Q: The titles of the two series of sculptures represented in this exhibition are doors and screens. Can you elaborate on what these two series are about and how they relate to each other?
A: The doors started first where, a kind of ‘figure’ or central image became held within the interval between two flanking walls. But as the figure appeared to affect the character of the wall, it was transformed somewhere within it. So that when you walked around to the opposite side you again sensed this transformation, which sent you back around again. Front/back, back/front, in constant flux. What intrigues and sustains the doors for me (and I don’t mean ‘door’ literally as a representative object) is a hope that each work’s own materiality, its scale and flux of front/back, back/front offers a kind of psychological interior in the viewer’s imagination as to what mystery a door might hold behind it—a secret garden, some kind of inner sanctum. What each door ‘represents’ is a consolidation of a specific set of symbol-forming intentions unique to that sculpture, but as part of a larger, more composite experience.
The screens are by nature more open, more transparent, usually incorporating some sort of ornamental grill that acts as a veiling device. The viewer may find them more ‘enterable’ but I hope the same internal probing occurs.
Douglas Bentham (in conversation with Elizabeth Kidd, curator)
Edmonton Art Gallery, 1993