Home Apr – May 2021 British Columbia Vignettes

Apr – May 2021 British Columbia Vignettes

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By Robin Laurence

Todd Gronsdahl, C.R.E.A.M. (Collection and Reuse of Environmental and Available Means), 2021 Works in the background by lessLIE and Jerry Pethick. Photo: Sean Fenzl courtesy of Nanaimo Art Gallery


Nanaimo Art Gallery, Nanaimo. To Apr 25

The title of this group show suggests not only the dialogue between the mountainous Northwest Coast landscape and the movement of rain clouds, west to east, but also the ways in which artists grapple with a sense of place and belonging. Through paintings, sculpture, video and illustration, the 10 artists allude to claims made on ancient lands and shifting relationships to the natural and built environments. As thematic introduction, curator Jesse Birch quotes poet Lisa Robertson: “I love the elsewhere of moving clouds.”

Ben Davidson, Almost There

Libby Leshgold Gallery, Vancouver. To May 1

Dedicated to the memory of the Haida artist Ben Davidson (1976-2020), this show of contemporary Northwest Coast Indigenous art speaks to both its eons-old history and its present-day innovations in form and material. Spotlighting 14 established and mid-career artists, from Dempsey Bob to Corey Bulpitt, it also follows the intergenerational work of members of the same artmaking families. Organized in collaboration with the BC Achievement Foundation and the Aboriginal Gathering Collective.

Xiong Gu, Crushed Coca Cola Can #2, 1993. Collection of the Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver Art Gallery Director’s Discretionary Fund

Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver. To Sep 6

Drawn from the VAG’s extensive holdings of lens-based art, this exhibition features works that riff on, borrow from or allude to the forms and conventions of mass media, fashion and advertising. Contemporary and historical artists as diverse as Oraf Orafsson, Andy Warhol, Vikky Alexander, Ken Lum, Barbara Kruger and Yasumasa Morimura employ representational strategies from the commercial realm to alert us to the ways meaning is constructed and disseminated. Organized in collaboration with Capture Photography Festival.

Vivek Shraya, Trauma Clown, 2019

SUM Gallery, Vancouver. Apr 1 – Jul 1

These photographs by multidisciplinary artist, author and musician Vivek Shraya examine what her statement describes as “the amount of suffering a marginalized artist shares in their work and the increase in their commodification.” Currently based in Calgary, Shraya staged a series of performance-based photo shoots in different theatrical settings, conveying experiences of pain and trauma to increasingly extravagant tributes from an unseen audience. Presented as part of Capture Photography Festival.

Aaron Jones, Untitled, 2017

Howard 495, Vancouver. Apr 2 – Jun 26

Toronto-based artist Aaron Jones creates heavily layered collages of photographic images cut and torn from magazines, newspapers and young-adult books. The title of his exhibition originates with Jonathan Swift’s 1726 novel Gulliver’s Travels, evoking the kindly giants from the fictional land of Brobdingnag. Jones’ irregularly shaped collages challenge conventional spatial boundaries. They explore ideas of the self beyond cultural stereotypes and, at the same time, demand space for the Black bodies represented. Presented as part of Capture Photography Festival.