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 Back  Vignettes | British Columbia | November – January 2015/16

By Robin Laurence

VIEWS FROM THE SOUTHBANK III: INFORMATION, OBJECTS, MAPPINGS Surrey Art Gallery, Surrey, Sep 19-Dec 13 This last in a series of exhibitions marking Surrey Art Gallery’s 40th anniversary asks how artists respond to the huge societal shifts brought about by pervasive digital culture and hand-held devices. Some of the 20 artists represented here are seen to fully engage the new technologies, building infographics and data systems into their work. Some employ ideas of mapping and counter-mapping. Others still resist the digital world, holding fast to tangible materials, from ceramics to textile sculpture.

KEVIN SCHMIDT: THE COMMONS Kamloops Art Gallery, Kamloops, Oct 3-Jan 2 Kevin Schmidt often situates his concept-driven art in isolated settings, taking on culturally constructed ideas of nature. He also engages popular culture tropes of production and display, along with DIY practices and a utopian belief in “the commons.” From a billboard inscribed with apocalyptic quotes from the Book of Revelations and installed on melting Arctic ice, to a homesteader’s cabin animated by flashing lights and electronic sound, Schmidt’s work intrigues and inspires.

GWAII HAANAS: LAND SEA PEOPLE Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art, Vancouver, Oct 28-Mar 27 This exhibition celebrates the extraordinary natural beauty and ancient monuments and village sites found in Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site. Located in southernmost Haida Gwaii, Gwaii Haanas is one of the most important fully protected vertical ecosystems in the world, extending from mountaintop to ocean shelf. The World Heritage site SGang Gwaay (Anthony Island) is also here. This show includes Haida ceremonial works and works by artists participating in the Gwaii Haanas Residency Program.

SCARE-CITY Hot Art Wet City, Vancouver, Oct 29-Nov 14 Overlapping themes in this two-person, “low brow” gallery show are revealed in its title. “Scare” here means “endangered” … as in animals. “City” suggests the impact of urban sprawl on wildlife. And then there’s the “scary” Hallowe’en-ish element. Mia Dungeon uses animal horns, bones and skulls in her sculptures, along with recycled materials, found objects and vintage jewellery. Shwa Keirstead’s pictures reflect a cartoon cultural influence and a fondness for surreal, monstrous creatures.

LAURIE PAPOU: PERFECT GEOMETRY Art Gallery at Evergreen Cultural Centre, Coquitlam, Oct 31-Jan 3 Laurie Papou often creates allegorical scenes situated at the interface of nature and culture. In her latest exhibition, she juxtaposes paintings of cross-sections of trees felled in Stanley Park during the 2006 windstorm with paintings of much-enlarged human irises. Together these images allude to individual identity, family connection, the passage of time and the cycle of life. Papou’s “forest” of tall vinyl tubes filled with shredded paper also evokes ideas of growth, death and regeneration.

CONFLUENCE Pendulum Gallery, Vancouver, Nov 2-14 Seven artists explore and exemplify this Pacific Rim city of Vancouver as a nexus or meeting place for a wealth of images, ideas and perspectives. Working across form and medium, Karen Bagayawa, K8L35 (Kate MacDonald & Leslie Sears), Toy Gomes, Cody Lecoy, Mohamad Moheet and Rubina Rajan all draw from their diverse cultural backgrounds to produce art that exemplifies the idea of Vancouver as a place of “harmonious confluence.”

FOTOFILMIC ’15 BAF Studio (Burrard Arts Foundation), Vancouver, Nov 5-Dec 19 FotoFilmic is an independent curatorial platform dedicated to preserving the aesthetics, crafts and practices of film-based photography. This touring exhibition presents the winning entries of an annual international competition, sponsored by FotoFilmic, for photographers attached to film and preceding historical processes, with a special focus on emerging and unknown talents. Look for prints by some 30 finalists from Romania to South Korea and Belgium to Singapore.

(IN)VISIBLE: THE SPIRITUAL WORLD OF TAIWAN THROUGH CONTEMPORARY ART Museum of Anthropology, Vancouver, Nov 20-Apr 3 The spotlight here is on seven Taiwanese artists whose work expresses the vibrant coexistence of tradition and modernity within their multi-faceted culture. Myths, legends and religious beliefs originating in Buddhism, Daoism, Confucianism, Christianity, Chinese folk religions and indigenous animism are reflected in a range of contemporary media, including installation, performance, video, sculpture and painting. The artists also draw inspiration from traditional craft and folk art forms such as weaving, paper cutting and puppetry.

LEAH WEINSTEIN: THE POETRY OF OBJECTS Touchstones Nelson, Nelson, Nov 21-Feb 14 Based in Nelson, Leah Weinstein describes herself as a textile and performance artist “whose practice investigates connections between material culture and the social ideals of a larger collective.” Her assemblages of found, repurposed and reconfigured objects find their way into her exhibitions and her performances. A dress covered in spoons, a garment composed entirely of sleeves, a curving cascade of lampshades in different states of wholeness and deconstruction – all explore the relationship between the material and the immaterial, the ordinary and the extraordinary.

THE ARTIST HERSELF Kelowna Art Gallery, Kelowna, Jan 23-Apr 3 Subtitled Self-Portraits of Canadian Historical Women Artists, this touring exhibition comprises 50 works by 40 artists. From an 18th-century watercolour by Elizabeth Simcoe to a 1961 painting by Daphne Odjig, the self-portraits reveal as much about the shifting status of women as about changing art styles. Media range from sculpture, drawing, painting and photography to quilting and embroidery. Look, too, for the dainty and the folksy: a painted china brooch and a painted metal biscuit tin.

Ben Reeves
Ben Reeves

Kevin Schmidt
Kevin Schmidt

Jason Shafto
Jason Shafto

Shwa Keirstead
Shwa Keirstead

Laurie Papou
Laurie Papou

Mohamad Moheet
Mohamad Moheet

Cavalier Bertrand
Cavalier Bertrand

Walis Labai
Walis Labai

Leah Weinstein
Leah Weinstein

Frances Anne Hopkins
Frances Anne Hopkins

 Sun, Nov 8, 2015