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 Back  Vignettes | British Columbia | April – May 2012

By Robin Laurence

MARK SOO: NEITHER CAMERA NOR COMPANION Blanket Contemporary Art, Vancouver, Mar 16-Apr 21 This solo show by Vancouver artist Mark Soo includes photographs, video and sculpture, exploring ideas around the play of perception, technology and representation across certain cultural and historical moments. His complex and stimulating artworks range from technological interventions into historical images of the French Revolution to a video meditation on the guillotine to clock-based sculptures encased with allusions to the advertising of energy drinks.

BROKEN BORDERS Access Gallery, Vancouver, Mar 10-Apr 28; Satellite Gallery, Vancouver, Mar 10-May 5 The complex and harrowing theme of this two-venue show, curated by Adriana Estrada Centelles, is the ongoing drug war that has destroyed tens of thousands of lives in Mexico, with necropolitical implications – causes and consequences – in the U.S., Canada and beyond. Mexican artists Teresa Margolles, Rosa María Robles, Marcos Ramírez Erre and Jorge Malacón address not only the violence and terror that the drug war has spawned in their own country, but also the complicity of drug-dealing nations worldwide.

ESTHER SHALEV-GERZ – WHITE-OUT: BETWEEN TELLING AND LISTENING Kamloops Art Gallery, Kamloops, Mar 24-Jun 16 This installation, which includes video projections, photographs and text, is a portrait of a middle-aged Stockholm woman named Åsa Simma. Both Swedish and Sami (the Sami are indigenous peoples of northern Scandinavia and western Russia), Simma responds to the artist’s questions and recounts stories of growing up within and between two cultures. The artist herself has bridged different cultures: born in Lithuania, raised in Israel, and a resident of Paris, she frequently challenges the forms and politics of representation.

ANGELA GROSSMANN: THE FUTURE IS FEMALE Winsor Gallery, Vancouver, Apr 4-May 6 Who better to take on the fraught subject of the female figure than Angela Grossmann? Long identified with images of the human face and form – whether of a teenage girl in a school uniform or a middle-aged man in penitentiary garb – Grossmann has in the past explored a complex range of social themes. In her new body of collages and paintings on paper, she confronts the ways in which social ideals of beauty have affected girls and women through the ages.

CASEY MCGLYNN; WE THOUGHT WE WERE GOING TO SPACE Bau-Xi Gallery, Vancouver, Apr 14-28 With their curious juxtapositions of natural forms and human figures, Casey McGlynn’s paintings suggest an alignment with both Surrealism and outsider art. Horses, foxes, two-headed elephants, long stairways, small houses, and pictograph-like elements, all seem to tumble directly out of his psyche, evoking the power of dreams or vision quests.

ROBERT MOTHERWELL: RE-MOBILIZING FRIENDSHIP & FREE ASSOCIATION Chali-Rosso Gallery, Vancouver, Apr 5-May 15 This show features 21 prints by Robert Motherwell, one of the leading lights of the New York School of Abstract Expressionism. Published in 1988, three years before his death, Motherwell’s Octavio Paz Suite alludes to his travels in Mexico and his friendship with the Mexican poet and Nobel Laureate after whom the series was named. Charged with energy and passion, these works demonstrate the artist’s ability to draw form directly from his unconscious mind.

RICHARD PRINCE: TELLING STORIES (WITH DIGRESSIONS) The Reach Gallery Museum, Abbotsford, Apr 12-Jun 10 The sculptures of Vancouver artist Richard E. Prince are both charming and thoughtful, combining marvellous arrangements of form with probing intellectual inquiry. Landscape is a persistent theme, although often handled in unexpected mechanical or electronic ways. Informed by his wide reading and deep curiosity about the world, much of Prince’s art “questions our assumptions about conventional images of the landscape and our knowledge of its systems.”

TIM PITSIULAK: DRAWNGS OF MYTH AND MACHINE Inuit Gallery, Vancouver, Apr 14-May 4 Working in a keenly observed, folk-realist style, Cape Dorset artist Tim Pitsiulak explores all aspects of his life. His drawings reveal that he is a hunter with an intimate knowledge of Arctic animals as well as with an understanding of the snowmobiles and motor boats he uses to pursue his prey. They also demonstrate that he is immersed in Inuit myths and legends, and able to depict a range of other-worldly subjects.

EWAN MCNEIL: NEW PAINTING AND SCULPTURE East Van Studios, Vancouver, Apr 20-29 Although he made a recent splash with his photo-realist grisaille paintings of the urban landscape, Ewan McNeil has long worked in the three-dimensional world as a sculptor and builder. Look for his experiments with colour and abstraction in his antic collages of found materials and his equally beguiling sculptures, with their evocations of Constructivism, Cubist assemblage, and elegantly built form. This show closely follows an exhibition of McNeil’s work, curated by Marcus Bowcott, at the Capilano University Studio Art Gallery (Mar 30-Apr 15).

SILK SPLENDOUR Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, Victoria, May 4-Sep 23 Subtitled Textiles of Late Imperial China (1644-1911), this exhibition showcases the AGGV’s collection of Asian textiles, including a recent donation of dazzling Chinese costumes from American collector Helen Jahnke. From a Qing dynasty Taoist priest’s robe to an informal robe worn in the 1920s by the last empress of China, expect to be dazzled by rich colours, lustrous fabric and spectacular embroidery.

Mark Soo
Mark Soo

Teresa Margolles
Teresa Margolles

Esther Shalev-Gerz
Esther Shalev-Gerz

Angela Grossman
Angela Grossman

Casey McGlynn
Casey McGlynn

Robert Motherwell
Robert Motherwell

Richard Prince
Richard Prince

Tim Pitsiulak
Tim Pitsiulak

Ewan McNeil
Ewan McNeil

Silk Splendour
Silk Splendour

 Mon, Jun 4, 2012