Patrick Robideau constructs to remember
A voyeur of the self
Images courtesy of the gallery and artist
For some, little things like the smell of a flower or the taste of a candy loved in childhood can evoke powerful memories. For artist Patrick Robideau, it takes a house, constructed by the artist using wood, nails, plaster, shingles, and paint, and placed in a gallery. An exhibition now on view at Jamestown Community College’s Weeks Gallery features the latest in a series of lifesize installations by Robideau, inviting gallery visitors to inhabit—if only for a few minutes—the dark physical manifestations of his dream world. They can do so in complete safety, too, because this is an artist who knows how to build.
For the past couple of decades, Robideau has been exploring the architecture of his surroundings and his memory, creating a running landscape of postindustrial ruins. Some of them take the form of small sculptures, often miniaturized versions of abandoned buildings, like those Robideau has seen in the beaten-down landscape of certain neighborhoods in Niagara Falls, where he grew up.
With larger structures like this current installation, however, he leaves the world of the particular to evoke the larger domain of dreams and memories. The structure is a shell meant to trigger experience, not tell a specific narrative. It’s meant to disconcert and disrupt, taking visitors out of their expected realities and placing them in a realm where there are no expectations.
It took Robideau six months to build the structure currently residing in Weeks Gallery. After the show, the materials used to make it will be donated to Habitat for Humanity. It’s worth the drive to Jamestown to encounter this carefully assembled enigma before its deconstruction.
Patrick Robideau: Hidden Room is on display until December 6 at Weeks Gallery, Sheldon Center, 161 James Avenue, on JCC’s Jamestown Campus. For more information, call 338-1301