Brandon Vickerd is a Hamilton based artist and Professor of Sculpture at York University, where he also serves as Chair of the Department of Visual Arts and Art History. He received his BFA from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (1999) and his MFA from the University of Victoria (2001).
Purposely diverse, his studio work straddles the line between high and low culture, acting as a catalyst for critical thought and addressing the failed promise of a modernist future predicated on boundless scientific advancement. Whether through craftsmanship, the creation of spectacle, or humor, the goal of his work is to provoke the viewer into questioning the dominate myth of progress ingrained in Western world views.
Vickerd has extensive experience in large scale public art projects that seek to engage a diverse audience. A recent public performance Dance of the Cranes (Edmonton AB and Washington DC ) consisted of a choreographed dance performed by multiple high-rise construction cranes perched on top of buildings in the respective downtown cores. Staged for Nuit Blanche Edmonton and Capitol Fringe in Washington DC, these projects were the culmination of a collaborative partnership with the crane operators and developers that operated on the site. These projects are an example of collaborating with non-arts professionals to develop a project that was meaningful to both the participants and the audience. The resulting performances created the sensation that the entire city became a stage for performance, effectively immersing the audience within the spectacle.
Most recently Vickerd was awarded a commission for a permanent installation by the Edmonton Arts Council. The sculpture, entitled Wildlife, consists of two bronze figures that appear to be citizens leisurely going about their day. However, upon inspection the figures reveal themselves to be composed of squirrels, raccoons, foxes, owls, and other animals working together to appear human. Humorously referencing cartoon clichés, this sculpture invites a thoughtful reflection on our relationship to nature. Wild Life challenges viewers’ perceptions by making a seemingly mundane scene extraordinary: an average-looking person morphs into a conglomeration of animals that is both shocking and intriguing and reveals the extraordinary possibilities beneath the mundane we take for granted.
Vickerd has received numerous awards and grants from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Toronto Arts Council, and the Ontario Arts Council.