“Troy Dugas’ Centered at Barbara Archer Gallery,” BURNAWAY.ORG

 Troy Dugas’ Centered at Barbara Archer Gallery

by Jessica Blackenship, BURNAWAY.ORG

Assembling the leftovers of a hyper-consumerist world and reconstructing them

Troy Dugas, Virgin Bourbon, 2009

into forms in no way reminiscent of their buy-and-sell origins rouses a fond serenity. In his solo exhibition Centered at Barbara Archer Gallery, Troy Dugas accomplishes this in perhaps the most fulfilling way possible. After all, what opposes consumerism, marketing, and labels more than mandalas and religiously tinged spreads that are all about rhythmic pattern and domestic tradition?

Troy Dugas, Ship II, 2010. Vintage prints on wood panel, 36 x 48 inches. Image courtesy Barbara Archer Gallery


Troy Dugas, Ship II, 2010


The undeniable element of spirituality is derived neither from the labels themselves nor from their originating products. Rather, the works possess a scavenging spirit, as if their materials were naturally occurring in this other world; the result pays the materials no more heed than if they were anything else. It’s unexpected and extremely satisfying that the large, vibrant, mesmerizing constructions actually demean the labels from which they were made rather than exalting them. Instead, Dugas’ (and affectively, the viewer’s) focus is on the precision and scale of the works. At most, one might wonder where the hell he got so many labels. In a time when artistic statements about consumerism are almost exhaustingly ubiquitous, the typical dialogue between found material and finished product is refreshingly absent from Dugas’ work.Centered also features a number of vintage prints, cut up and re-pieced together. The results—pixilated distortions of the original images—are at least aesthetically congruent, if not contextually disjointed, from the label-made works. The two groups have a similar, somewhat manic level of detail, but unlike the label works, the reworked prints beg viewers to consider what the original material looked like … and it’s not always easy to figure out. But the end product was so pretty that the curiosity didn’t kill me too much.