The Power Plant

Stephen Andrews: Cartoon

Stephen Andrews

Past Exhibition

Nov 30 2007 – Feb 09 2008


Stephen Andrews, Cartoon (detail), 2006. Animation cells, crayon rubbing on frosted Mylar. 27.9 × 41.9 cm. Courtesy of Paul Petro Contemporary Art.


Swapna Tamhane

In what first appears as a distant explosion or flashes of light, we quickly recognize a car racing across a desert to drive directly over us, exposing its underbelly and machinery. Cartoon (2007), a 45-second looped animation by Stephen Andrews, quotes both a car commercial deemed too violent for broadcast and war imagery seen daily in the media. This work alludes to the "safe" relationship of violence in media and children's animation as it concludes with a deer being hit and run over. The car becomes emblematic of what is being fought for in the Middle East – oil – and the desire to maintain our consumerist culture and the "freedom" it allows.

Since 2002, Andrews has been taking images of the Iraq war from the Internet and hand-rendering them in crayon drawings rubbed over a window-screen on mylar. This technique imitates the four-colour dot matrix of a newspaper image. For this exhibition, 380 cell drawings hang closely together; the repeated patterns capture each and every slight movement defining its own process before they are reconstituted into an animation.

This series marks a departure from Andrews's earlier works addressing the loss of the individual in the crowd in hoi polloi (1999) or the evocative renderings of newspaper obituaries of people who died of AIDS in Facsimile (1990–93). The direct interaction with the body politic is now shifted to the politics of media representation, and the use of one image as a distilled symbol for an entire event.

Photo: Rafael Goldchain.

Photo: Rafael Goldchain.

Photo: Rafael Goldchain.

Photo: Rafael Goldchain.

About the Artist

Stephen Andrews

Stephen Andrews was born in 1956 in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada.