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 Back  Vignettes | British Columbia | September – October 2015

By Robin Laurence

SETH: DOMINION Art Gallery at Evergreen Cultural Centre, Coquitlam, Jul 25-Oct 18 Canadian artist Seth (the pen name of Gregory Gallant) is an acclaimed cartoonist and graphic novelist and creator of the comic book series Palookaville. He is also the maker of model buildings, which he has assembled into an installation representing the fictional city Dominion. Dominion conflates aspects of several small Canadian cities in the mid-20th century as it examines civic politics, business, development, boosterism and social engagement – all with Seth’s characteristic blend of cynicism and nostalgia.

SILVA: O HORIZON Nanaimo Art Gallery, Nanaimo, Sep 4-Oct 31 Silva, the scientific name for the forest floor, is also the name of an ambitious project that includes two exhibitions, a publication and a series of artist talks, tours, readings and performances. The first of its two exhibitions, O Horizon, uses large-scale sculptural installations to reflect on holistic ecosystems and the relationship between language, culture and the natural environment. Site-specific works by Duane Linklater, Gareth Moore, Kika Thorne and Elias Wakan employ a range of materials, from natural to manufactured.

RECEIPT Hot Art Wet City, Vancouver, Sep 10-25 This happily low-brow gallery declares its interest in art that is “fun, weird and accessible.” HAWC’s exhibition, Receipt, takes that playful mandate and seriously runs with it, addressing our society’s ever-expanding expenditures on food, booze and drugs. Included with each work in this group show is a receipt for a meal out or a weekend bender, shining a spotlight on the gap between what we value as having lasting importance (art) and what we spend our money on (ephemeral pleasures and sensations).

RYAN GANDER Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver, Sep 11-Nov 1 If it’s difficult to get a bead on what UK artist Ryan Gander does; that may be because his practice is so diverse. His media range from photography, film, installation, drawing and performance to paperweights, maps and custom-designed sportswear. Subtitled “Make every show like it’s your last,” this CAG show of Gander’s work features an off-site poster project, a video work and sculptures incorporating elements of both playfulness and intellectual rigour.

JOHN HALL AND ALEXANDRA HAESEKER: PENDULUM/PENDULA Touchstones Nelson, Nelson, Sep 12-Nov 15 Realist artists John Hall and Alexandra Haeseker both work from photographs, and have spent prolonged periods of time in Mexico. Between 1992 and 1998, they collaborated in the production of a series of paintings exploring contemporary Mexican culture, drawing on elements of that country’s festivals, marketplaces and pre-Columbian and folk art. Their surreal compositions convey the contrasts of life and death, beauty and grotesquerie, peacefulness and violence, all of which exist side by side in Mexico.

COLIN GRAHAM: SELECTED WORKS Petley-Jones Gallery, Vancouver, Sep 17-Oct 1 After a distinguished career in arts administration, including the directorship of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria from 1951 to 1973, the late Colin Graham began to make art. He took up painting and became a member of the Limners, a distinguished painters group whose members included Maxwell Bates, Richard Ciccimarra and others. This exhibition focuses on the appealing landscapes Graham created in an understated, post-Impressionist style.

REALM OF POSSIBILITIES Chinese Cultural Centre Museum, Vancouver, Sep 19-Oct 25 This three-person exhibition explores shifting ways of addressing the meaning of life, the nature of emotion and our interface with the natural world. Wai Yee Chiu uses Chinese watercolour in roundel format, sometimes covering her imagery with resin, to convey passing seasons. Hailien Tam challenges our perceptions with her close-up colour photographs of natural forms such as fruits and mushrooms. Synn Kune Loh creates painting installations that juxtapose human experience with the vastness of the cosmos.

JAY SENETCHKO: THE BEST OF LIFE Burrard Arts Foundation, Vancouver, Sep 24-Oct 31 Working from photographs found in Life magazines from the 1960s, Jay Senetchko has created figurative paintings and collages that pose questions about memory, nostalgia and “the pathological nature of the North American dream.” Many of his reconfigured images depict enigmatic and unsettling situations that challenge facile interpretation. He asks us to consider the persistence of war, drugs, racial tension, the nuclear family and dissembling politicians, from the mid-20th century to the present day.

ELIZABETH D’AGOSTINO: MAKESHIFT Kelowna Art Gallery, Kelowna, Sep 26-Jan 10 The Toronto-based Elizabeth D’Agostino is an educator, arts administrator and accomplished printmaker. In this exhibition, she wraps the KAG’s Reynolds Gallery with prints that encompass a range of techniques, such as etching, serigraphy and collage. Her installation, which also includes sculptures created out of paper clay and printed Japanese paper, explores themes and forms derived from the natural world. A fictional narrative is woven through the work’s alternately similar and disparate elements.

ALEX MORRISON Burnaby Art Gallery, Burnaby, Sep 4-Nov 8, and SFU Art Gallery, Burnaby, Sep 5-Dec 11 This duo-venue exhibition, titled Phantoms of a Utopian Will/Like Most Follies, More Than a Joke and More Than a Whim, presents new and recent work by Canadian artist Alex Morrison. Morrison investigates built environments as they reflect the social conditions that bring them into being and inflect their eventual use. His newly commissioned installations at the BAG and SFU respond to their widely diverse architectural settings – the Arts and Crafts mansion and the Arthur Erickson-designed Modernist university complex, respectively.

Seth
Seth

Duane Linklater
Duane Linklater

Jeff Wilson
Jeff Wilson

Ryan Gander
Ryan Gander

Lara John Hall and Alexandra Haeseker
John Hall and Alexandra Haeseker

Colin Graham
Colin Graham

Wai Yee Chui
Wai Yee Chui

Jay Senetchko
Jay Senetchko

Elizabeth D'Agostino
Elizabeth D'Agostino

Alex Morrison
Alex Morrison

 Mon, Sep 7, 2015