Exquisite Corpse: Gods of Rock
Laurie Langford & Marshall Heaton
August 29 - September 22, 2018
Leamington Arts Centre
opening reception: Friday, September 14 from 7pm - 9pm
The Gods of Rock (centre panel detail), by Laurie Langford artist, 2018.
Exquisite Corpse: Gods of Rock
Marshall Heaton & Laurie Langford
Music rallies the masses. Music is political. Music creates emotions faster and with greater regularity than any other type of art. Music soothes savage beasts (and artists). Music is everything.
Marshall and Laurie got together back in 2017 to discuss an exhibition, and ended up lamenting the recent deaths of some of their Rock Gods. After four minutes of intense deliberation, these two artists decided to create an exhibition to celebrate and pay homage to these Rock Gods.
But with a twist.
This exhibition is based on the children’s game of ‘Exquisite Corpse’. You remember that game? Three people gather. You take a piece of paper and fold it in three. The first person draws a head and flips the top part of the page over so that the drawing can’t be seen. The next person draws a body on the middle part of the page, and then flips the page over. And the last person draws the legs. Then the page is unfolded and everyone has a good laugh about how silly the disjointed creature looks.
As you will see, Marshall and Laurie have done the same thing. Laurie combed the internet and found photographs of Rock Gods, then emailed them to Marshall. Marshall enlarged each photo and divided each photo into three strips. He made large printing plates of each strip and then re-assembled the images on newsprint. Thanks to Marshall, who is a deconstructionist at heart, Gord Downie has Amy Winehouse’s body. Amy Winehouse has Janis Joplin’s legs. He created random arrangements, but with a purpose. The term ‘Exquisite Corpse’ has a deliberate double meaning because all the Rock Gods featured in this exhibition are no longer alive. The pieces and/or layers reflect the fact that each Rock God drew inspiration from, and built upon, the music and cultural impact of the Rock Gods who went before them. Songs have a soul, and you can often sense the presence of many Rock Gods with a single song. Without Janis Joplin, there would be no Amy Winehouse. Without Stompin’ Tom Connors, there would be no Gord Downie. Marshall and Laurie still listen to the music created by these Rock Gods as they, too, channel the muse and create their own art.
Laurie created the large collage, Gods of Rock. Building upon the ‘Exquisite Corpse’ theme, she collaged heads of Jesus (from antique etchings) onto the bodies of Rock Gods and placed them on a large stage. It is her comment on the cult of celebrity, within which musicians become God-like to their fans. Music is a religion for many people and their relationship to the music is, in the most fundamental sense, the same as a religious relationship to the real world. Jim Morrison will always be The Lizard King. Michael Jackson was the King of Pop. Aretha Franklin was the Queen of Soul. Elvis will always be THE King.
We hope you enjoy Exquisite Corpse: Gods of Rock, and the memories that arise from seeing these images.
-Marshall Heaton and Laurie Langford, September 2018