The VICTORIA TIMES COLONIST
Fiery Art Leaves Patrons Gasping
By BILL THOMAS
The Intermedia show which opened Wednesday at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria left patrons quite breathless — not due to the quality of the exhibition but rather from what was described as "volumes of acrid smoke that billowed from what was described as a blazing fire sculpture by the Vancouver artist Vincent Trasov."
The "fire sculpture" proved to be a short trail of incendiary powder that was ignited by the Intermedia group while others player colored light on the smoke.
The fire was unspectacular nothing like on a par with the Shawnigan Lumber blaze, but it did send many of the audience away gasping.
Not only was the sculpture not quite the spectacle intended, but other things went wrong.
The major work by Audrey Doray, a combination of color, light and sound, went on the blink More accurately it went on the non-blink.
The marriage of electronics and modern art was certainly no picture of connubial bliss. The lights worked and the colors flashed, but the electronic part showed immaturity. Everything was roses when the column was tested by its engineer, but it quit on opening night.
* * *
The water sculpture looked more promising, but it too was having slight technical difficulties. This item is made by suspending what looks like a clear plastic baby bath over a set of colored bulbs. The light shines through the clear plastic and then through the water. Special effects were obtained by dripping colored liquid into the water. For some perverse reason, the blue color line gave up and the result was a pallid red that tinged to murky brown.
* * *
Greg Birbsall's plastic box that glowed when stimulated by external sound was in fine form and did all that was called for. David Knox's boxes glowed placidly and generally delighted an audience happy to find something that worked.
The touch organ by Dennis Vance groaned and screamed with the aid of electronic amplification. If this is what it was intended to do, it's safe to assume that it was working.
* * *
It would seem incredible that the Canada Council would donate $54,000 to such an amateurish project.
The show was billed as designed especially for this Victoria showing, and the gallery has been closed all week as the show assembled. It drew a better than average audience, and the pity is that many people left feeling it was a hoax.
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