spirit of time (Les Editions Prise de parole).

L’esprit du temps / The Spirit of the Time est un projet de transmutation du paysage publicitaire en paysage poétique. Ce livre est à la fois un livre de photographie, un recueil de poésie et un essai lucide mais ludique sur notre société matérialiste. Il a été produit en numérique et imprimé en quantité limitée.

Date : Décembre 2015
Genre : Poésie
Collection : Poésie
ISBN : 9782894239629

Éditions Prise de parole

http://www.prisedeparole.ca/auteurs/?id=148

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