By Robin Laurence
GAILAN NGAN: CHRONICLES
Art Gallery at Evergreen Cultural Centre, Coquitlam, To Apr 22
Previously known for her accomplished and inventive pottery and tableware, Gailan Ngan has recently focused her creative expression on larger ceramic sculpture and mixed-media installations. Chronicles is a “fictional environment” employing a variety of whimsical ceramic forms whose slips, glazes, bulges and cracks are suggestive of the human body. Ngan further augments her sculptures with found objects and materials and arranges them in quirky groupings that imply both narrative and connectedness.
DAVID OSTREM: WHY WON’T YOU BE ART?
Burnaby Art Gallery, Burnaby, Apr 20 – Jun 3
New digital collages by Vancouver artist David Ostrem riff on the artist’s struggle and what it is to make meaning out of a seemingly chaotic jumble of experience, perception and emotion. Using Photoshop, Ostrem brings together his own paintings, prints and drawings with art historical, literary, musical and popular culture references, all the while questioning the validity of personal expression within the context of the contemporary art world. The result is at once lively, humorous and cynical.
THE BLUE HOUR
Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver, Apr 6 – Jun 24
Launching the Capture Photography Festival, The Blue Hour features five Canadian and international artists who challenge conventional notions concerning the photograph’s relationship to time. Joi T. Arcand, Kapwani Kiwanga, Colin Miner, Grace Ndiritu, and Kara Uzelman take on an extraordinary idea proposed by the 19th-century art historian and critic Elizabeth Eastlake: that the photographic image “approaches us from the future and arrives in the present.” Prepare to be suspended in time.
Deer Lake Gallery, Burnaby, To Apr 7
The third in a highly popular series of annual exhibitions celebrating the vernal equinox, Luminescence III features a range of light-oriented works by 20-plus artists and includes large-scale installations both indoors and out. Experiential and participatory art includes Ron Simmer’s light sculpture MELT with its triangle-shaped infi nity mirror; VR4U’s virtual reality piece, which enables visitors to “paint” with light in 3-D space; and Concealed Studio’s investigation of “fractals of imagination and reality.”
Ian Tan Gallery, Vancouver, May 5 – 31
Organized in conjunction with Asian Heritage Month, UnThreaded spotlights five Vancouver-based women artists of Asian heritage, each with a different background and unique identity, but with shared aspects of creative aspiration. Judy Cheng, Erin Ishii, Jeanette Lee, Grace Tan and June Yun work in a range of media, from sculpture and photography to painting and drawing, each unravelling “threads” of experience, ethnicity, and sense of place.
Nanaimo Art Gallery, Nanaimo, Apr 6 – Jun 3
Referenced to the pioneering achievements of the 18th-century Scottish chemist Elizabeth Fulhame, this show examines experimental photography, along with video and installation work, by six historical and contemporary women artists. Fabiola Carranza, Sara Cwynar, Jessica Eaton, Allison Hrabluik, Hannah Maynard and Nicole Kelly Westman represent a range of techniques and approaches to images “painted” with light, while also asking, “How can we speak differently?”
Surrey Art Gallery, Surrey, Apr 14 – Jun 10
Subtitled From the Movement of People to the Circulation of Information, the exhibition is composed of works from the SAG’s permanent collection. From Val Nelson’s surreal painting of car traffic traversing a baroque interior to Brendan Tang’s porcelain vessel extruding black viscera to Sara Graham’s diagrammatic depiction of the Thornton rail yard, the works in the show alert us to the many contemporary possibilities encapsulated in the word “flow”.
SHE. WE. THEY: THE WOMEN SHOW
Touchstones Nelson Museum of Art and History, Nelson, To May 27
Created in partnership with the Nelson and District Women’s Centre, this community-curated exhibition at Touchstones features a 60-foot-long timeline of feminist achievements and a wall of 100-plus portraits of Kootenay women, past and present. Together with a video, a response wall, and a raft of public programs and performances, these elements celebrate a sense of community and common purpose while also expressing diverse and individual voices in the local women’s movement.
Vancouver Art Gallery Offsite, Vancouver, May 10 – Oct 8
Prisker Prize-winning Japanese architect Shigeru Ban is acclaimed for his innovative use of inexpensive local materials in the creation of temporary shelters for those made homeless by environmental or political disasters. His VAG Offsite installation recapitulates the prototype “log cabin” shelter he designed in response to the 1995 Kobe earthquake. Primarily built out of cardboard tubing, Ban’s cabin expresses his concerns with sustainability and humanitarianism in the service of disaster relief.
ALISON BIGG: “I WONDER”
Xchanges Gallery and Studios, Victoria, May 5 – 20
Victoria artist Alison Bigg produces a wonder-inducing installation out of cupboards and drawers, within which are hidden organic sculptures made out of cast glycerine soap combined with bits of natural materials such as moss or seaweed. She augments her curious and uncanny display with scent, sound, light and tools of enigmatic purpose, engaging visitors in a process of play and exploration that in some ways echoes her own creative process.