From the review by Chris Dupuis:
"Not Your typical Boy Scout" Xtra, Toronto, Friday, March 02, 2012
The exhibition’s title had less to do with the collection Vocat is presenting than his overarching experience of being an artist. Originally a reference to the process of lifelong learning through trial and error in Zen Buddhist practice, he found it an appropriate metaphor for his life’s work....
“As an artist, you just keep putting stuff out there, trying to make sense of it and hoping it will resonate with other people,” the York University graduate says. “I think if I keep making mistakes and keep carrying on it’s a good thing. I don’t want to pretend I have all the answers about my work. There’s a vulnerability I like in the idea.”
As with past works, Vocat also makes liberal use of Boy Scout iconography. Often taken directly from the organization’s handbooks, his iconically scarf-necked patch-sleeved boys cavort as they challenge behavioural norms, sexuality and constructs of masculinity. A 12-year Scout veteran himself (that’s Beavers to Ventures for those in the know), much of Vocat’s time growing up was spent within the organization’s fold...
“Once I was away from Scouting for a while I started to rethink what was taught,” he says. “I wanted to be critical of the more militaristic aspects of Scouting, but I am also appreciative of the better parts, like striving to be a good person, being generous and helping other people out.
“Growing up is a pretty loaded and turbulent time, so it only makes sense it’s pretty rich with possibility for art,” he adds. “I remember looking at those Scout handbooks and how pure everyone was. That seemed miles away from my experiences of nearly lighting our leader’s tent on fire and running around in the woods all night in our underwear.”
(We'll post installation shots soon!)