Regional Identity

Some of the features on this page require that JavaScript be enabled.
view previous artwork view next artwork
The House (Woodrow)
Graeme Patterson. Patterson, Woodrow, multimedia, sculpture,installation, video, animation, 3d art, house, foam-core, animated video, rodents, snakes, regional, media, stop-motion, small-town, electronics, three- dimensional, dilapidated, abandoned building,house, ghost town,death, afterlife, rural, rural decline, humour, quaint, artificial, modern, room
description

The Woodrow House is a part of the larger  installationAn art work specially designed to fit in or to make use of a specific type of space. It usually consists of more than one element and relates to the space in which it is displayed.  work Woodrow, in which Patterson has reconstructed his ancestral home as a miniature, cartoonish version of itself. The complete “town”  installationAn art work specially designed to fit in or to make use of a specific type of space. It usually consists of more than one element and relates to the space in which it is displayed.  also includes a hockey rink, a dump, a church, and a projected stretch of video highway.

The house seems to be falling apart, as does most of Patterson’s town; while Patterson is excellent at handling materials to make them look like wood, metal, etc., a closer inspection reveals that the slats making up the walls of the house are foamcore.  FoamcoreA strong, stiff, resilient, and lightweight board of polystyrene laminated with paper on both of its sides. It may be any of several thicknesses, in any of a variety of colours. It is often employed as a surface on which to mount two-dimensional work, and as a material with which to construct three-dimensional work (such as architectural models). Although more expensive than some other cardboards, it is preferred to them for many qualities, including the ease with which it can be cut. Make straight cuts by using an extremely sharp razor knife on top of a mat or other surface that will not be damaged. Draw the knife toward you along the edge of a metal ruler (with finger tips away from that path). Cuts at each of three successive depths will produce a neat edge to the board. (Artlex.com)  is a material familiar to art students, and its use here redeems it from a purely educational material by transforming it under expert hands.

start quoteThe elevator...it's the thing that symbolizes this as a Prairie town, but it's also the heart of the town economically and it's the thing that basically made things happen.end quote
-- Graeme Patterson (CBC Arts 2007)

This synthetic and artificially  dilapidatedTo bring into a condition of decay or partial ruin, by misuse or through neglect; to destroy the fairness and good condition of; -- said of a building. (The Online Plain Text English Dictionary)  façade houses several animated videos. Video rodents and snakes make their way across the floor, emphasizing the absence of people in these built environments. In fact, the only people to inhabit Patterson’s Woodrow House are made of light - ghost-like apparitions that haunt a white, austere, almost crystalline room. This displacement into an artificial,  modernistModernism is an art movement characterized by the deliberate departure from tradition and the use of innovative forms of expression that distinguish many styles in the arts and literature of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.  location concealed within the crumbling exterior suggests that the residents have not only moved out of the town, but may have died, now existing in some version of the afterlife, endlessly repeating the same game of horseshoes in their own private heaven or hell.

Despite presenting this grim view of prairie life, Patterson’s work is actually quite funny. Viewers at the Mendel Art Gallery, when Woodrow was exhibited there, often chuckled as walking through the exhibition. It is therefore evidence of Patterson’s cleverness that he has brought people into the experience first with humour and the seeming awkwardness of his constructions, only to then deliver the real message of his work: “These towns are dying,” we might hear him saying, “and you think it’s quaint.”

You can take a video tour of Patterson's whole town of Woodrow at his Woodrow Map.

additional resources Horseshoes
Monkey and Deer
Pests
Things to Think About
  • Do you think Patterson’s Woodrow is a celebration of prairie life, or the mourning of its loss, or something else entirely?
  • Is the disappearance of small-town Saskatchewan of concern to you? If so, why do you think that is? Is it because you yourself are directly affected by it, or is it because of a perception that Saskatchewan ought to have small towns? If it is not of concern to you, why might that be?
  • Are there changes in your own community, outside of Saskatchewan that suggest/hint at coming changes or small community disappearance? If so, why do you think this is happening?  Ought we to be concerned?
Online Activity
Hello, you either have JavaScript turned off or an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.

Playing with Foley

Match the sound to the description of how it was made.  To hear each sound, click on the Play arrow in each box (make sure your speakers are turned on/up!)

Studio Activity

Graeme Patterson is a mixed  mediaAny material and technique used to produce a work of art (paint, glass, clay, fibre, video, sound, etc.). It may also refer to the liquid with which powdered pigments are mixed to make paint. Note that the plural form of “medium” is “media.”  and  animationGiving movement to a thing. Also, making animated cartoons — films that are also called animations. Types of animation include cel animation, clay animation (also called claymation), and computer animation. (Artlex.com)  artist. This piece (The House) Woodrow is part of a  seriesA number of things or events standing or succeeding in order, and connected by a like relation; sequence; order; course; a succession of things; as, a continuous series of calamitous events. (The Online Plain Text English Dictionary)  of mixed media constructions that make up the Woodrow project. This construction, made from wood, foam\core and electronics, contains three different animations.

To see more views of The House and other constructions that make up Woodrow, and to view Patterson’s animations go to Graeme Patterson’s Woodrow Map at http://www.graemepatterson.com/WoodrowMapFrameSet.htm

Construct a three-dimensional representation of a  dilapidatedTo bring into a condition of decay or partial ruin, by misuse or through neglect; to destroy the fairness and good condition of; -- said of a building. (The Online Plain Text English Dictionary)  building using foamcore and other materials.

