Artist biography

Canadian photographer and filmmaker, lives and works in Vancouver. After studying at the Emily Carr College of Art in Vancouver (1979–82), he began making films and videos that reflect on issues of culture and technology and on the relationship between popular representations of history and subjectivity. In 1988 long-term research culminated in an essay and exhibition that gathered together Samuel Beckett's eight works for film and television. Samuel Beckett: Teleplays, touches on themes of alienation, displacement and the collapse of subjectivity that Douglas explores in his film and video installations. For his slide installation Onomatopoeia, (1985–6), lasting six minutes in each rotation, Douglas projected 154 black-and-white images of an empty textile factory on to a screen hanging over an 88-note player-piano that played bars from Beethoven's C Minor Sonata, Opus 11; the selected refrain sounded uncannily like a ragtime piece. By isolating this phenomenon Douglas pointed to the difficulties of interpreting history from an unbiased perspective. The complex structure of Douglas's audio-visual installations is often based on long periods of research, as in the case of Pursuit, Fear, Catastrophe: Ruskin B.C. (1993), which explores the history and effects of industrialisation on an area of British Columbia known as Ruskin. The social aspect of his work can be compared with that of a group of artists based in Vancouver, including Jeff Wall and Rodney Graham, who began during the 1980s to examine the socially and environmentally detrimental effects of industry and technology on their surroundings.

Stan Douglas (exh. cat., essays C. van Assche, J.-C. Royoux and P. Culley, Paris, Pompidou, 1994)
S. Watson, D. Thater and C. J. Clover: Stan Douglas (London 1998)

10 December 2000

Article provided by Grove Art Online