Let me tell you

Dan Murray looks at the new installation by Newfoundland ex-pat Michael Young, “Tell Me About It.”

Why is it that so often when an expatriate Newfoundlander comes home to exhibit art about Newfoundland, it ends up being a romantic ideal for tourists to swarm to?

When I heard about Tell Me About It, Michael Young’s exhibit opening at the Eastern Edge, though, I was intrigued. It’s about rural Newfoundland (and also St. Pierre and Miquelon,) but it deals with stories that stretch beyond the depletion of fish stocks.

Young depicts the changing culture in Newfoundland and St. Pierre and Miquelon using a combination of folk and contemporary tales, reinterpreting and exaggerating where he sees fit.

By including sketches and drawings from all stages of the process and not just the final work, the installation is also the story of how Young found and grew to understand these tales.

Many of the illustrations appear to be highly influenced by comic book artwork, but at times this is contrasted by more abstract imagery, as seen in “Mamie Maison.”

Telling stories of identity, sexuality and communication through what Young describes as a “truly one-sided perspective” challenges how we view our past and forces us to ask ourselves what stories have been left untold.

Tell Me About It looks to the traditional outport family driving an S.U.V. to go check out a big box store to show that the world is interconnected, and that Newfoundland has potential artistic subjects other than its landscapes.

Young currently resides in Halifax, but he was raised in Grand Falls-Windsor by a Newfoundlander father and a St-Pierraise mother. He moved away to pursue a fine arts education at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (NSCAD) where he focused on lithography, printmaking and painting. Since then, Young has had a number of solo and group shows in Halifax and has begun to create installations using sculpture and other media.

Tell Me About It opens at the Eastern Edge Gallery, 72 Harbour Drive, on March 10 alongside an exhibit by Quebec’s Kim Waldron “The Dad Tapes/The Mom Photographs”. Opening reception at 3pm. Both shows run until April 21.