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John Massey

Professor Emeritus

Since 1979, Canadian artist John Massey has exhibited nationally and internationally. He has worked in installation, video, photography and sculpture. His early practice focused on large-scale installations, sometimes using scale models of architectural interiors to figure as mindscapes. The intimate scale of these miniaturized interiors coupled with the gigantesque presence of the viewer created a context for his interest in desire and projection.

Transforming a mundane event into a surreal juxtaposition, Massey’s three-channel film installation, As the Hammer Strikes (A Partial Illustration) (1982), is a continuous thirty-minute take of a conversation between the artist and a hitchhiker. The central screen — shot in colour from the rear of a van travelling through a rural landscape — is flanked on either side by pulsing black and white filmed images. The left screen illustrates the speech of the driver and the right screen that of the passenger.

With the advent of computer graphic technologies in the early ‘90s, Massey was able to fashion his narratives using new digital tools with increasing skill and innovation. Over the years he has developed a collage language that embodies an emotional content while rigorously asking rhetorical and structural questions of his selected media.