  • Look for images of old or abandoned buildings.
  • Or take your own photos if possible. Use these images as a visual reference for your sculpture.
  • Create a plan of the parts of the building you will need to cut from foamcore to construct your building. Consider all external walls and the roof. You may want to create the building as a cutaway meaning that you will be able to see into it. In that case you may also want some internal walls.  Draw these parts out on paper to scale. This will work as your  patternRepeating lines, colours or shapes within a design.  for cutting. 
  • Cut the pieces of your building out of foamcore.  Foamcore is a strong light-weight material made from foam sandwiched between two sheets of paper. Foamcore can be precisely cut with utility knives, cutting blades or an exacto knife.
  • Cut out windows and doors; glue on small strips of foamcore to resemble window frames.
  • The box could conceal audio equipment to add a sound element to the sculpture. (Look at The House and notice the constructed box that holds the electronics.) Consider recording sounds that might be associated with that particular building when it was being used. This could enhance the association of it being an abandoned or “ghost town”.

For more information on constructing with  foamcoreA strong, stiff, resilient, and lightweight board of polystyrene laminated with paper on both of its sides. It may be any of several thicknesses, in any of a variety of colours. It is often employed as a surface on which to mount two-dimensional work, and as a material with which to construct three-dimensional work (such as architectural models). Although more expensive than some other cardboards, it is preferred to them for many qualities, including the ease with which it can be cut. Make straight cuts by using an extremely sharp razor knife on top of a mat or other surface that will not be damaged. Draw the knife toward you along the edge of a metal ruler (with finger tips away from that path). Cuts at each of three successive depths will produce a neat edge to the board. (Artlex.com)  go to Deziner – Written Work –  FoamcoreA strong, stiff, resilient, and lightweight board of polystyrene laminated with paper on both of its sides. It may be any of several thicknesses, in any of a variety of colours. It is often employed as a surface on which to mount two-dimensional work, and as a material with which to construct three-dimensional work (such as architectural models). Although more expensive than some other cardboards, it is preferred to them for many qualities, including the ease with which it can be cut. Make straight cuts by using an extremely sharp razor knife on top of a mat or other surface that will not be damaged. Draw the knife toward you along the edge of a metal ruler (with finger tips away from that path). Cuts at each of three successive depths will produce a neat edge to the board. (Artlex.com)  Modelling.

Studio Activity

Many of Graeme Patterson’s mixed  mediaAny material and technique used to produce a work of art (paint, glass, clay, fibre, video, sound, etc.). It may also refer to the liquid with which powdered pigments are mixed to make paint. Note that the plural form of “medium” is “media.”  buildings include  animationGiving movement to a thing. Also, making animated cartoons — films that are also called animations. Types of animation include cel animation, clay animation (also called claymation), and computer animation. (Artlex.com)  projections. The projections are often of people engaged in a sport or recreational activity inside the buildings. The Woodrow House includes an animated game of horseshoes using puppets and stop-frame animation.

  • If working in a group, assign tasks for creating storyboards, models, backdrops/sets, voiceover or Foley, production and post-production.
  • Edit your script to match the timing and length of the animation.
  • Set up lighting for the production.
  • Begin production. Move the models and their body parts only about one or two centimetres in any direction for each shot. Be sure to change any movement back to the starting position after each shot. (See the link below for detailed instruction and further information on animation.)

Animation 1 Animation 2 Animation 3 Animation 4

To see more of Graeme Patterson’s animations, puppets and  setsThe hardening process of paint, plaster of Paris, concrete, resin, an adhesive, or any other material which must harden before working with it further. (Artlex.com)  for the Woodrow project see:

See the following links for more information on stop-frame  animationGiving movement to a thing. Also, making animated cartoons — films that are also called animations. Types of animation include cel animation, clay animation (also called claymation), and computer animation. (Artlex.com)  and  digitalA system of representing images or objects through numbers. These numbers can then be re-interpreted by another digital system to generate light and sound.  animation production:

  • Animation preparation
  • Clay animation
  • Foley artistry
References

Author unknown.  ‘Artist creates tribute to dying Prairie town.’  CBC Arts.  CBC.ca, January 12, 2007.  Retrieved from the Internet on July 21, 2008 from:  http://www.cbc.ca/arts/artdesign/story/2007/01/12/woodrow-art.html.

Author unknown.  ‘Hockey legend Darryl Sittler's 10-point game becomes work of art.’  What’s on Winnipeg, May 7, 2008.

Author unknown.  ‘Halifax art exhibit explores Canada’s passion for hockey.’  CBC News.  CBC.ca, May 8, 2008.  Retrieved from the Internet on July 21, 2008 from http://www.cbc.ca/arts/artdesign/story/2008/05/07/hockey-art.html.

Cronin, Ray.  Graeme Patterson:  Woodrow.  Exhibition announcement.  Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Halifax, Nova Scotia, 2008.  Retrieved from the Internet on July 21, 2008 from http://www.acad.ab.ca/wh_2008_01_gp.html.

Canadian Heritage University of Regina Mackenzie Art Gallery Mendel Art Gallery Sask Learning