#41, Vague, Mercurial Afternoon, The New Coterie, 2009
coloured pencil on wove paper
127 x 96.5 cm
National Gallery of Canada (no. 43055)
Title should be striken for label output up to and including "Mercurial Afternoon"
Derek Sullivan inter-mixes art historical and wider cultural references in poetic ways in his work. The "Poster Drawing" series (2006-) "culls from innumerable pop, commercial and avant-garde sources to present caricatures of meaning and reference." His titles have specific connotations - "well hung snow white tan," are lyrics from David Bowie's song "Ziggy Stardust," chosen in part because the colour evokes the singer's dyed orange-red hair. "Mercurial Afternoon" suggests "mercury in its viscous, liquid state." The open-ended process of re-interpreting the works with each new exhibition is reflected in the way previous titles are struck out and the newest added, mirroring the inherent relationship between the audience and context.