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 Back  Vignettes | British Columbia | June - August 2016

By Robin Laurence

MARINA ROY: YOUR KINGDOM TO COMMAND Vancouver Art Gallery Offsite, Vancouver, Jun 2-Oct 10 Threatened biodiversity, resource exploitation, climate change and habitat destruction are referenced in this large-scale installation and water feature by Vancouver artist Marina Roy. Two large stumps, salvaged after a 2015 windstorm, stand before a 25-metre-long plywood mural whose multiple small organic images suggest plant and animal life in various stages of transformation. These forms float on either side of an immense pyramid, symbolizing human domination over the natural world.

ISABEL NOLAN: THE WEAKENED EYE OF DAY Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver, Jul 29-Oct 2 Irish artist Isabel Nolan employs a range of media and materials – from text work to painting to ceramic vessels – to examine our individual and collective attempts to make sense of our existence. Through references to geological time, astronomy, cosmology and religious faith, Nolan examines the ways artists, particularly, have attempted to explain the vast and ineffable mysteries of creation and “our place beneath the sun.”

CÉSAR DAMIÁN: TRACES Oxygen Art Centre, Nelson, Sept 7-Oct 1 Mexican artist, editor and cultural facilitator, César Damián has been artist-in-residence at Oxygen for the month of August. His installations use photography “as a departure point,” and his frequent theme is migration and its correlatives – memory, identity, place. The exhibition reveals his exploration of wind and water as symbols of emotional states, and records his work with the local community in the creation of a time capsule.

BRENDAN TANG Gallery Jones, Vancouver, Sep 8-Oct 1 Internationally acclaimed for his ceramic sculpture, Brendan Tang ingeniously combines references to Ming Dynasty porcelain vessels and 21st century techno-pop forms and images. His mash-up of Chinese tradition with video games, robotics, Manga and anime reflects globalization’s impacts on cultural identity, as well as technology’s intrusions into the human body. In his statement, Tang writes that his practice “embodies the influences, tensions and contradictions that define the postmodern world.”

JAMES NIZAM: ASCENSIONS OF TIME BAF Gallery (Burrard Fine Arts Foundation), Vancouver, Sep 8-Oct 22 Vancouver-based artist James Nizam uses photography to investigate the ways light activates space and measures out time. In this new exhibition, he stages his work in the specific setting of an art gallery to further explore the relationship between light, time and architecture, and to examine how we may perceive each through the other. With immense precision, he deploys a range of photographic technologies to expand our perceptions.

RYAN QUAST: EVERYDAY LIVING Wil Aballe Art Projects/WAAP Vancouver, Aug 9-Sep 10 The debut show for WAAP’s new gallery location features realistic sculptures made out of…paint. Or are they paintings in sculptural form? Emerging artist Ryan Quast creates ordinary looking objects (a dustpan, a plunger, a garbage bag) by building up layer upon layer of paint, sometimes over a period of many years. The resulting works take on issues of representation and the value of labour.

DEBORAH MORRISS: INSIDE THE OUTSIDE The Reach Gallery Museum Abbotsford, Sep 22-Nov 20 Trained as a ceramicist, Deborah Morriss’s experiments here with papier maché, often in combination with other materials such as gypsum, iron pigment and sand. Her imaginative biomorphic sculptures suggest seed pods, fossilized shells and other curious exoskeletons – forms in which life might once have sheltered. Each piece is intended to convey its own personality and distinct existence, “independent of human interference.”

ALL MEMBRANES ARE POROUS Kamloops Art Gallery, Kamloops, Sep 24-Dec 31 A fresh look at an enduring topic, this group exhibition examines ways in which social, cultural and personal meanings express themselves through the human body. Emblematic of life and death, fertility and decay, beauty and grotesquerie, the body may also be the site of hypnotic experience, medical trauma or clinical investigation. Artists represented here include Margaret Dragu, Pascal Grandmaison, Zoe Kreye, Luanne Martineau and Jeremy Shaw.

LYLE WILSON: HAISLAKALA Coastal Peoples Fine Arts Gallery, Vancouver, Oct 6-Nov 18 Subtitled Spoken from the Heart, this exhibition of jewellery and mixed-media works by leading Haisla artist Lyle Wilson is underscored by his determination to learn his nation’s endangered language, Haislakala. Like many of his generation, Wilson grew up hearing his elders speaking Haislakala but not knowing how to speak it himself. Now, his growing understanding of the language greatly enriches the visual art he creates.

JUDY CHARTRAND: WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art, Vancouver, Oct 20-Feb 19 Humour and irony are deeply embedded in Judy Chartrand’s ceramic art, as is biting social criticism. Whether in the form of a decorative plate or a grouping of “soup cans,” her work reflects personal histories, post-colonial relations between indigenous and non-indigenous cultures and life in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Rich colours and lustrous glazes contrast with allusions to poverty, racism, violence and urban blight.

Marina Roy
Marina Roy

Isabel Nolan
Isabel Nolan

César Damián
César Damián

Brendan Tang
Brendan Tang

James Nizam
James Nizam

Ryan Quast
Ryan Quast

Deborah Morriss
Deborah Morriss

Zoe Kreye
Zoe Kreye

Lyle Wilson
Lyle Wilson

Judy Chartrand
Judy Chartrand

 Sat, Sep 10, 2016