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V I G N E T T E S
quick takes on
current shows

September / October 2017 British Columbia Vignettes

By Robin Laurence


DOMINION
New Media Gallery, New Westminster, Aug 5-Oct 1

This dazzling exhibition of internationally acclaimed new media artists places us on the fluctuating boundary between the natural and the technological, the real and the illusory, the organic and the code. Work ranges from a shifting and shimmering LED matrix by Jim Campbell to Kathy Hinde’s piano soundboard “played” by a flock of swallows, and from a fantastical spinning sculpture of stroboscopic light by Mat Collishaw to the “generative sound” of Davide Quayola’s plant studies.

CITYSCAPE IMPRESSIONISM
Uno Langmann, Vancouver, Thru Sep 30
Although Impressionist artists are often associated with shimmering, sunlit landscapes, they also focused their proto-Modernist vision on the energy and vibrancy of city life. This exhibition highlights Impressionist cityscapes by six artists, including Frederic Marlett Bell-Smith. Born in England, Bell-Smith immigrated to Canada at the age of 20 and dedicated much of his career to Canadian subject matter. However, he also made return trips to England, as evident in his lively London street scenes.

Corlienne Pennell

REBECCA CHAPERON: CAVE PAINTINGS
Seymour Art Gallery, North Vancouver, Sep 2-Oct 14

Psychological symbols and narrative currents swirl around the young women in Rebecca Chaperon’s paintings. Her figures often appear to be enacting mysterious rites in surrealistic landscapes. In her latest series of paintings, the recurring image of the cave suggests uncertainty and ambiguity. It is, Chaperon says, “an imagined psychological space where introspection and transformation take place.” Emerging from their cave habitations, her figures resonate with an odd otherness.

Rachel de Conde

THE BEAUTIFUL BRAIN
Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, Vancouver,
Sep 5-Dec 3

One of three complementary exhibitions on at the gallery, The Beautiful Brain features the drawings of Santiago Ramón y Cajal (1852-1934), known as the father of modern neuroscience. A Spanish pathologist, histologist and neuroscientist, he won a Nobel Prize in 1906 for his discovery of the existence and structure of neurons. Long before nerve cells could be visualized through electron microscopy, he created speculative drawings of them, brilliantly informed by both his scientific insights and his early training in art.

Parker Thiessen
EVE LEADER
South Main Gallery, Vancouver, Sep 8-Oct 1
Vancouver artist Eve Leader creates evocative oil paintings on Mylar, combining figuration and abstraction to muse on the human condition, the mystery of life and the elusive nature of reality. “I try to capture that moment of bewilderment when structure and order in our existence break down, everything looks unfamiliar, and we are sure of nothing,” she writes in her statement. Her hovering, androgynous figures suggest loss, fragility and mortality, but also compassion and the redemptive power of love.
Miriam Rudolph
JUNICHIRO IWASE: MU: Beyond Duality
Art Beatus, Vancouver, Sep 15-Nov 10
Informing the paintings and sculptures in this solo exhibition is the Buddhist concept of mu, which the artist defines as recognition “that there is no definitive right or wrong, true or false, or good or bad.” Junichiro Iwase’s subtly nuanced variations on Hard-Edge and minimalist strategies eschew these kinds of polarities and, instead, pose possibilities for meditation and even transcendence. Art, he writes, “is merely an extension of nature.”
Miriam Rudolph
HOLLY WARD: PLANNED PEASANTHOOD
Kamloops Art Gallery, Kamloops, Sep 16-Nov 4
Artist as survivalist? Installing her work in the Cube, the gallery’s experimental space, Holly Ward explores ideas around her ongoing project The Pavilion. A geodesic dome in a rural setting, developed in collaboration with Kevin Schmidt, it aspires to be a site of artistic research and production in direct response to threatening environmental and political conditions. Ward’s show consists of two- and three-dimensional works that address the need for new skills and tools for creative self-reliance.
Miriam Rudolph
URSULA JOHNSON: MI’KWITE’TMN
The Reach Gallery Museum Abbotsford,
Sep 21-Dec 31

The show’s Mi’kmaw title translates as “Do You Remember,” signalling Ursula Johnson’s use of deconstructed basketry elements to address ancestry, identity and cultural knowledge. The three-part exhibition includes silkscreened and sandblasted images of baskets made by the artist’s great-grandmother; an “endurance performance” of the artist processing ash wood to the point of exhaustion; and an interactive archival and museological space.
Miriam Rudolph
ENTANGLED: TWO VIEWS ON CONTEMPORARY CANADIAN PAINTING
Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver, Sep 30-Jan 1
This ambitious survey examines “two distinctly different modes” of painting that have emerged in Canada since the 1970s – that is, from a time when painting’s relevance within the Postmodern movement was “hotly debated.” Drawing on the work of 31 contemporary artists from across the country, the show’s curators argue that two approaches to painting were birthed out of that earlier debate, one driven by concepts and ideas, the other by materials and processes.
Miriam Rudolph

CLINT NEUFELD AND SARA ROBICHAUD
Gallery Jones, Vancouver, Oct 12-Nov 18
In this two-person show, tropes of masculinity and femininity invite us to consider the role gender plays in shaping our understanding of the world. Saskatchewan sculptor Clint Neufeld stacks up and mixes up wax and ceramic castings of engine parts and other mechanical objects, while BC painter Sara Robichaud draws inspiration from the forms and shadows of domestic objects and antique furniture within her Nanaimo home – itself an evolving work of art.

Miriam Rudolph
 

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