We exist in a world with many objects, each performing specific task(s). In our efforts to be efficient objects might only register in terms of performance and utility. Michael Drebert identifies such integral aspects or functions of an object, accentuating or attenuating them until they are disabled.

Through this process, an identification and/or comprehension of these objects is transferred or displaced from a recognition of performative function to a consideration of phenomenological existence. In Candle (2004), a manufactured candle is melted down, the wick frayed, and then both components are recast in a mold of its original form. The wick is embedded in the body, and can no longer be lit. Fallen on its side the candle becomes something new. It becomes its process. Wood Stove (2004) is created from the very material it is meant to destroy. Engaging a world of binaries it is both pathetic and noble, a tragedy and a threat. In this confused object, fire is no longer contained. It is projected. The work stands as a monolithic representation of uselessness.

When all expected function is removed from something that we are exposed to every day, it becomes autonomous, and we must reconsider our comprehension of it as a thing in the world. Michael Drebert’s work provides us with some much needed critical distance from the objects we create.

Michael Drebert is a Vancouver based artist. His work examines the frailty/precariousness of objects and systems in an attempt to highlight notions of use and value within a societal context. He makes objects that appear useful at first glance, and focuses on society’s inability to go beyond surface readings. Altering agents that imply use value is an activity driving his practice. Drebert is currently on the Board of Directors at Access ARC in Vancouver while completing a BFA at the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design.

Curated by Julia Marshburn