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November 2017 - January 2018 British Columbia Vignettes

By Robin Laurence

Surrey Art Gallery, Surrey, To Dec 10

The 13 artists represented in this group show challenge dominant and colonialist depictions of the Canadian landscape, asking us to consider alternative ways of approaching the relationship between human beings and the natural environment. Many of the works are immersive, combining sound, image and form, and range from ceramic bowls that emit audio recordings and Indigenous songs from northern Ontario to a solar-powered “culture station” that collects stories in exchange for energy.

Ruth Beer, Antenna 1, 2016 Courtesy of The Artist and Bellevue Arts Museum

Museum of Vancouver, Vancouver, To Feb 18
Subtitled A Century of Vancouver Activism, this timely exhibition focuses our attention on Vancouver’s “rich history of protest.” Featuring some 650 photographs of “demonstrations, occupations, riots, blockades, and strikes,” it also employs digital projections, short films, and a compelling soundtrack to further engage visitors. Subjects range from race riots to peace marches, and from anti-logging protests to demonstrations demanding redress for missing and murdered Aboriginal women.

Corlienne Pennell JASON PAYNE/PNG, occupyvancouver, 2011

Kelowna Art Gallery, Kelowna, To Jan 14

Drawing from two different series of tapestry works by the award-winning Salt Spring Island artist, the show raises our awareness of contemporary issues, such as genetic engineering and environmental destruction. Through woven tapestry in the form of scrolls and also mounted on boards, Kidd unsettles viewers with images of germinating seeds and alpha-numeric codes, and hybrid entities that combine distinct forms such as a leaf and a piece of sea coral or a shell and a human rib cage.

Rachel de Conde
Jane Kidd, Curiosities Series: Pairing # 3, 2013
Photo: John Cameron, Courtesy of the artist

Fazakas Gallery, Vancouver, To Dec 16
This posthumous exhibition focuses on the 18 Undersea Kingdom masks that the great Kwakwaka’wakw artist created on commission for documenta 14 in Kassel, Germany this past spring and summer. The show honours Dick’s accomplishments and his legacy while also serving as a powerful companion event to multiple Vancouver International Film Festival screenings of Meet Beau Dick: Maker of Monsters by LaTiesha Ti’si’tla Fazakas and Natalie Boll.

Parker Thiessen

Beau Dick, Yagis, 2016
Audain Gallery, Vancouver, To Dec 9
Subtitled Commissions (Beirut 1994), Walid Raad’s exhibition is a self-assigned project investigating the lasting psychological and cultural effects of the Lebanese wars (1975-1991). Through photography, video, sculpture and performance, the internationally acclaimed, New York-based artist asks us to consider the ways the city of Beirut continues to be “haunted” by violence and destruction, even throughout the process of its reconstruction, which started in 1994.

Miriam Rudolph
Walid Raad, Sweet Talk: Beirut (Commissions), 1992. Black and white photograph. ©Walid Raad

Craft Council of BC Gallery, Vancouver, To Nov 23
Formerly based in New York City and now living and working in Vancouver, Hope Forstenzer uses the medium of glass to explore the relationship between our physical bodies and our psychological selves. She combines blown and stained glass methods and techniques and adds two-dimensional imagery through both sandblasting and photographs developed directly onto the glass. “We are all transparent. We are all opaque,” she writes. “We are all not sure of who we are.”

Miriam Rudolph
Hope Forstenzer, Bully, 2014
photo: denise relke

Two Rivers Gallery, Prince George, To Jan 7
Glass and bronze sculptures by Lou Lynn occupy an almost surreal realm between the useful and the impractical, between the functional and the purely aesthetic. Taking inspiration from old and antique tools, the Winlaw-based artist creates intriguing forms that might be artifacts of some lost culture, some distant time and place. Her works hint at an activity or occupation just beyond our understanding, the strength of the cast metal oddly belied by the fragility of the blown glass.

Miriam Rudolph
Lou Lynn, Twisted Spoon, 2012

Elissa Cristall Gallery, Vancouver, Nov 4-25
For her solo exhibition, Vancouver-based Ducote has created a series of process-oriented, mixed-media abstractions on paper. Working with spackle compound, acrylic medium and acrylic paint, she adds and subtracts many expressive layers, rubbing, scraping and repainting, then applies bits of paper culled from earlier works, building up more layers. The resulting compositions, mounted on wood panels, are, the artist says, “a reflection of the transient nature of life.”

Miriam Rudolph
Camrose Ducote, Untitled #16-21, 2016
Courtesy of the artist

Republic Gallery, Vancouver, Nov 4-Dec 8
The third of a series of related exhibitions examines utopia not as a place but as a state of being. Evocative abstract paintings by New York-based Ky Anderson question our relationship to landscape, both interior and exterior; C-prints by San Francisco artist Yedda Morrison create portraits of art restorers at work through a focus on their deft and delicately positioned hands; and gelatin silver photographs by Vancouver-based Carol Sawyer appropriate documentary strategies in perpetuating a fictional persona.

Miriam Rudolph
Yedda Morrison, ReGenesis No. 14, 2010

West Vancouver Museum, West Vancouver,
Nov 7-Dec 16

It seems impossible that one family could have produced four practicing artists, but as the show demonstrates, the Mayrs brothers – Bill, Frank, David and Charles – all graduated from the Vancouver School of Art in the mid-20th century and all pursued careers in the visual and applied arts. With day jobs that included art direction, exhibition design, teaching and illustration, they all also painted and drew, their work ranging from landscape-based abstraction to surreal social commentary.

Miriam Rudolph
Frank Mayrs, New Forest, c. late 1950s
Courtesy Patricia Mayrs