"Detail from The Record Shop"
Kevin Ei-Ichi deForest, "Detail from The Record Shop," mixed media on record album covers.
KEVIN EI-ICHI DEFOREST, Fake ID
The Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba, Brandon
Oct. 26 - Nov. 30, 2006
By Dina O'Meara
Identity has always been a subject of intense exploration for multi-media artist Kevin Ei-Ichi deForest. Born in Winnipeg to a Japanese mother and Swiss father, deForest enjoys taking apart “assumed wholeness” and reconstructing personal cultural realities in his works. His installations, paintings and audiovisual works are apolitical, and cross boundaries set decades ago when ethnic artists were involved in Identity Works, a movement celebrating different heritages, deForest says. “It’s art trying to speak about differences, but not in a didactic tone,” he says. “These days it has to work with different approaches, and strategies.”
DeForest’s latest exhibition invites viewers to explore the concept of hybrid identity through a diversity of media. He includes large paintings, a wall of 150 record covers splashed with text and self-portraits, tent-like installations with audio art and videos, such as one showing deForest chasing after himself against a Hitchcock-inspired background. It marks the beginning of a new chapter for deForest, who returned to Manitoba last fall after 15 years in Montreal, and several years studying and living in Holland and Japan. He’s now an assistant professor in the new visual and Aboriginal arts department of Brandon University.