By Robin Laurance
SOFIE SKAPSKI: FOREST BATHING
Old School House Arts Centre, Qualicum Beach. To Feb 16
Through a painstaking and labour-intensive process – applying coloured beads of oil paint and cold wax on canvas with a palette knife – Comox Valley artist Sofie Skapski has created a series of vivid landscapes. The effect is like a cross between Pointillism and mosaic art. In her exhibition statement, she writes of drawing creative nourishment from the rich tapestry of flora and fauna that she encounters in her own environment and through her extensive travels.
COUZYN VAN HEUVELEN: BAIT
grunt gallery, Vancouver. To Feb 22
In this exhibition, acclaimed Inuk sculptor and installation artist Couzyn van Heuvelen addresses critical issues, such as his people’s survival and sovereignty, through “reinterpreting and reimagining Inuit hunting and fi shing implements.” Characteristic of his practice, he marries Inuit culture and tradition to contemporary materials such as aluminum, glass and steel, while also experimenting with process, scale and abstraction. Originally from Iqaluit, van Heuvelen is based in Bowmanville, Ontario.
MIA CINELLI: THIS BEING SAID
Seymour Art Gallery, North Vancouver. To Feb 29
American artist and designer Mia Cinelli works across many forms and media, including conceptual products, sculpture, installation, garments and graphics. Her current show is composed of a series of large digital and small letterpress prints that employ typography as a means of both expression and exploration. Cinelli’s bold and inventive glyphs ask us to consider how punctuation marks, particularly, might reference, say, bodily gestures to communicate expanded meanings, such as affection, anticipation and disgust.
TWYLA EXNER: CLING
Kamloops Art Gallery, Kamloops. To Mar 14
Prince George artist Twyla Exner not only fills the walls of the KAG’s Cube gallery, but also expands her new work off-site, suggesting an alarmingly invasive hybrid species. She fuses barnacle-like forms onto discarded satellite TV dishes to pose questions about the impact of contemporary technologies on our daily lives and on our relationships with lived reality and each other. At the same time, she comments on the wasteful capitalist cycle of ever-new technologies and planned obsolescence.
TREVOR VAN DEN EIJNDEN: A SOUL IS NOT MADE OF ATOMS
The Reach Gallery Museum, Abbotsford. To Mar 20
Through sculpture, photography and installations of “light and shadow.” Trevor Van den Eijnden evokes the apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic – the bleak end of the age now termed the Anthropocene. From the ominously glowing, super-saturated colours that characterize his photos of our known world, transformed by global climate change, to “hyperobjects that have survived the End,” he asks us to consider a frightening future – a future that is already here.
DON LI-LEGER: COUNTING THE STEPS OF THE SUN
Surrey Art Gallery, Surrey. To Mar 22
This memorial exhibition features late-career paintings and video works by Surrey Civic Treasure Don Li-Leger, who died in April 2019. Much loved and respected, Li-Leger drew energy and inspiration from the natural world, combining his art studies with those in natural history and plant ecology. His painting style evolved from tightly realistic to loose and colourfully abstracted, his most recent works devoted to the “blooming desert” of the American Southwest, where he travelled in 2017.
ALL’ITALIANA: THE CRAFT OF ITALIAN FASHION c. 1900-2000
Il Museo, Italian Cultural Centre, Vancouver. To Mar 28
Speak the names Fortuny, Schiaparelli, Pucci and Gucci out loud and expect to hear a collective “ahh” of appreciation. These and other leading 20th-century Italian fashion designers are represented in an exhibition of fine garments, drawn from notable public and private collections. The show illustrates how designers and craftspeople drew from Italy’s rich art history, as well as how they responded to the modern world. Of special interest is the handcrafted nature of the Italian fashion (and shoes) on display.
MASAOMI YASUNAGA: EMPTY LANDSCAPE
Libby Leshgold Gallery, Vancouver. To Mar 29
Based in Mie, Japan, artist Masaomi Yasunaga creates experimental forms that, according to the gallery, exist “somewhere between utile vessel and sculptural object.” Rather than building his forms out of raw clay, Yasunaga seems to employ core elements of earthy rubble, bound together with glaze, wood-fired, “excavated,” then installed in the gallery on raised beds of gravel. It is as if they have been retrieved from the matter on which they rest, bestowing them with an archaeological presence that persists across time and place.
SANDRA SEMCHUK: A GENERATIONAL RETROSPECTIVE
Nanaimo Art Gallery, Nanaimo. Feb 7 – Apr 5
Photographic artist Sandra Semchuk celebrates connection and collaboration, beginning with the Ukrainian-Canadian family and community into which she was born. She has also created work with her late husband, the Rock Cree actor, orator and artist James Nicholas, and more recently with Port Alberni–based artist Skeena Reece. This retrospective exhibition ranges across nearly 50 years of Semchuk’s practice and includes video installations exploring generational relationships with the natural world.
STEPHANIE KELLETT AND ROBERT LIVINGOOD: AFTER EDEN
Kootenay Gallery of Art, Castlegar. Mar 6 – Apr 18
What comes after humanity’s expulsion from – or destruction of – our earthly Paradise? This is the metaphoric question posed by Nelson-based artists Stephanie Kellett and Robert Livingood. Expressing their personal observations of the devastating effects of climate change on the Canadian North, their multimedia exhibition includes ghostly paintings of disappearing wildlife, a video of a figure in mourning floating over a barren landscape, and eerie sound works made from in situ recordings.