MENU

What's On

Loading
Gallery Hours
Tuesday to Sunday 12 - 6pm
Free Admission
  • Isabel Nolan The weakened eye of day July 29 to October 2, 2016 B.C. Binning and Alvin Balkind Galleries The Contemporary Art Gallery presents a major new body of work by Irish artist Isabel Nolan, conceived as a single project across successive evolving presentations at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, Mercer Union, Toronto and CAG. Nolan’s work encompasses text, sculpture, drawing and textiles, and often begins with the close scrutiny of individual literary or artistic works, or evolves out of consciously erratic and diverging enquiries into the aesthetics of varied fields. Ranging from cosmology, to theories and systems of medicine detailing the makeup and workings of the human body or to illuminated manuscripts, all provide potential stimuli for investigation. The exhibition takes its title from the English novelist and poet Thomas Hardy’s The Darkling Thrush (1899), in which the sun, described as “the weakening eye of day”, is a dismal star drained of its force by a gloomy pre-centennial winter afternoon. As the sun’s gaze weakens, so flags the spirit of the poet who, until interrupted by birdsong, sees only the inevitability of death in the cold world around him. The show thereby examines how light manifests as a symbol in our thoughts, obsessions and pursuits, and oscillates around a series of ideas as a material account of the known and unknown strangeness of the world, from the formation of the planet’s crust to the death of the sun and the enduring preoccupation with light as a metaphor for truth, hope and optimism. Writing is an important tool for Nolan, and at the beginning of the show, a single sculptural form appears perhaps as the protagonist of an improbable story. Rock founded place (2014) is a large-scale scrolled text written by Nolan that imagines the viewpoint of the oldest rock in the world, whose exposure to deep time and the precariousness of existence is profoundly different to our own. In this world, time, knowledge and forms of life are recognizable yet play utterly different histories and roles than in our own civilization. Throughout the exhibition, individual pieces unfold to both seduce and disarm. Nolan uses this as a device to cause us reflection upon our relationship to light as a means by which the world is framed. She provides opportunities to reveal the contingency not only of our own world, but also of our myriad ways of knowing and being in it. Underpinning this is a desire to examine and capture in material form the occasions of intensity that can define our encounters with the objects around us; inexplicable and unsettling moments that leave us with a heightened awareness of what is means to be alive. For the artist this exploration happens through making things; whether these things are sculptures, textiles, photographs or texts. Monumental or intimate in scale, they are presented to us as tentative and precarious markers of the experience of our place beneath the sun. Across all spaces at CAG, discrete works trace a progression reflective of different human attempts to understand our place in the universe. From Rock founded place we might move to consider a small-scale abstract painting such as Dreams of no thing, no time (2014), the enigmatically diagrammatic steel construction Somewhere between Andromeda and Vulpecula: Sky Atlas (2014) or Fourfold sorrows (Jesus you look so sad) (2015), an impressive woven carpet connecting wall to floor. Contemplating these and other pieces such as the collection of brightly coloured ceramic vessels, Nothing new under the sun (2014), all combine to reflect Nolan’s interest in the way colour and light are used to express religious or spiritual sensibilities. Elsewhere, the intimate drawings Based on my recent observations (1–7) (2014) and the large-scale photograph The view from nowhen (2014) are informed by modern cosmology, wherein scientific theories and technologies articulate our contemporary relationship to the universe. And as we meander through the space of the gallery, we are finally confronted by what at first appears a somewhat surreal image, this mural of two donkeys photographed in Bully’s Acre, a former public cemetery located near the Royal Hospital Kilmainham in Dublin. Referred to in myth and folklore from around the world as well as embodying different symbolic references in classical and ancient cultures and across different faiths, these donkeys provide a provocation that cannot be met: a stubborn and inscrutable view from a world that can never be fully known. As with all of Nolan’s oeuvre, the works in The weakened eye of day reveal, through their very subjective and intimate nature, the arbitrariness and inherent absurdity of attempting to tackle the enormity of these subjects through the process of object making. Yet the objects are made and for Nolan they also find, with varying degrees of (un)certainty, their place under the sun. Originated by the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, this new selection of work for the exhibition is presented in collaboration with Mercer Union, Toronto and Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver. The exhibition is supported by the Culture Ireland programme for 2016 celebrating Ireland’s Centenary. We also acknowledge the generous assistance of Kerlin Gallery, Dublin. Isabel Nolan lives and