By Robin Laurance
MICHAEL DUMONTIER AND NEIL FARBER
Kamloops Art Gallery, Kamloops. To Mar 23
Collaborating as a duo since 2008 (and before that, with the Royal Art Lodge collective), Winnipeg artists Dumontier and Farber have created a wonderfully engaging series of painted, drawn and text-based works. Their KAG exhibition, titled I wasn’t paying attention and now it’s over, includes selections from their Library paintings (on book covers and spines) and Typing prints (in which text and imagery are generated on an old manual typewriter). Humour and absurdity abound.
SPACES FOR READING
SFU Gallery, Burnaby. To Apr 18
Drawn from SFU’s art collection, this exhibition spotlights mixed-media works by Ann Beam and her late husband, Carl Beam. Both artists challenge the cultural construction of history, Ann Beam with an examination of gender roles and women’s labour, and Carl Beam through the exploration of “the space between Indigenous and other cultural views of our place within the universe.” A reading room features texts in response to the art selected by poet Mackenzie Ground, artist Sandra Semchuk and writer Richard Hill.
ASLAN GAISUMOV: IF NO ONE ASKS
Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver. To Mar 24
Through his art, the young Chechnyan artist Aslan Gaisumov asks us to bear witness to the wars fought in his homeland during the 20th century. His solo show at the CAG, a North American first, brings together two diverse yet powerful works. Memories ofWar is a page torn from a found book, its text almost entirely redacted with linesof black ink. People of No Consequence is a single-channel video in which an empty auditorium gradually fills with survivors of mass deportations from Chechnya during World War II.
ATHUT / WORDS BOUNCE
Nanaimo Art Gallery, Nanaimo. To Mar 31
In this three-person show, language functions as both subject and medium, “transforming, evolving, disappearing, and rebounding.” Through painting, photography, video and installation, Joi T. Arcand, Patrick Cruz and Susan Hiller employ written and spoken words, glyphs and syllabics, songs, conversations and graffiti. By these means they champion the resurgence of an Indigenous language, explore the origins of a mother tongue, and map the places where language and technology intersect.
JANE ADAMS: LIVING ON THE GRID
South Main Gallery, Vancouver. Feb 9 – 24
Recent abstract paintings by Jane Adams draw their energy and inspiration from her move into the heart of Vancouver. Forms and patterns represent the loud and pervasive sounds of her densely populated urban environment, and include symbolic references to “the night rattle of bottle collectors and their trolley carts, car horns and sirens.” These works also speak abstractly to visual aspects of the built and natural environments, from condo towers and construction cranes to the sun rising and setting over the harbour.
FRENCH MODERNS: MONET TO MATISSE, 1850-1950
Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver. Feb 16 – May 20
On tour from the Brooklyn Museum of Art, French Moderns includes landscapes, still lifes, portraits and nudes by a raft of famed artists, including Pierre Bonnard, Paul Cézanne, Marc Chagall, Edgar Degas and, yes, Claude Monet and Pablo Picasso. Complementing this travelling show is Affinities: Canadian Artists and France, which focuses on the impact of French art and culture over the past 120 years on Canadian artists, from Emily Carr to Lucy Hogg and from J.W. Morrice to Rodney Graham.
DOUGLAS BENTHAM: THE TABLETS
Touchstones Nelson Museum of Art and History, Nelson. Mar 2 – May 26
Saskatoon artist Douglas Bentham is nationally and internationally recognized for his abstract sculptures, executed across a range of scale and mediums. Whether large or small, in steel, bronze or wood, his art is, he says in his artist’s statement, “rooted in the Modernist tradition, which embraces growth and transformation.” Equally poetically, he continues, “I enter into a kind of prayer with the material, with the goal of creating a rhythm that will carry me through many days in the studio.”
QUIET NATURE: THE WOODBLOCK PRINTS OF WALTER J. PHILLIPS
Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, Victoria. Mar 9 – May 20
This exhibition spotlights the acclaimed colour woodcuts of Walter J. Phillips (1884-1963). Born and educated in England, Phillips immigrated to Canada in 1913, living and teaching in Winnipeg, Banff and Calgary before retiring to Victoria. Trainedinitially (and greatly admired) as a watercolourist, he became enamoured of Japanese woodblock printmaking, studying most notably with Mokuchu Urushibara. His prints are distinguished by their delicate palette, subtle depths, and rhythmic lines and forms.
Pendulum Gallery, Vancouver. Mar 11 – 29
This pop-up exhibition from Gallery Jones demonstrates four very different approaches to that most iconic of Canadian subjects, the landscape. Ross Penhall, Greg Hardy and Yehouda Chaki manifest highly individual painting styles in scenes that span the country, from Vancouver to Montreal. Equally distinctive are Danny Singer’s panoramiccolour photographs of small Prairie towns, filled with visual incident and sittingbeneath immense and sometimes turbulent skies.
DAVID A. HAUGHTON: ANGRY WHITE MEN 2
Further Exploration of the Face of Evil
VisualSpace Gallery, Vancouver. Mar 14 – 27
Based on news photographs from Europe, Canada and the United States, these paintings by self-taught artist David Haughton probe the alarming rise of whitesupremacism and neo-Nazism. Haughton’s work deplores the phenomenon yet asks us to question the economic and political conditions that may give rise to hate-filled tribalism.