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Charlene Vickers, Accumulations of Moments Spent Underwater with the Sun and Moon

Charlene Vickers, Accumulations of Moments Spent Underwater with the Sun and Moon (2015-16), watercolour, gouache, pencil crayon on paper [Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver BC, Dec 3 to Apr 17] Courtesy of the artist

Vancouver Special: Ambivalent Pleasures

Vancouver Art Gallery
Vancouver BC – Dec 3, 2016-Apr 17, 2017

Tamara Henderson, The Scarecrow’s Holiday

Tamara Henderson, The Scarecrow’s Holiday (2015), textile, wood, glass, sand, pigment [Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver BC, Dec 3 to Apr 17] Photo: Robert Wedemyer, courtesy of China Art Objects / Courtesy of the artist and Rodeo, London

Barry Doupé, Shell Vase

Barry Doupé, Shell Vase (2016), digital drawing created using Deluxe Paint V
on an AMIGA computer [Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver BC, Dec 3 to Apr 17] Courtesy of the artist

Ryan Peter, Autogram BwO

Ryan Peter, Autogram BwO (2016), unique gelatin silver print [Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver BC, Dec 3 to Apr 17] Photo: Rachel Topham, Vancouver Art Gallery / Courtesy of the artist and Republic Gallery

Colleen Brown, There

Colleen Brown, There (2016), MDF, wood, plaster, oil paint [Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver BC, Dec 3 to Apr 17] Photo: Rachel Topham, Vancouver Art Gallery / Courtesy of the artist

Local surveys were a once-a-decade highlight at the Vancouver Art Gallery. Who can forget the excitement generated by its 1985 Young Romantics painting exhibition? Or the delicious confusion of its 1996 Topographies: Aspects of Recent B.C. Art? In 1997 and 2008 the Belkin Gallery provided insight into emergent practices (New Vancouver Modern and Exponential Future, respectively). Now the VAG is back, this time as host of a triennial called Vancouver Special.

While not specifically a generational exhibition (included are works by senior artists Garry Neill Kennedy and Mina Totino), Vancouver Special’s Ambivalent Pleasures iteration is the largest generational show the city has seen in recent memory, with works by 40 artists made over the past five years. Among the younger artists included are Rebecca Brewer, Julia Feyrer, Tiziana La Melia, Anne Low, Sylvain Sailly and Ron Tran.

The cultural ecology of Vancouver has changed dramatically since the 2010 Olympics. In the past, artists and artworks resonated in the visual arts; now it is sites and collectivity. Exercise was an artist studio that presented dynamic exhibitions, while the Apartment was a private gallery reminiscent of a 1980s artist-run centre. 221A, whose Head of Strategy Jesse McKee, a co-curator of Ambivalent Pleasures, is an artist-run centre that manages properties. Traces of these sites, their artists and their artworks are all on display.

Michael Turner


 Sun, Nov 6, 2016