Installed along the entry staircase to the Belkin Art Gallery, Wood for the People features 214 pieces of concrete cast in the shape of wood and stacked in the form of a woodpile. The work suggests a romantic pastoral landscape and appears misplaced on the manicured grounds of UBC, thereby inserting a sense of irony. Because of their texture and arrangement, especially after being exposed to the weather, the logs convincingly resemble firewood stacked and ready for use, though the material betrays its status as an architectural folly and lends the work the appearance of a ruin or even a fossil. Seen in this light, the work makes a statement about environmental and economic issues particular to British Columbia. The work also references a barricade, a reading that transforms it from a benign woodpile to a politically charged piece that raises questions about control and access at the University.
Myfanwy MacLeod (b. 1961) was born in London, ON and currently resides in Vancouver. She completed her BFA in Film at Concordia University in Montreal, and in 1994 received an MFA from UBC where her advisor was Jeff Wall. Her work has been exhibited across Canada and abroad and she received the VIVA award from the Jack and Doris Shadbolt Foundation in 1999.
Other outdoor works in Vancouver by MacLeod include The Birds (2010) at Olympic Village and Playtime (2016) at BC Women’s and Children’s Hospital. Both express the characteristic sense of humour and whimsy prevalent in her work.