works in Dublin, Ireland. Recent solo exhibitions include Mercer Union, Toronto (2016); Launch Pad, New York; Kerlin Gallery, Dublin (2015); Sean Kelly Gallery, New York; Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (2014); The Return Gallery, Goethe Institut, Dublin; Musée d’art Moderne de Saint-Etienne (2012); The Model, Sligo (2011); Gallery Side 2, Tokyo (2010); Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin; ARTSPACE, New Zealand (2008); Project Arts Centre, Dublin (2005). Nolan represented Ireland at the 2005 Venice Biennale in a group exhibition, “Ireland at Venice 2005”. Other recent group shows include Lofoten International Arts Festival (LIAF), Svolvær, Norway; Artspace, Sydney (2015); Wallspace Gallery, New York (2014); Palais de Tokyo, Paris; David Nolan Gallery, New York; Villa Datris, Fondation pour la Sculpture Contemporain, France; Lewis Glucksman Gallery, Cork (2013); EVA International, Limerick (2012); Stephen Friedman Gallery, London;  Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh (2011); Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh (2010); Accademia d’Ungheria, Rome; The Daejeon Museum of Art, South Korea; Bielefelder Kunstverein, Germany; Limerick City Gallery of Art, Ireland; AkkuH, Hengelo, The Netherlands; Centre Culturel Irlandais, Paris; Millennium Court Arts Centre, Portadown, Northern Ireland; SMART Project Space, Amsterdam (2009); Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York; Stroom Den Haag (2007). Work is held in public collections of the Irish Museum of Modern Art; The Hugh Lane Gallery, Dublin; Allied Irish Bank; Arts Council of Ireland; Kildare Co. Council and various private collections in Europe and USA. Nolan is represented by Kerlin Gallery, Dublin. MORE
    Icon
    29 Jul, 2016 – 02 Oct, 2016
    Isabel Nolan, installation view of 'The Weakened Eye of Day', CAG. Photograph SITE Photography.
  • White, Steel, Slice, Mask Window spaces September 10, 2016 – January 8, 2017 Bear Claws Salad Hands Off-site: Yaletown Roundhouse Station, Canada Line September 10, 2016 – January 8, 2017 The Contemporary Art Gallery presents an ambitious new multi-venue commission by collaborators Dutch artist Mirjam Linschooten and Canadian artist Sameer Farooq, interrogating the ways in which cultural diversity is narrated and represented. Working together for over a decade, the duo’s interdisciplinary practice creates community-based models of participation in order to reimagine a material record of the present. Utilizing installation, photography, design and writing, they investigate the tactics and methods of anthropology to examine various forms of collecting, interpretation and display. The result is work that reveals how institutions speak about our lives, evoking an archeology of the present often existing beyond the framework of the gallery. Their expansive projects develop intricate, speculative archives repurposing found objects and language to expose ruptures within cultural representation, questioning the invisibility of the archivist and interrogating the inherent value bias in collecting. Over the past year Farooq and Linschooten have undertaken a series of cumulative research trips via the Burrard Marina Field House Studio Residency Program toward the development of installations at CAG, the Yaletown-Roundhouse Station and the Museum of Anthropology (MOA). Core to the various commissions are participatory workshops led by the artists with the Native Youth Program (NYP) at MOA, a program for Indigenous youth from Greater Vancouver where students engage in various aspects of working within a museum context, leading public tours, completing research projects and participating in presentations. Farooq and Linschooten invited NYP participants to consider their personal narratives in relation to the anthropological museum’s displays, identifying key elements for examination in the Multiversity Galleries. Throughout the histories of colonialism and capitalism innumerable cultural objects have entered museum collections around the world detached from the communities and physical bodies they belong to. Ripped from context and trapped behind glass, rearranged and discombobulated, the cultural authenticity, specificity and vitality of these objects are dismembered into taxonomies of otherness. Within the window spaces at CAG, Farooq and Linschooten consider such acts of ethnographic curation. Reflecting tensions between local communities and their representation in museums, Farooq and Linschooten focus on ongoing cultural forms that persist in contemporary culture. Replicating, yet also subverting, the supposed objective aesthetic of museum vitrines, Farooq and Linschooten have installed a collection of mass-produced cultural objects purchased from shops across the lower mainland, notionally representative of Vancouver’s largest immigrant communities. Display mechanisms such as shelves, hooks and bars are used to disrupt and unsettle the objects, disturbing the meticulous arrangement and suggestive of the uneasy relations between the conserved and custodian, artifact and everyday object, revealing the unintended violence of display. At Yaletown-Roundhouse Station, Farooq and Linschooten repurpose found language from a local souvenir shop highlighting the active commodification of culture. During their time in Vancouver the artists discovered Hudson House Trading Company, a typical tourist store in