Track Top Masks
The work of mixed-media artist Miles Collyer comes completely out of left field.
Perhaps this explains the initial and contradictory mix of puzzlement and familiarity one feels when looking at it. Multicoloured balaclavas, felt flags with Islamic script, exploding blankets, neon colour wheels . . . His choice of materials and motifs disorient one’s conditioned aesthetic response to art. The “beautiful” or “emotive” signatures of the work exist at a remove, if at all. Maybe we’re being toyed with, for at first glance his choices seem arbitrary, random, even frivolous. Individual works exist in isolation from one another, and don’t seem to add up to anything like a consistent aesthetic vision. Initially it’s difficult to see the bigger picture. But the more you gaze at his work the more arresting and uncanny it becomes. One can’t deny its consistent visual power; the eye is drawn to it again and again. And though each piece seems to operate autonomously, what does become clear with repeated viewings is the presence of a witty (in its best sense, underscoring and informing every piece), risk-taking artist with an eye for images that sear themselves in the mind, and a tactile sensitivity and receptivity that seeks and permits composition with all manner of material.
Difficult to categorize, Collyer’s work bears an unmistakable Warhol/Pop-art influence, often drawing themes and techniques from popular and occasionally not so popular culture. In all fairness to Collyer, he darkly edges beyond mere expression or exploitation of banal or kitschy cultural elements. Born in Toronto in 1983, a 2006 graduate of the Ontario College of Art, Collyer represents a new generation of Canadian artists emerging on the scene – technically sound, brash, and brimming with fresh ideas.
Miles Collyer gratefully acknowledges the support of the
Canada Council for the Arts.
TrackTop Masks: blue down 2006,
one eye 2004, and purple white 2006
State Art Collection, Art Gallery of Western Australia
© Miles Collyer 2004—2006