Patrick Robideau’s “Hidden Room”

Going into an art gallery, you expect to see pieces of art hung on the gallery wall in a perfect, linear pattern. In the current exhibition entitled “Hidden Room,” the Weeks Gallery is spicing it up and showing something completely different! Patrick Robideau has created “a room within a room.”

As one enters “Hidden Room,” they aren’t quite sure what they’ll encounter. They enter into a dark tunnel, and I think that this part of the exhibit really allows you to get into the artist’s mind, to transition from the normal everyday surroundings to a different world waiting for you to unravel in the huge, two-story art installation.

Here, the artist reminisces about the days he spent as a child exploring the house he grew up in, showing his viewpoint on adventure. We see back into his memories of exploring attic rooms and dirty crawl spaces under the porch of his house. All of the objects in the installation have historic or personal meaning for the artist. The wooden chair that sits in the corner of one of the rooms was his grandfather’s and viewers can imagine him sitting in it after a long day’s work. There is a lonely, worn out pair of boots that took his grandmother from place to place. There is an old, worn, wooden table that was his mother’s work table for many years. You also get a glimpse of a glass dome that encases a tiny replica of the house where Robideau’s memories lie.

hallway in installation which shows living room area with old artifacts from artist's family

The things in this artwork are more than than just objects. Our relatives that have passed on may not be here physically, but they are still here in memories, in their things and in the objects they used. Robideau’s artwork uses old objects to make it seem like these people are still here on earth. This can be a comfort. Seeing these special old things collected over the years in the “Hidden Room” allows viewers to delve into their own minds and dig deep to find memories and feelings that they may have forgotten.

Walking through “Hidden Room” was like a blast from the past for me and it gave me a feeling of peace and excitement. I felt like I was five years old again exploring my grandparents’ house, which was a little bit like walking into the magical world of Narnia or Peter Pan’s Neverland. My grandfather had so much miscellaneous stuff that you never knew what you were going to find when you visited. My grandmother was constantly cooking and making things with her hands so there would always be a new blanket or a beautiful dessert added to a brunch. But the best part about their house was that everything was old and all their vintage stuff was brand new to me. As a child, their house seemed huge, like I would never run out of things to explore. As a grown up, I can see that my perspective of the house was never real; but the memory will always be with me, in my mind and experience.

Patrick Robideau’s creation is not only interesting, but his message is powerful. Letting his viewers into his own personal memories, he allows us to unlock our own buried thoughts, feelings, and memories.

tunnel passageway in which users can physically crawl

About this post’s author:

My name is Ashlan Davis and I’m a Media Arts major. I am also a photographer (although these photos are not mine). In the future, I would like to keep pursuing my dream as a photographer.

About the author

Weeks Gallery

The Weeks Gallery presents high quality visual art exhibitions and interdisciplinary programs to the JCC and surrounding community. We'd love for you to visit! Contact us at 716.338.1301 for tour information.