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 Back  Vignettes | British Columbia | April – May 2016

By Robin Laurence

PATRICK CRUZ: BULAKLAK NG PARAISO Centre A, Vancouver, Mar 4-May 7 The title of Patrick Cruz’s immersive, multimedia installation translates as “Flower of Paradise,” ironically inflecting the Filipino-Canadian artist’s meditation on many of the disruptive and diasporic trends of contemporary life. Cruz employs a wide range of forms, images and materials to express the experience of being transplanted from one culture to another in an age of globalization and material excess. His sculptures and paintings are accompanied by sound and video works by a number of collaborating artists.

NANITCH: EARLY PHOTOGRAPHS OF BRITISH COLUMBIA FROM THE LANGMANN COLLECTION Presentation House Gallery, North Vancouver, Mar 30-Jun 26 Drawing from a collection of more than 18,000 historic photographs recently donated to the UBC Library by the Langmann family, Nanitch reveals the role of the camera in constructing the colonial narrative of British Columbia. The show includes hand-coloured albumen prints, cartes de visite, stereograph cards and photogravures created between the 1860s and the early 20th century. Images range from First Nations canoes to shoe repair shops, and from fish-drying racks to clearcuts.

BRIAN HOWELL: A SURVEY Winsor Gallery, Vancouver, Apr 2-26 As part of the Capture Photography Festival, this show spotlights Brian Howell’s distinctive vision and socially provocative practice. From celebrity impersonators and amateur wrestlers to the interiors of newspaper printing plants and the charred remains of a fire-ravaged forest, Howell finds meaning and metaphor in his often-marginalized subjects. His photographs unite documentary and conceptual impulses and, in doing so, successfully shift his work from photojournalism and editorial photography into the realm of fine art.

HUGH HANSON DAVIDSON: A LIFE IN THE ARTS Kamloops Art Gallery, Kamloops, Apr 2-Jun 18 This exhibition celebrates the life and art collection of Hugh Hanson Davidson. Born in Montreal, Davidson spent much of his career as an arts administrator and music programmer in Canada and England. Quietly he collected contemporary art over the years, which he added to works he had inherited from his family. After retiring to the West Coast, he donated art and books to the KAG, and bequeathed the remainder of his collection to the gallery upon his death in 2014.

ANGELA FAMA: WHAT IS LOVE BAF Gallery, Vancouver, Apr 7-May 14 For five months last year, Vancouver artist Angela Fama set out to examine individual definitions of love. Driving her “travelling RV studio” thousands of kilometres around Canada and the United States, she stopped in more than 20 locations and asked adults she encountered questions about the meaning of love. The stop-motion video she created from the audio recordings of their responses and the photographic portraits she shot at the same time are the basis of her intriguing exhibition.

SYLVIA TAIT: WEST COAST SUITE Bau-Xi Gallery, Vancouver, Apr 9-23 One of Vancouver’s foremost abstractionists, Sylvia Tait has created a series of emotionally and philosophically charged paintings on canvas and multimedia panels. Through a lexicon of partitioned form, personal symbols, scraps of text and layers of rich colour, she expresses a lifetime of vivid experience, filtered through reflection and contemplation. Recently, Tait has been fragmenting and deconstructing her familiar visual components to metaphoric effect. In her own words, she is “breaking up larger colour blocks and blowing them away.”

DAVID PIRRIE: MAPPING THE ROCKIES Ian Tan Gallery, Vancouver Apr 9-30 As someone who grew up on Vancouver’s North Shore and who is an avid climber and skier, David Pirrie brings intense physical experience to his mountain subject. However, his “portraits” of individual mountains, removed from their surrounding ranges, are symbolic rather than literal. He overlays these images with grids of brightly coloured dots, alluding to Pop Art and reconfiguring traditional landscape tropes. Recently, his more abstract paintings have taken their inspiration from maps of the Rocky Mountains.

ANDA KUBIS: TOUCH OF THE UNREAL Elissa Cristall Gallery, Vancouver, Apr 9-May 7 This Toronto-based artist creates abstract paintings using a computer rather than pigment-laden brushes. In her artist statement, she writes that her touch, “translated to the screen, explores the infinite possibilities of colour and simulated form.” Kubis poses the playful and the improvisational against the considered and the analytical. She also explores the contemplative and meditative possibilities of painting against the hectic conditions of contemporary life.

TIKO KERR: BODY LANGUAGE South Main Gallery, Vancouver, May 6-28 Those who know Tiko Kerr’s practice by his lively representational paintings will be surprised by his paper-cut collages. Much more streamlined in style and compressed in content, they address ideas of perception, especially around pattern recognition and the ways in which our readings of people and situations are shaped by our cultural and social conditioning. Kerr’s highly abstracted figures, stranded in bare, geometric landscapes, ask us to consider how we interpret visual cues.

UNSETTLED SITES SFU Gallery, Burnaby, May 7-Jul 29 This three-person show examines ideas of belonging and dispossession from the point of view of both settler and indigenous cultures. Featuring installation, photographic and video works by Marian Penner Bancroft, Wanda Nanibush and Tania Willard, Unsettled Sites addresses colonialism and its contravention, describing a world haunted by the ghosts of repression and displacement, past and present. The show challenges us with questions such as “Can one both belong to a place and remain unsettled?”

Patrick Cruz
Patrick Cruz

Percy M. Smith Shoe Repair, 1339 Lonsdale Avenue, North Vancouver, c. 1920
Percy M. Smith Shoe Repair, 1339 Lonsdale Avenue, North Vancouver, c. 1920

Brian Howell
Brian Howell

Hugh Hansen Davidson
Hugh Hansen Davidson

Angela Fama
Angela Fama

Sylvia Tait
Sylvia Tait

David Pirrie
David Pirrie

Anda Kubis
Anda Kubis

Tiko Kerr
Tiko Kerr

Tania Willard
Tania Willard

 Sat, Apr 9, 2016