By Robin Laurence
EVAN LEE: FORGED
Art Gallery at Evergreen, Coquitlam. Nov 20, 2021 – Jan 30, 2022
The paintings, sculpture and photographs in Evan Lee’s solo exhibition explore both meanings of the word “forge,” that is, “to form or make” and “to imitate fraudulently.” Best known for his high resolution still life photographs created using a flatbed scanner, Lee has created sculptural objects from unlikely materials, such as instant noodles and shoe polish; he also scans a range of consumer items, from dollar-store goods to real diamonds, asking us to consider issues around value, artifice and labour.
A STORY IN THREE PARTS: ASHEVAK, POOTOOGOOK, ISUMA
Kelowna Art Gallery, Kelowna. Dec 4, 2021 – Mar 27, 2022
This stellar exhibition brings together the work of two pioneering Inuit artists, Kenojuak Ashevak (1927-2013) and Sharni Pootoogook (1922-2003), with an experimental documentary film directed by Carol Kunnuk and produced by the Isuma Collective. Founded in 1990, Isuma is Canada’s inaugural Inuit-owned independent production company. Ashevak (best known as Kenojuak) and Pootoogook were acclaimed early creators of prints, drawings and sculptures under the auspices of the West Baffin Eskimo Cooperative.
THAT WHICH SUSTAINS US
Museum of Vancouver, Vancouver. Ongoing
Different knowledge traditions converge in this long-running exhibition, focused on the ways different peoples understand and interact with the natural environment – particularly the West Coast rain forest. Created in consultation with representatives from the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh nations along with environmental historians and forestry researchers, the displays prompt us to think about urbanization, deforestation, stewardship, sustainability and the ways culture shapes our understanding of nature.
SHO SHO ESQUIRO: DOCTRINE OF DISCOVERY
Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art, Vancouver. To Jun 5, 2022
Award-winning designer, artist and activist Sho Sho Esquiro employs textiles, paintings, photographs and couture gowns to convey historical and contemporary traumas and losses experienced by Indigenous peoples under centuries of colonialism. At the same time, the exhibition statement tells us, she celebrates “the beauty, strength and resilience of First Nations communities.” Drawing on history-laden materials such as trade cloth, fur, beads and shells, she crafts exquisite garments underlain with potent political messages.
ERIC LOUIE: REMEMBERED FUTURES
Bau-Xi Gallery, Vancouver. Nov 6 – 18
Vancouver-based artist Eric Louie is admired for luminous paintings that allude to many genres – landscape, still life, portraiture – while still lodging themselves in the realm of abstraction. Louie floats exquisite parcels of colour and form, some of them suggestive of butterfly wings or flower petals, against plain or subtly striated grounds. His recent work possesses a future fiction quality, suggesting imagined worlds fabricated from what he describes as “past experiences, filtered, idealized and hyperbolized to some utopian end.”
CANOE CULTURE :: HO’-KU-MELH
Vancouver Maritime Museum, Vancouver. To Jul 3, 2022
Subtitled War Canoes and the Gifts They Carry Forward, this expansive and multi-sensory exhibition showcases the Canoe Cultures project, which promotes the building of traditional Indigenous canoes through an apprenticeship program. Ho’-ku-melh is a Chinook word that means “to gather” and, yes, the exhibition gathers together many voices and much wisdom about Salish canoes through stories, poems, textiles, murals, illustrations, and photographs as well as actual canoes – old, new and as works-in-progress.