By Robin Laurence
ROBERT ADAMS: THE PLACE WE LIVE Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver, September 25-January 16, 2011 This retrospective spans four decades in the career of one of the original proponents of the New Topographics, an art movement that emerged in the early 1970s to challenge romantic and wilderness-dominated notions of landscape photography. New Jersey-born Adams has focused his camera primarily on the landscape of the American West where culture butts up against nature in the form of expressways, parking lots, tract housing and other unsightly evidence of urban sprawl.
CONSTRUCTION SITES: IDENTITY AND PLACE Kamloops Art Gallery, Kamloops, October 18-December 21 Many factors, from gender and culture to colonialism and globalization, contribute to the ways in which identity is constructed. With its titular play on words, Construction Sites is a group show that asks us to consider, specifically, the relationship between how the place we inhabit affects who we are. Among the local and international works on view, consider Ken Lums poignant photo-text work exploring the idea of home.
DANA CLAXTON Winsor Gallery, Vancouver, October 7-30 Acclaimed nationally and internationally, Vancouver-based media artist Claxton will be exhibiting black-and-white and colour photographs and videos that explore ancient ceremonial sites in her home province of Saskatchewan, post-colonial social justice issues, and representations of the aboriginal body. Her images range from broad prairie vistas to powerful shots of ceremonially painted faces.
HOT TO COLD/COLD TO HOT Charles H. Scott Gallery, Vancouver, September 17-October 2 The title of this exhibition of contemporary Mexican artists, Ruben Ortiz-Torres, Thomas Glassford, Melanie Smith and Gabriel de la Mora, reflects their use of cool, minimalist surfaces and hot, emotionally-charged content. Often employing everyday materials, from old broomsticks to human hair, these artists work across sculpture, video, drawing and even chemical reaction (a heat-sensitive bench that registers traces of the people who sit on it). You think you know what Mexican art is all about? Think again.
THE INTERTIDAL ZONE: PRINTS BY DOUG GUILDFORD Burnaby Art Gallery, Burnaby, September 14-November 21 Over many years, this Toronto artist has dedicated his practice to the exploration of his physical environment. The delicate etchings and serigraphs on view take their inspiration from intertidal life around Volgers Cove, Nova Scotia, where Guildford maintains a studio. Abstracted, delicately coloured and delineated images riff on the ebb and flow of the ocean and the forms and patterns revealed in-between.
DEREK ROOT: WHERE THE DAY BEGINS Monte Clark Gallery, Vancouver, closes September 18 These new and evocative abstractions, executed in oil and wax, are based on the artists own torn- and cut-paper collages. The encaustic medium enables Root to infuse his art with rich and subtle colour and an almost transcendental luminosity. Beyond contemplation of their formal qualities, these works suggest a range of associations and states of mind.
JACK ROOTMAN Sidney and Gertrude Zack Gallery, Vancouver, September 16-October 13 Eye doctor-turned artist Rootman focuses his keen vision on the sensuous hues and textures of a simple domestic scene: a bed, dressed with white linen, laden with colourful cushions, and dappled with sunlight. Through varying degrees of abstraction and representation, Rootman plays with the beds formal likeness to landscape. Its a sumptuous and life-affirming display.
TIME WARP: CONTEMPORARY TEXTILES OF THE NORTHWEST COAST Bill Reid Gallery, Vancouver, to January 16 This show spotlights the work of 20 contemporary Aboriginal artists from Alaska, Yukon, British Columbia and Washington State. Magnificent robes, capes, and tunics woven in wool, along with hats and other accessories woven in cedar bark and spruce root, are displayed in ways that enhance their cultural and ceremonial significance. Time Warps organizers argue that, in their ability to display crests and tell stories, textile and fibre arts are as essential to Northwest Coast First Nations culture as carved wooden masks and poles.
ROBERT YOUNG Winchester Galleries (758 Humboldt St. location), Victoria, September 11-October 2 A selection of drawings and paintings from 1981 to the present demonstrates the range of this Vancouver artists styles, subjects and preoccupations. Young invests all his work from his big, Constructivist-inflected abstractions to close studies of broken chairs and blossom-laden branches with his philosophical, art historical and musical preoccupations.
GU XIONG: WATERSCAPES Richmond Art Gallery, Richmond, September 17-November 14 Acclaimed Chinese-Canadian artist Gu Xiong launches a flotilla of little white origami boats through the exhibition space in this meditation on two great rivers, the Yangtze and the Fraser. The boats call up the histories and cultures associated with these rivers, and remind us especially of the great migrations, displacements and relocations that have occurred along them.
Robert Adams, In a New Subdivision, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 1969 (1969), gelatin silver print
Ken Lum, No Place Like Home (2000), digital print on paper
Dana Claxton, On the Red Road 1
Thomas Glassford, Stela 1K, 850 used broomsticks
Doug Guildford, Back Shore Proof #5 (2009), serigraph on Somerset
Derek Root, Village Green (2010), oil and wax on canvas and panel
Jack Rootman, Again (2010), pastel on wallis paper
Tracy Auchter, Bentwood Box Graduation Robe (2010), Ravens Tail, Z-twist spun warp and weft Merino wool, ultra suede appliqué, sea otter fur, wool fabric
Robert Young, Jeremiah (2006), gouache and acrylic on linen
Gu Xiong, Red River Installation (2006), paper boats