Patrick Mahon

Canadian, b. 1957

Good Boy, 2001

silkscreen on wallpaper

Collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery; Gift of the artist

2008-134.1 to 6


Installation, Canadian Contemporary (1980-present)

Patrick Mahon’s practice is strongly rooted in printmaking and installation, and his work deals with gender identity, relationships, and decoration. Good Boy is part of his series of works referencing wallpaper. The installation’s inspiration comes from the line “every good boy deserves fun,” a chant used to remember the musical scale EGBDF in major key. Yet with this work Mahon critiques the concept of deserving fun as a reward for working hard. He does this by showing images of athletes working out (climbing and exercising on parallel bars). The presence of the male athletes also subverts the stereotypical feminine associations with interior decorating. Not only is the work about masculinity, it is also about human beings’ endless struggle to obtain our goals and fulfill ourselves. The work is about that quest for a time of fun that, for most of us, is at times ever elusive and when obtained is fleeting. Lastly, this “wallpaper” subverts the neutrality of the white cube gallery by reinserting the domestic into the public sphere.

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