Stan Douglas b. 1960
Deux devises & Onomatopoeia (1983-1986)
Stan Douglas, video and installation artist, photographer (b at Vancouver 1960) Douglas graduated from the Emily Carr College of Art and Design in 1982, and was included the following year in the Vancouver Art Gallery's important survey Vancouver: Art and Artists 1931-1983. The slide/sound installation Deux Devises of 1982-83 offers an early key to his concerns, juxtaposing a 19th-century love song by Charles Gounod with slide-dissolves to lyrics as typed translation with English subtitles on an empty screen; the second segment shows Douglas's own mouth forming the words to a soundtrack of Robert Johnson's "Preachin' Blues" from 1936. This contrast of salon sensibility and blues lament is jarring and acute, a challenge to both identity and cultural assumptions or standards. As a black growing up in a predominantly white culture, Douglas has noted his sense of underlying alienation, a self unreflected in the surround of popular images.