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 Back  Vignettes | British Columbia | September – October, 2012

By Robin Laurence

COLLECTING MATISSE AND MODERN MASTERS Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver, May 26-Sep 30 Subtitled The Cone Sisters of Baltimore, this exhibition introduces us to a stellar collection of French modernist art, including paintings by Gauguin, Renoir and Picasso. It focuses particularly on works by Henri Matisse and on the fond relationship he had with the wealthy socialite sisters, Claribel and Etta Cone. It also charts the Cones’s travels, eclecticism and daring embrace of the avant-garde in the early decades of the 20th century.

LAG MA’AL A DAPAR – LAND, SEA AND SKY Alcheringa Gallery, Victoria, Aug 9-Sep 20 This exhibition features linocuts and hand-coloured etchings by two renowned Torres Strait artists, Dennis Nona and Alick Tipoti. Both artists draw their subject matter from the creatures, stories and spirits of the small islands located between New Guinea and Australia, creating a vivid testament to both culture and place. The title is in a dialect of the Maluyligal people whose language is at the core of their cultural expression.

ODD OCCURRENCES Seymour Art Gallery, North Vancouver, Sep 6-Oct 14 The idea of storytelling is central to this exhibition of highly imaginative art by Kristin Bjornerud, Tamara Bond, Tomoyo Ihaya and Carrie Walker. These artists, guest curator Rachel Rosenfield Lafo writes, “offer a rich mixture of fabricated narratives derived from personal experience, cultural origins, current events, dreams, myths and folktales.” Mystery, magic and metaphor abound.

JONATHAN VILLENEUVE: DO THE WAVE grunt gallery, Vancouver, Sep 6-Oct 6 Montreal artist Jonathan Villeneuve “makes poetic machines” out of the most ordinary materials and objects. Do the Wave is an intriguing electromechanical installation that produces a gentle ripple effect all through its multitude of hanging wooden components – plain old two-by-fours that, here, take on the pulse of an ocean wave or a stadium full of sports fans.

CÉCILE RONC: le pays oblique Elissa Cristall Gallery, Vancouver, Sep 6-29 French painter Cécile Ronc creates “imaginary landscapes that verge on abstraction”. Immensely subtle and often ethereal in tone, these works explore the relationship between the material world and spiritual aspiration – “between nature and our inner life”. A graduate of the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Paris, Ronc is a new presence in Vancouver’s art scene.

ERNIE KROEGER: confluence Kamloops Art Gallery, Kamloops, Sep 8-Nov 3 Described as a “memory map”, this exhibition uses historic and contemporary photographs and text to examine the place where the city of Kamloops is located – at the confluence of the North and South Thompson rivers. Artist and educator Ernie Kroeger has assembled an array of materials and images, including his own digital photographs and numerous references to the Shuswap-language origin of the city’s name, to reveal the way Kamloops’s natural setting has shaped its identity.

STEPHEN HEAL: ARRANGEMENTS Polychrome Fine Art, Victoria, Sep 13-27 Although he established himself as an ironworker, Victoria artist Stephen Heal recently began to create handsome, wall-mounted assemblages out of painted pieces of reclaimed wood. With their striking horizontals and verticals, inflected by rich colour or occasional incursions of natural wood grain, they evoke the mood of early Modernism, from Piet Mondrian to Ben Nicholson, with a nod to Cubism and Constructivism.

CAROL CONDE AND KARL BEVERIDGE: OPEN CONVERSATIONS Richmond Art Gallery, Richmond, Sep 14-Nov 10 Toronto-based artist-activists and longtime collaborators Carol Condé and Karl Beveridge have, for decades, dedicated their work to social change, aligning themselves with the labour movement and its associated causes. This exhibition focuses on their exploration of “dialogue as a form of socially engaged art practice”. Included in the survey exhibition is a newly commissioned project in which the artists worked with the various communities represented by staff members of the Richmond Cultural Centre.

NAIRY BAGHRAMIAN Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver, Sep 14-Nov 11 This first North American exhibition by Iranian-born, Berlin-based artist Nairy Baghramian consists of an 18-piece sculptural tableaux, collectively titled Class Reunion. Each abstract form within this work suggests a character whose qualities are evoked by its structure, pose and individual title. Baghramian’s socially and politically inflected practice includes references to “literature, theory, and modernist design.”

TO/FROM BC ELECTRIC RAILWAY: 100 YEARS Centre A, Vancouver, Sep 15-Nov 10 This group show of historical film and photographs, marks the 100th anniversary of the construction of the building that currently houses Centre A. Originally built as the administrative offices and terminus station of the interurban BC Electric Railway, the building functions “as an agent for the transmission of… cultural memory”. Working across a range of media, Vancouver artists, Raymond Boisjoy, Stan Douglas, Vanessa Kwan, Evan Lee and Cindy Mochizuki, make creative use of this historic locale to address such themes as transportation, immigration, cultural identity and place.

Henri Matisse
Henri Matisse

Dennis Nona
Dennis Nona

Tamara Bond
Tamara Bond

Jonathan Villeneuve
Jonathan Villeneuve

Cécile Ronc
Cécile Ronc

Ernie Kroeger
Ernie Kroeger

Stephen Heal
Stephen Heal

Carol Conde/Karl Beveridge
Carol Conde/Karl Beveridge

Nairy Baghramian
Nairy Baghramian

James Crookall, 1937
James Crookall, 1937

 Tue, Sep 4, 2012