Derek Michael Besant RCA
 
Derek Michael Besant is well known for his unorthodox use of materials and technology in creating exhibitions, installations and collaborations as a Canadian artist.  The hybrid forms he realizes often include soundtracks that relate to his themes of memory, language, and the body as metaphor.  
 
The dislocation of the figure often haunts his imagery, whether he explores the themes of Sleep, Dreams, Migration, Forgetting, Falling, Silence, Reflection or Submersion.  The physical / psyche balance is always in question in Besant’s projects, from his illusion in the form of a 50 foot high mural of a pinned veil on a building façade, a transported 115 foot high Waterfall to the heart of Toronto’s Banking District,  two mammoth steel chairs balanced on one another  or a stretch of prairie sky  arching over six lanes of traffic;  his public art pieces always take on their own life within the setting they are integrated into.
 
Besant’s exhibitions in museums are often constructed around the ephemeral underpinnings of a concept without answers... only questions.  Figures blur into oblivion, fall out  of reach into nothing, leave their impressions in unmade motel bed sheets or sink below surfaces in poetic choreographed movements accompanied by strange soundscapes.  These audio works including voice patterns reconstructed as water, train stations and freeways from London to Tokyo, bird and insect territorial calls erased by wind, or overheard partial phone conversations.  But there is always a connection to the tactile materiality and the breath of whatever subtle gestures are investigated in his work.  
 
“Derek Besant is a bright light in big cities, thanks to his unorthodox designs and wide-open approach to the arts...”    – Paula Simons / from The Globe and Mail, Mr. Big Stuff, 1989