Whenever Andrew Scott picks up the drumsticks for Sloan, the result is usually a big bang of some sort. The same often goes for when he picks up the paintbrush -- witness Scott's latest art exhibition, The Alphabet, a collection of 16 blue-hued monochromatic works depicting the awful beauty and mesmerizing horror of nuclear-bomb mushroom clouds. A far cry from singing cheery ba-ba-ba-da-ba songs about people in the sky, innit?
"Since Hiroshima, the nuclear bomb has represented the most effective communication tool since the alphabet," says Scott of the exhibit's title. "It's come to crystallize a truly global way of thinking. Everyone's perception about nuclear war is that this is something that can never happen. But it has happened -- tests were done all throughout China and Siberia, and the world is polluted with radioactive collapse."
And if everything else from the '80s is enjoying its retro-revival moment, why not bring back some good, ol' fashioned Day After-style Cold War paranoia?
"The Cold War is far from over," Scott cautions. "There are still missile silos all over Europe, Asia and America. And with a president named 'Dubya' in office, I'm a little nervous. I always have been -- growing up in Halifax, I was worried that we were the 10th city on the nuclear-war hit list, because Halifax was a strategic military port."
Still, this self-described "bomb buff" -- who served four years at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design before dropping out for the rock -- insists his radioactive renderings are not all about doom and gloom. "It's more optimistic than that," Scott says. "Painting the explosions in monochrome is a way of taking them out of the horrific, fiery-red glow and making them seem more peculiar. It's also a way of saving money on paint. There's also a 4 ft.-by-4 ft. painting of a great white shark completing the exhibit."
The Alphabet runs from Tuesday (Jan. 16) till Feb. 1 at Zsa Zsa (962 Queen W., 899-3154), with an opening party on Jan. 20 from 7 to 10pm. (And since Zsa Zsa utilizes storefront space, the paintings will be on view to passersby at all hours.) With the works on display, Scott can attend to less apocalyptic matters -- like the completion of Sloan's sixth album. Though the band is recording with computer software, don't expect any major stylistic shifts. "Computers make it really easy to edit pieces together, since there's no tape involved," Scott relates. "But musically, it's still pretty nuts 'n' bolts. It's actually turning out to be a lot more collaborative than our last couple of albums." A tentative June release date is skedded.
-- STUART BERMAN
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