Saturday, 17 May 2014

Structures 24-34: Michael Deforge and our national objects

Our National Structures

Returning from the Toronto Comics Arts Festival (TCAF) with an interesting mix of books, graphic novels and mini-comics. I'll try to review them all as soon as I can. Let's begin shall we.

Structures 24-34 by Michael Deforge is the third mini-comic in "Uncivilized Books" series "Structures". In this series, various artists are contributing various structures or objects in a mini-comic format. I haven't yet seen the previous minis (Structure 1-11 by Tom Kaczynski and Structures 12-23 by Vincent Stall), but I will seek them out shortly to get a better perspective on this project. 

Deforge's structures are a fantastic showcase of his artistic talent. I would recommend to anyone who have not yet done so to seek out his material, in particular, Lose, Very Casual and Ant Colony. In Structures, Deforge uses a familiar and recurring technique which occurs in many of his previous work, the juxtaposition of the descriptive, emotionless text and strange, inexplicable and esoteric drawings. He used this technique previously in Lose #4 in the story on Canadian Royalties and in Very Casual in The Spotting Deer short story. A clean description, almost like an encyclopedia entry, mixed with unusual, mystifying drawings that both enhances the words and confound the readers. There is a profound disconnect between what one read and therefore expects, and what one sees in the art. It is not however discomforting or disagreeable. It somehow manage to enhance the reading experience. It is engaging, fascinating.

Structures 24-34 is all about Canada's national objects, Chairs, fire places, stairs, etc. There is still a disconnect between what is written and what is illustrated, but it is stripped to it's most basic element. What we read is "National insert something". It allows the artist to expand on what is written and shatter expectations. This constant theme (national objects) allows for countless variations on the mundane objects and amaze the reader. This is very much an art book and it looks absolutely fabulous. 

Michael Deforge's "National Fire Place"

I only wish the book was bigger. At 5.25 by 7 inches, this book is much too small to enjoy the art to it's fullest. Uncivilized books should be congratulated for publishing such a weird little experiment. I just wish I could gaze at this art on a larger page. It would have been impressive. Perhaps it will be if they ever collect the entire Structures.

But perhaps the size is not the point. I was basking in it's glory over 20 small pages. Marvelling at various shapes and forms and for a short little while, I transcended the realm of reality to stare at our national living room, our yards, our ladders, and it was magnificient.

No comments:

Post a Comment