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 Back  Vignettes | British Columbia | April – May 2013

By Robin Laurence

PAUL WONG: YEAR OF GIF Surrey Urban Screen, Surrey, Jan 23-Apr 28 New video work by one of Canada’s most acclaimed media artists draws from his personal archive of smart phone GIFs created during the past year. Images are presented in a montage against a ground of shifting colour, and includes everything that caught Wong’s eye. Patterns, textures, colours, friends, architecture, scenes of travel, digital displays, fruit, flowers, animals, satellite dishes, art, politicians and celebrities – all flicker by as if in a digital flip book. Projected on the west wall of the Chuck Bailey Recreation Centre, the Surrey Urban Screen is curated by the Surrey Art Gallery.

FIONA HOWARTH: BONEYARD Fort Gallery, Langley, Mar 27-Apr 14 Defunct and discarded signs, once brilliantly lit on the Las Vegas strip and now consigned to a junkyard at the edge of the Nevada desert, are the subject of Howarth’s solo show. Her recurring themes of time, memory and loss are well realized in images of broken bulbs, peeling paint and fading invitations to gambling and free parking. “My interest,” she writes, “lies in the aesthetics of decay and the interplay between light, form, texture and colour.”

INVOKING VENUS: FEATHERS AND FASHION Beaty Biodiversity Museum, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Feb 7-May 5 Photographer Catherine Stewart has focused her camera on bird specimens located at the Beaty Biodiversity Museum and accessories from the clothing collections of Claus Jahnke and Ivan Sayers. Her gorgeous, close-up images of avian plumage and vintage fabrics highlight colour, pattern and texture, and are complemented by displays of feathery hats, purses, fans and shoes. Courtship behaviours and the attractions of adornment in both birds and humans are richly highlighted.

LYLE WILSON: PAINT Bill Reid Gallery, Vancouver, Mar 27-Sep 15 Haisla artist Lyle Wilson is renowned for his wood sculpture, gold and silver jewellery, printmaking, drawing and painting on wood or paper. Organized by the Maple Ridge Art Gallery and on view for the first time in Vancouver, this show focuses exclusively on his paintings; the subjects include crest animals like whales and ravens to maps of Aboriginal territories to hybrid alphabets. All explore the signs and symbols of evolving visual and verbal languages and their relationship to indigenous culture.

ANDY WOOLRIDGE Winchester Galleries, Victoria, Apr 9-27 Titled Chiaroscuro: Variations on a Theme, Wooldridge’s new series of paintings combine flat passages of rich colour with contrasting effects of glowing white and deep black. Whether depicting the natural or built environment, he treats his canvas “as a stage set with simplified shapes and forms deliberately placed to produce an artificial landscape.” The peaceful yet highly charged images are reminiscent of the Italian Metaphysical school in their suggestion of an alternative reality.

MATERIALLY SPEAKING Richmond Art Gallery, Richmond, Apr 14-Jun 9 Traditional craft meets postmodern sculpture in this visually, materially and conceptually captivating exhibition. The four artists represented – Jen Aitken, Lou Lynn, Brendan Lee Satish Tang, and Julie York – employ everything from bronze, glass and porcelain to paper, vinyl and fake fur. The allusions behind their diverse and inventive practices range across antique tools, futuristic robotics, the politics of the body and the nature of perception.

GERMAINE KOH: WEATHER SYSTEMS Kamloops Art Gallery, Kamloops, Apr 6-Jun 15 The concept-driven art of this internationally acclaimed Vancouver-based artist alerts its audiences to everyday actions, objects, materials and processes – aspects of our lives that we might otherwise overlook. The movement of the wind and the tides, the light of the sun, the social and economic uses of communication devices, the clothes we wear and our quotidian movements through time and space, have all caught Koh’s interest and informed her art. This exhibition presents new work and also brings together, for the first time, her three-part series, Fair-weather forces.

SLAVS AND TATARS Presentation House Gallery, North Vancouver, Apr 12-May 26 Friendship of Nations: Polish Shi’ite Showbiz is the first Canadian showing of the artist collective, Slavs and Tatars. Based in Paris, Warsaw, New York and Moscow and working in a range of media, these artists examine the vast area known as Eurasia, east of the (now defunct) Berlin Wall and west of the (still standing) Great Wall of China. This show addresses shared genealogy and overlapping social, political and environmental movements between Iran and Poland.

ANDREA HOOGE: DOLLY Hot Art Wet City, Vancouver, Apr 12-May 4 Doll-head portraits, painted on wooden cut-outs and mounted on highly detailed scratchboards, take on a presence somewhere between “cute and creepy.” Hooge, whose undergraduate degree is in fine arts and psychology, began the series by examining the faces of dolls from the 1950s. Her dual education and her fondness for vintage graphic styles are revealed in the spooky, half-way life her postwar subjects exude.

HIGH FIRE CULTURE Satellite Gallery, Vancouver May 24-Jul 6 The subject of this intriguing show is the studio pottery movement as it manifested itself on Canada’s West Coast during the 1960s and 70s. A raft of local potters, including Lari Robson, Sam Kwan and Hiro Urakami, were powerfully influenced by the aesthetic sensibilities and Zen philosophy espoused by British potter Bernard Leach and his Japanese colleague Shoji Hamada. Curated by Nora Vaillant and Shelly Rosenblum, the exhibition demonstrates the “intensity, spirit and style” that identifies these potters as members of a tremendously influential pottery movement.

Paul Wong
Paul Wong

Fiona Howarth
Fiona Howarth

Catherine Stewart
Catherine Stewart

Lyle Wilson
Lyle Wilson

Andy Woolridge
Andy Woolridge

Jen Aitken
Jen Aitken

Germaine Koh
Germaine Koh

Nesfeh Jahan
Nesfeh Jahan

Andrea Hooge
Andrea Hooge

High Fire Culture
High Fire Culture

 Thu, Apr 4, 2013