For the Narc Mine Exhibition
New Glasgow, NS, Spring 2013
Rural Nova Scotia communities are bemused, bewildered and beholden to vehicles, a relationship shaped by economics, globalization, gender, age and class. For the Narc Mine exhibit, I propose to re-imagine the ubiquitous 1997 half-ton Chevrolet truck by adding the fins of a Cadillac. Mixing the generic lines of the truck, a "utilitarian worker’s vehicle,” with the coveted classy look of the Cadillac fins, I will playfully create a multi-purpose, multi-class work and leisure vehicle.
The Chevrollac, parked on a downtown New Glasgow Street, will be situated at the edge of a community art exhibit yet provides a 24/7 accessible gallery space of its own. Looking in the vehicle windows, the viewer will instantly recognize a sculpted clay figure of local MP and federal cabinet minister, Peter MacKay. Portrayed in a relaxed fashion enjoying his time in The Chevrollac, the viewer perceives MacKay as "hanging out" in this unlikely community context. Contrasting the working-class symbol of the truck with its well travelled inhabitant, The Chevrollac will spark surprise and a deeper examination of rural class structure, masculinity, and power.
The Chevrollac builds upon a functional vehicle sculpture created in 2005, entitled The Folkmobile. My first foray into working with automobiles as a site for social examination, The Folkmobile was a 1991 Buick Century car covered with cedar shingles. It was a logical multi-media project for a moonlighting artist and carpenter. I built a satirical oversize wooden “spoiler” which served both as a functional ladder rack and an exaggerated symbol of contemporary masculinity.
Like The Folkmobile, The Chevrollac challenges and disrupts perceptions and social norms surrounding rural (particularly male) identification with vehicles. The Chevrollac is a catalyst for gendered class conversations in public spaces. Transportation figures prominently in rural lives; trucks serve as symbols of work, and lately more often leisure. Vehicles are a tangible means of navigating geographic and social distances. The Chevrollac engages a physical, vernacular language to challenge how we perceive ourselves and our social status through our vehicles.