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 Back  Vignettes | British Columbia | February – March 2012

By Robin Laurence

IAN WALLACE: MASCULIN/FÉMININ Catriona Jeffries Gallery, Vancouver, Jan 13-Feb 18 Internationally acclaimed artist Ian Wallace has produced a body of mixed-media works, including photographs, inkjet prints, maquettes and large-scale canvases, that draws imagery from European avant-garde cinema of the 1950s and 60s. Shooting his own “stills” from such films as Antonioni’s L’Avventura and Godard’s Le Mépris as they played on his television screen, he dislodges these portraits of men and women from their original narratives and embeds them within his own ideas and compositions.

AT THE INTERSECTION OF ART AND MEDICINE West Vancouver Museum, West Vancouver, Jan 25-Mar 10 Another glimpse into a little-known history, this show examines anatomical drawings produced by Canadian women illustrators during the 1930s and '40s. Working in pen and ink, watercolour, and even carbon dust, the artists represented took on the challenge of creating scientifically correct images while also expressing their aesthetic individuality.

C.1983, PART 1 Presentation House Gallery, North Vancouver, Jan 28-Mar 11 For more than two decades, Vancouver has been recognized internationally as a centre for Photoconceptualism – or, perhaps more precisely, concept-driven photo-based art. In revisiting the period around 1983, this group show reveals the kinds of experimental camera practices that led to the flowering of the “Vancouver School”. Look not only for photographic prints but also for slides, video, film, artists’ books, transparencies, photo-silkscreens and found materials.

DUPLICITY: PAINTINGS BY CHRIS FRIESEN Maple Ridge Art Gallery, Maple Ridge, Jan 14-Mar 17 “Duplicity,” painter Christopher Friesen writes, is “at the heart of every artist’s practice.” His work walks an ambivalent line between representation and abstraction, painterliness and allusions to the technological. One of his approaches plays the centuries-old painting tradition of scaling images up through the use of a grid against the way digital media break images down into pixels.

FANTASY GARDENS: STUART MCCALL AND NEIL WEDMAN Richmond Art Gallery, Richmond, Jan 27-Apr 1 This two-person show addresses a theme park and plant nursery once owned by Bill Vander Zalm, British Columbia’s last Social Credit premier. The site of a controversial land deal, which resulted in criminal charges and a much-publicized trial, Fantasy Gardens eventually fell into disrepair and has now been demolished. Neil Wedman’s 1992 courtroom drawings and Stuart McCall’s photographs, shot in the ruins of the park’s “Dutch village”, tell separate but intersecting stories of a weirdly resonant blip in the Richmond landscape.

THROW DOWN Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, Victoria, Jan 27-May 6 This challenging show presents new work by Sonny Assu, Gregory Ball, Megan Dickie, Tyler Hodgins, and Alison MacTaggart. Curated by Nicole Stanbridge, it demonstrates ways in which art can be either “a call to action” or “an invitation to play”. Employing strategic doses of humour and satire through a range of media, including sculpture, video, photography, drawing, and urban intervention, these artists engage a range of socio-political and economic issues.

SAMUEL ROY-BOIS Artspeak, Vancouver, Feb 4-Mar 17 The title of this show speaks volumes about our postmodern lives and inequitable times: I had a great trip despite a brutal feeling of cognitive dissonance. Vancouver artist Samuel Roy-Bois investigates “constructed space,” often creating immersive installations that smudge the boundary between art and life. In this work, an unnamed individual will occupy the reconfigured gallery – built as a place of residence — in a way invisible (but partially audible) to viewers. Expect to be unsettled.

LIGHTS OUT! CANADIAN PAINTING FROM THE 1960s Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver, Feb 18-Apr 29 Curated by Ian Thom from the VAG’s rich holdings, this exhibition looks at both “the diversity and the strength” of painting practice across Canada during the 1960s. Whether working figuratively or abstractly, artists such as Joyce Wieland, Harold Town, Michael Morris, Greg Curnoe, and Jack Chambers – to name just a few – participated in the creation of an energetic and distinctive national painting identity.

FOREST ONE BY ANNIE ROSS UBC Museum of Anthropology, Vancouver, Mar 20-May 27 Weaver Annie Ross has created an astonishing sculpture by tightly covering a real car, inside and out, with twined and plaited cedar bark and other materials reclaimed from “clearcut urban forests”. She has given new life and meaning to a 1956 Nash Metropolitan, amazing us with her skills while also stimulating questions about “colonization, urban sprawl, trash, and remediating the urban landscape through acts of salvage”.

GWAII EDENSHAW Petley Jones Gallery, Vancouver, Mar 29-Apr 31 This distinguished young artist, best known for his gold, silver, and argillite jewellery, is represented here by works on paper. His drawings range from studies in innovating classic Haida design, as learned from Robert Davidson, to comic book-style art, influenced by Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas. Based in Massett and Vancouver, Edenshaw combines his successful art career with environmental work for the council of the Haida Nation.

Ian Wallace
Ian Wallace

Eila Hopper Ross
Eila Hopper Ross

Marian Penner Bancroft
Marian Penner Bancroft

Chris Friesen
Chris Friesen

Neil Wedman
Neil Wedman

 Megan Dickie
Megan Dickie

Samuel Roy-Bois
Samuel Roy-Bois

Michael Morris
Michael Morris

Annie Ross
Annie Ross

Gwaii Edenshaw
Gwaii Edenshaw

 Sun, Feb 5, 2012