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 Back  Vignettes | British Columbia | April-May 2011

By Robin Laurence

TED SMITH AND A.Y. JACKSON: FAMILIAR TERRITORY Kamloops Art Gallery, Kamloops, through May 28 Bringing together the landscape paintings of Ted Smith, a contemporary local artist, and A.Y. Jackson, a member of the iconic Group of Seven, this exhibition explores ideas of place and the ways in which landscape speaks to our sense of identity. The show looks particularly at how each artist has portrayed the Interior of British Columbia, and includes Jackson's acclaimed painting of Mount Paul, one of the defining features of the Kamloops horizon.

DOWN THE GARDEN PATH Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, Victoria, through June 5 In different yet complementary ways, Yedda Morrison's mixed-media installation, Mark Lewis's video projection, and Scott McFarland's photographs address the complexity of the nature/culture interface. Their work asks us to consider many things, from our use of private gardens and public parks to our failed environmental policies.

REVISITING THE SILENCE Bill Reid Gallery, Vancouver, through June 5 New York photographer Adelaide de Menil made a number of trips to the Northwest Coast in the 1960s, 70s and 80s to shoot the area's totem poles in situ. Often accompanied by Haida artist Bill Reid, she recorded many poles in their last standing place, before they were removed to museums or subsided into the earth and forest. This selection of de Menil's black-and-white photographs inspires us to think, again, about conflicting ideas of salvage, collection, and truthfulness to indigenous cultural practices.

HADLEY+MAXWELL: WHO THAT HAPPENS Or Gallery, Vancouver, April 2-May 7 Working across a range of media, this collaborative duo folds a complicated rethinking of the world into all that they undertake. In their sculptural installation at the Or, they reinvent found antique figurative sculptures and furniture. Cutting parts away and refurbishing the surfaces, they combine these altered objects with other custom-made elements to create what they call "three-dimensional grotesques". New meanings emerge, as do the words of the show's evolving title.

DWELLING: THREE EXHIBITIONS ABOUT HOUSE + HOME Surrey Art Gallery, Surrey, Exhibit 1: through June 4, Exhibits 2+3: April 9-June 12 Opening April 2, the first of these thematically linked shows is Yam Lau's Room: An Extension, a video self-portrait that promises to "unfold like architectural origami". The second is Sitely Premises, a group show that focuses on the creative possibilities of the exterior spaces of the single family detached home on the West Coast, and the third, Domestic Lives: Works from the Permanent Collection, explores the multifaceted relationships we have with the places in which we reside.

BRIAN HOWELL Winsor Gallery, Vancouver, April 7-30 Award-winning photographer Brian Howell is well known for his black-and-white images of celebrity impersonators and minor league wrestling. In this show, he takes on a defining feature of street life: the binner's shopping cart. Howell's documentary approach to this subject included walking the city streets and buying the carts and their contents (including everything from window frames to bike parts) before photographing them. Expect revelations both personal and cultural.

SYLVIA TAIT: A CLASSICAL SPIRIT West Vancouver Museum, West Vancouver, April 13-May 21 One of the West Coast's most enduring abstract painters, Sylvia Tait studied art in Montreal and lived for a spell in Mexico before landing on Vancouver's North Shore. Working in the mid-century Modernist tradition of expressive brushwork and vibrant colour, often organizing her painting field into organic blocks, strands or ladders, she infuses her practice with passion and energy. This show surveys her art from the early 1960s to the present.

BRAD PHILLIPS: SOMEONE WRITE ME Monte Clark Gallery, Vancouver, April 28-May 28 Whether working in oil, watercolour, graphite or photography, Phillips uses black humour and extreme technical facility to skewer the role of the artist. In his new show of paintings, he marches the cultural cliché of the male artist "as a mentally ill, alcoholism-prone, sexually voracious" person through the labyrinthine reaches of his mind.

BARBARA ASTMAN: DANCING WITH CHE: ENTER THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP  Kelowna Art Gallery, Kelowna, May 7-July 31 The national debut of Barbara Astman's ambitious installation will see part of the gallery converted a faux gift shop. The usual souvenirs – from key chains to T-shirts – will be on display, featuring the famous face of the martyred Marxist revolutionary Ché Guevara. Paradoxes abound in the choice of this anti-capitalist icon within intoa retail context, including the fact that none of the merchandise will be for sale.

WEIZHI ZHANG Art Beatus, Vancouver, April 29-June 24 Chinese artist Weizhi Zhang has made a long and careful study of the historic courtyard gates of his native city, Beijing. His lovingly detailed watercolours, in demand around the world, document his years of research of and devotion to these endangered architectural features, which are otherwise falling into ruin or being demolished to make way for modern development.

A.Y. Jackson
A.Y. Jackson

Yedda Morrison
Yedda Morrison

Michael John Yahgulanaas
Adelaide de Menil

Hadley/Maxwell
Hadley/Maxwell

David Ostrem
David Ostrem

Brian Howell
Brian Howell

Sylvia Tait
Sylvia Tait

Brad Phillips
Brad Phillips

Barbara Astman
Barbara Astman

Weizhi Zhang
Weizhi Zhang

 Tue, Apr 5, 2011