Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Artist doubles down on display of Davids

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If you were born Dec. 7, 1959, artist Micah Lexier is looking for you today, even if your name is not David.

Lexier is the local artist famous for his memorable 1994 Winnipeg Art Gallery exhibition A Portrait of David, which consisted of 75 photographs of Davids from one to 75 in age. It was a major hit with the public which led to a sequel project called David Then & Now, which consisted of photos of the original Davids taken 10 years later and presented in bus shelters around the city.

Another decade has passed and the 53-year-old Lexier, who now lives in Toronto, has unveiled his 20th anniversary followup called David's Doubles. For the first time, photo subjects don't have to be named David, they just have to have been born on the same day as one of the original Davids.

"I'm very interested in the passage of time, what time does to us and our bodies," says Lexier, who is back in town hoping to find someone here celebrating his or her 54th birthday Saturday and wants his or her picture taken. "David's Doubles will show how two people born the exact same day ages."

Of the original 75 Davids, 15 have died, so his pool for Doubles is 60. Finding all 60 is a huge undertaking, but Lexier is publicizing his latest project because one of the original Davids, David Fasano, is in town this weekend and he would love to find his first double. Anyone turning 54 Saturday and wants to be part of the exhibition should immediately call Mary Reid (at 204-451-4823), the director/curator of the University of Manitoba School of Art Gallery where David's Doubles will be presented in 2015.

"I hope I can makes this one work," he says. "I may have bitten off too much. Finding the original Davids is one thing, and now it is needle in the haystack time because you have to find people born on a specific day on our list."

Lexier is a prominent Canadian artist who is the subject of a major retrospective called One, and Two, and More Than Two currently on display at Toronto's Power Plant. It is one of a large number of international and national solo exhibitions involving Lexier. His work can be found in the British Museum, the Contemporary Art Gallery in Sydney, Australia and the National Gallery of Canada.

But he comes home to do his David projects. He remembers the first fondly and the impact of seeing all these Davids spanning 75 years lined up beside each other.

"In the big Winnipeg Art Gallery space you could see time passing, and it was surprisingly emotional," says the 1982 University of Manitoba graduate who left Winnipeg when he was 22.

Lexier had always been interested in doing a piece about his own age, photographing himself with people born the same day, but he thought such self-focus was too narcissistic, so he shelved the idea. It popped up again when friends and Davids began reminding him another anniversary was coming.

"I feel a lot of responsibility to do a followup project," he says. "If I'm around, I can't imagine not doing a fourth one. That's why I want this one to work, so there can be a fourth one."

For more information on David's Doubles and the birthdate search go to www.davidsdouble.com.

kevin.prokosh@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 7, 2013 G3

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