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 Back  Vignettes | British Columbia | Nov/Dec/Jan 2010-2011

PHANTOMS IN THE FRONT YARD: UNIFORM Pera Art Gallery, Vancouver, closes November 14 Phantoms in the Front Yard is a collective of six representational artists based in Vancouver who are committed to figurative art rendered by hand, especially through the traditional disciplines of painting and drawing. “Aesthetic accessibility” is one of the stated goals of this all-male collective, whose backgrounds vary from film to graphic design to comics. In Uniform, they address the wearing of masks or, yes, uniforms and related ideas of power and control.

GAME SHOW Surrey Art Gallery, Surrey, closes December 19 This whip-smart exhibition, drawn in part from the collection of the Surrey Art Gallery, extols the connections between visual art and the world of games and play. From Paul Wong’s deft video installation Mahjong to Jim Breukelman’s remarkable colour photographs of a paint ball park in North Vancouver, the widely various works in Game Show demonstrate the ways cultures reveal themselves in play. Represented here are 12 established and emerging Canadian artists, from Colette Urban to Corin Sworn.

DANIEL LASKARIN Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, Victoria, closes January 30 This former engineer and helicopter pilot creates mixed-media objects that, in his words, “hover within the agnostic condition of uncertainty”. His shapes and materials are “almost recognizable, but never quite identifiable”, provoking us to reconsider the nature of perception and our relationship to the everyday. Laskarin has exhibited nationally and internationally,
and has won public art commissions in Vancouver and Seattle. This is the first survey of his career.

STEPHEN WADDELL Monte Clark Gallery, Vancouver, November 4- December 4 From a young woman walking along an abandoned railway line to Sumo wrestlers performing in front of a huge, neo-classical building, Stephen Waddell’s photographs find the telling moment in the everyday urban environment. Waddell launched his career as a painter, and his photographs served merely as sketches, but by the late 1990s, photography had assumed its formative place in his creative practice. This solo exhibition coincides with the publication of Waddell’s new book, Hunt and Gather.

MARK SOO: SEVERAL CIRCLES Or Gallery, Vancouver, November 6- January 8 Critical thinking and quirky humour run through all of Mark Soo’s cross-disciplinary works, from invisible sound installations to backwards-revolving clocks. His newly commissioned film installation examines two different transportation technologies – the 19th-century steam engine of the riverboat and the 20th-century internal combustion engine – and the 100-year arc of American history between their invention. A quote from Mark Twain sets the mood: “The past does not repeat itself, but sometimes it rhymes".

PACIFIC CURRENTS Alcheringa Gallery, Victoria, November 10- December 8 The focal point of this exhibition, which juxtaposes South Pacific with Northwest Coast styles and traditions, is a 17- foot ceremonial war canoe made collaboratively by John Marston, a BC Coast Salish artist, and Claytus Yambon, a carver from Papua New Guinea. Most of the other works in the show (ceremonial bowls, bentwood boxes and acrylic paintings) are by Marston and Ake Lianga, a Solomon Islands Kakau artist. Although separated by a vast ocean, they share a brilliant understanding of their chosen media and a commitment to their indigenous traditions and the value inherent in cultural exchange.

VAL NELSON: MY DIVIDED ATTENTION Bau-Xi Gallery, Vancouver, November 20-December 2 In this new series of bravura paintings and energetic drawings, North American camping scenes meet and merge with the interiors of European palaces, and nature parks are juxtaposed with ancient ruins and flowing fountains. Nelson uses “the notion of the travel destination as a metaphor for the anxieties, yearnings and contradictions of contemporary life". Based on postcards and holiday snapshots, these works play the materialistic present off an uncertain future.

SIGNED WITHOUT SIGNATURE: WORKS BY CHARLES & ISABELLA EDENSHAW Museum of Anthropology, Vancouver, November 26- September 30 Haida Chief Charles Edenshaw is the most highly acclaimed and prolific Northwest Coast artist of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, his silver jewellery serving as an inspiration to younger aboriginal artists. His wife Isabella Edenshaw was an extraordinary basket maker, and is represented here by her woven spruce root hats, wonders of intricate pattern and craftsmanship.

AMY BESSONE & THOMAS HOUSEAGO Rennie Collection, Vancouver, November 20-April 16 All the artworks on display in this private museum located in Vancouver's Chinatown, are drawn from Bob Rennie’s collection of contemporary art, one of the largest in North America. Sculptor Thomas Houseago and painter Amy Bessone recall historical approaches to the figure. Bessone’s paintings allude to porcelain figurines, while Houseago’s masks are process-oriented and his nudes allude awkwardly to those of Henry Moore. Admission by reservation only.

DAVIDA KIDD: WHO NEEDS ART WHEN YOU HAVE A VIEW LIKE THIS Burnaby Art Gallery, Burnaby, November 30-February 6 The photo-based vinyl banners on view in this exhibition are inspired by a billboard real estate advertisement Kidd first encountered driving across the Cambie Street Bridge. Kidd’s images explore what is and isn’t desirable in the fraught realm of real estate. Characteristically, Kidd plays with exterior and interior landscapes, posing illusion against reality, and humour against a surreal sense of dread.

Robert Adams
Morgan Jeske
, illustration on wood panel

Ken Lum
Keith Langergraber
, The City of Future Past #2 (2007), graphite, conté, coloured pencil

Dana Claxton
Daniel Laskarin
, Butterfly Trap (2009), cardboard, fibreglass, acrylic

Thomas Glassford
Stephen Waddell
, Arbutus Corridor, archival pigment print

Doug Guildford
Mark Soo
, still from dual-channel 35mm film installation

Derek Root
Ake Lianga
, Songlines (2010), acrylic on canvas

Jack Rootman
Val Nelson
, Song for a Tired Businessman 2, oil on panel

Tracy Auchter
Hat woven by Isabella Edenshaw, painted by Charles Edenshaw. Collection of UBC Museum of Anthropology. Photo  Bill McLennan

Robert Young
Amy Bessone
, No. 5 Atlas (2007), oil on canvas

Gu Xiong
Davida Kidd
, Hobo Schmobo (2010), light jet print on archival photographic paper, collection: the artist 

 Tue, Nov 9, 2010