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 Back  Vignettes | British Columbia | June – August, 2012

By Robin Laurence

THAT WHICH MAKES US HAIDA – THE HAIDA LANGUAGE Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art, Vancouver, Mar 29-Sep 9 The first major exhibition devoted to the Haida language and traces the three existing dialects of this “endangered linguistic isolate” in Alaska, Old Massett and Skidegate. Curated by Jusquan, Amanda Bedard and Jisgang, Nika Collison, the show includes photographs of and interviews with the remaining fluent Haida speakers who talk about the profound intersection of language, culture, identity and place.

VISIONS OF ENLIGHTENMENT UBC Museum of Anthropology, Vancouver, May 10-Sep 30 The sculptures, paintings, ceramics and textiles in this exhibition communicate the fundamental precepts of one of the world’s great religions. While spotlighting “the symbols and sacred images developed to represent the Buddha and illuminate his teachings”, the show also traces the spreading influence of Buddhism from its origins in the Indian subcontinent in the 6th-century BC through central, east and southeast Asia. The exquisite works on view include porcelain vessels, a silk brocaded monk’s robe, stone and bronze sculptures, and lacquered wood.

YO-IN ó]âC REVERBERATION Nikkei National Museum, Burnaby, May 19-Aug 25 Through the wide-ranging work of eight artists, YO-IN marks the 70th anniversary of the wartime internment of Japanese Canadians. Senior artists, who lived through the internment, and a younger generation who have witnessed its legacy, employ a variety of media, including etchings, videos, photographs and multimedia installations, to express themes of memory, place and identity. Collectively, their work examines the still “reverberating” impact of one of Canada’s most infamous acts of displacement and disenfranchisement.

TONY SCHERMAN: WORKS ON PAPER Kelowna Art Gallery, Kelowna, Jun 2-Jul 29 Senior Toronto artist Tony Scherman is well represented in this selection of works on paper drawn from the gallery’s permanent collection. Addressing subjects and themes familiar to fans of Scherman’s oil and encaustic paintings, the show includes psychologically charged studies of people, animals, food and flowers. “The seemingly innocuous images…confront some of the darkest aspects of human nature and history.”

THE NEW DESIGN GALLERY: ON THE FRONTIER 1954-1966 West Vancouver Museum, West Vancouver, Jun 27-Sep 15 A celebration of the enormous contribution made to Vancouver’s formerly “stuffy” art scene in the 1950s and ‘60s by curator Alvin Balkind and his partner, architect Abraham Rogatnick. Knowledgeable and sophisticated, they arrived from the US in the mid-1950s and opened the New Design Gallery in West Vancouver, exhibiting and selling cutting-edge contemporary art and design in one of the first such venues in Canada. In 1958, the NDG moved to downtown Vancouver and continued to champion modernism and the avant-garde.

MARIAN PENNER BANCROFT Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver, Jun 30-Sep 30 The most recent winner of the Audain Prize for Lifetime Achievement, Marian Penner Bancroft, has been an esteemed presence in Vancouver and beyond for more than three decades. The VAG show examines her accomplishments in photography and other media, and identifies some of her recurring themes, such as the bonds of family and friendship, social histories, personal memory, and “the cultural frameworks through which landscape is perceived.”

EMILY HOPE: THE WILD MAN APPRECIATION SOCIETY Kamloops Art Gallery, Kamloops, Jun 30-Aug 25 Emily Hope, a graduating student from Thompson Rivers University, has created a tongue-in-cheek “society” and “museum” devoted to the idea of the wild man. An archetypal image of the civilized individual’s “feral double”, present through many cultures and ages around the world, the wild man takes shape in the Pacific Northwest as the Sasquatch. Hope plays on lore and legend with a series of drawings, stories and “artifacts” – everything from giant mittens to beer jugs and playing cards.

2011 PANGNIRTUNG TAPESTRY COLLECTION Inuit Gallery, Vancouver, Jul/Aug The remote Nunavut community of Pangnirtung is renowned for its tapestry weaving, introduced in 1970 as “a medium for Inuit to tell the narratives of their lives and represent their culture”. As with Inuit printmaking, the tapestries, based on drawings by local artists, are designed and produced in annual collections of limited editions. They may also be commissioned as one-of-a-kind works for patrons. The studio’s 2011 collection of beautiful woven tapestries, including a collaboration with famed Cape Dorset artist Kenojuak Ashevak, is on view through the summer.

SARAH GEE: I HAVE NOTHING TO SAY AND I AM SAYING IT Deluge Contemporary Art, Victoria, Jul 13-Aug 11 Vancouver artist Sarah Gee works primarily with cut-paper collage, creating dazzling neo-geometric compositions that translate the visual experience of a city block into concentric bands of colour. Recent work also includes a series of scorched-paper images that balance austerity with transcendence. An emerging artist to watch out for, “Gee juggles elements of op, pop, hard-edge, and conceptual art within a beguiling and coherent whole.”

PROJECTIONS: THE PAINTINGS OF HENRY SPECK, UDZI’STALIS Satellite Gallery, Vancouver, Jul 14-Sep 15 Organized by the UBC Museum of Anthropology, this Satellite Gallery show revisits an exhibition of the dance-screen paintings of esteemed Kwakwaka’wakw artist and hereditary chief, Henry Speck, Udzi’stalis. Originally shown at the New Design Gallery in 1964, the paintings are presented as large-scale projections with a “multimedia back story” that examines Udzi’stalis’s place and work within the “conflicting conditions of modernity.”

K’iis Gwaay Naan
K’iis Gwaay Naan
(Mary Swanson) Photo: Farah Nosh

Figure China
Figure China
, Ming Dynasty (1368-1644)

Nobuo Kubota
Nobuo Kubota

Tony Scherman
Tony Scherman

Marian Penner Bancroft
Marian Penner Bancroft

Emily Hope
Emily Hope

Kenojuak Ashevak
Kenojuak Ashevak

Sarah Gee
Sarah Gee

Udzi’stalis
Udzi’stalis
(Henry Speck)

 Mon, Jun 4, 2012