Ferguson’s new installation accentuated the monumental authority embodied in the gallery space while adding a suitably millennial, elegiac overlay, thus engaging both the physical architecture of the MSVU Art Gallery and its ritual function. 1,000,000 Grapes is composed of 100 square, stretched canvases stencilled in black with an irregular, dot-like motif (or 10,000 “grapes”), installed in a closely spaced grid so as to fill the gallery’s double-height walls. The paintings were presented serially, sequenced in order of their production.
The veteran teacher at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (NSCAD) rationalizes his use of stencils thus:
To avoid inflected marks, to give distance and a simple craft-like basis to the work, to use modularity as a compositional device and to keep the process and concept visible and readable at a glance by the viewer.
An illustrated catalogue with an essay by Ingrid Jenkner and an artist’s book accompanied the exhibition.