Our next Artist You Need To Know is Patrick Traer.
Traer’s background incorporates writing and psychology. He earned a BA in English Literature from the University of Saskatchewan and an MFA from York University, Toronto. He was a professor of fine arts at the University of Saskatchewan for 18 years, having a significant hand in shaping not just that art school but the larger artistic community, before leaving to teach at Concordia University in Montréal.
A critic responding to a survey exhibition of Traer’s works in 2014 offered the following: “Traer…exhibits work that occupies a rare space between sculpture, furniture and fine craft. His often-momentous objects and stitched drawings seem unusual – even absurd – as they push, and often break, boundaries of material and idea. Sometimes seductive, sometimes unsettling, his work often refers to the body while supplanting it: stitching as veins, vinyl and wood as flesh, shot taffeta as skin.” (from Galleries West)
Traer has also taught at the Emily Carr Institute of Art &Design, the University of Lethbridge, the University of Saskatchewan and York University.
He is best known for his large format drawings, embroidered textile works and upholstered sculptures which often extend into mixed media installations using video, photography, light-boxes, and blown glass. These works reference incubation periods, biologicalobsolescence, and mythologies of human anatomy. But he has also produced large sculptures that blend and challenge aspects of art and furniture (such as some of the works we’ve shared here, colloquially referred to as the Teabagging series) with objects that have a seductively tactile nature. There is a focused concern on the creation of a beautiful, seductive art object in much of Traer’s works.
Trader has been exhibited widely across Canada and internationally. Significant displays of his artwork (solo and group shows) have been mounted at The Contemporary Art Gallery (Vancouver), Presentation House Gallery (now Polygon Gallery, Vancouver), The Vancouver Art Gallery, The Mendel Art Gallery (now the Remai Modern) in Saskatoon (several times, including a two person show with a previously featured Artist You Need To Know Janet Werner), The Walter Philips Gallery (Banff, AB), The Dunlop Art Gallery (Regina, SK), Plug-in (Winnipeg, MB), YYZ (Toronto, ON), Textile Museum of Canada (Toronto, ON), Parisian Laundry (Montréal, QC), the Sheehan Gallery (Washington, D.C. USA), Kenderdine / College Art Galleries (University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK), OBORO (Montréal, QC) and The Walker Art Centre (Minneapolis, MN, USA). He has received numerous awards from both the Saskatchewan Arts Board (SAB) and the Canada Council, including the Canada Council Paris Studio.
From here: “There’s a contradiction between the carnality of Traer’s objects and their meticulous industrial manufacture. Often, especially with the demonstratively “queer” aspects of some pieces, fetish and art become indistinguishable. Traer worked with several technicians, and frequently – such as how his technician for the testicular Stoppers works in automotive upholstery, another space of hyper-masculinity – this adds another layer.”
Several articles about Patrick Traer’s work can be found here and here. A short video, produced by OBORO in Montréal (in tandem with his exhibiition there) can be enjoyed here.