Gastown selling a plethora of Canadian ‘knick-knacks’ that capitalize on perceptions of Vancouver’s identity via a collection of cultural reproductions for sale. Through the simple act of reproducing the language of the store’s inventory list and applying the names of a selection of items directly onto the station windows, the Canada Line façade operates like an advert exaggerating the wholesale co-opting of culture as currency. The re-appropriation of found images, objects and language developed into public installations both exaggerate and subvert the ethnographic strategies of representation and implicate such practices into a larger system of commodification utilized to propagate cultural hierarchy, difference and discrimination. Projects are generously supported by the BC Arts Council Innovations Program, the Mondriaan Fund and the Hamber Foundation. Farooq and Linschooten’s collaboration with the Native Youth Program is developed in collaboration with the Museum of Anthropology. The project at Yaletown- Roundhouse Station is presented in partnership with the Canada Line Public Art Program — IntransitBC. The interdisciplinary practice of Sameer Farooq (Canada) and Mirjam Linschooten (Netherlands) can be situated as an expanded documentary practice, presenting counterarchives, new additions to museum collections or making buried histories visible. Their work has been exhibited in various countries, including: Belgium, Canada, China, Egypt, France, Montenegro, Morocco, Netherlands, Serbia, Spain, Switzerland and Turkey. Recent projects include The Figure in the Carpet, Blackwood Gallery, Toronto (2015); Faux Guide, Trankat, Morocco (2014); The Museum of Found Objects, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto (2011); The Museum of Found Objects, Sanat Limani, Istanbul (2010) and Something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue, Artellewa, Cairo (2014). MORE
    Sameer Farooq and Mirjam Linschooten, 'White, Steel, Slice, Mask,' (detail). Photograph Dennis Ha.
  • Keg de Souza September 10 to October 31, 2016 Off-site: 544 Main Street, Vancouver We welcome back to Vancouver Australian artist Keg de Souza, on her final visit to the city, de Souza presents a public project exploring food culture as a metaphor for urban displacement. Throughout October, de Souza will operate from a temporary space in the former Park Lock Dim Sum/Seafood Restaurant on the second floor of 544 Main Street in Chinatown. From this location she will initiate a food mapping installation developed via a series of public events, workshops and discussions centered on this disused space, the last original building standing on the corner of Main and Keefer. Participants are invited to contribute items that represent the changing urban fabric of the Chinatown/DTES area through its food culture. Each participant’s items will be vacuum bagged and used to create a tile in the construction of a temporary structure within the Chinatown space. The numerous vacuum bags will create a patchwork surface that represents various community members, and their insights into local food culture and gentrification. Items could range from: menus from new upmarket establishments; packaging from iconic restaurants of the area, soup kitchen fliers, info on urban farming or even something grown from an urban farm. Over the past eighteen months de Souza has been conducting research in Vancouver hosting a series of events experimenting with tactics of public engagement. In 2015, her handmade inflatable dome became a temporary space at the Field House for a public picnic engaging Canadian colonial narratives via a consideration of national food traditions. Meeting with local chefs, food activists and residents de Souza prepared a truly Canadian feast as a source for an afternoon of unfolding dialogue that the artist mapped directly onto the floor of the dome. A starting point for the discussion was the ephemerality of the event itself. Last summer De Souza hosted a second event, an urban foraging expedition culminating in jam making, experimental mapping and a discussion exploring local foods, cultural preservation and the continuing effects of colonization in contemporary Vancouver. The event featured two local guest collaborators, Lori Snyder, an Indigenous Herbalist specializing in urban foraging for wild, edible and medicinal plants; and Lori’s partner, Steve Snyder, a master jam maker for the last 15 years. This two-day event began with a foraging tour led by Lori Snyder focusing on the native blackberry, the introduced blackberry and other native plants. Participants foraged on the banks surrounding the Field House which are covered with wild Himalayan Blackberries — an invasive, ‘colonizing,’ non-native species in Vancouver. On the second day, Steve Synder led a jam making session with the foraged berries. While communally making jam, de Souza led a discussion focused on the act of preserving these locally dominant berries, questioning whose culture is in fact preserved and how this can be linked to colonial narratives. This discussion culminated in an experimental mapping of the dialogue. The Field House Studio is an off-site artist residency space and community hub organized by the Contemporary Art Gallery. This program moves beyond conventional exhibition making, echoing the founding origins of the gallery where artists were offered support toward the production of new work, while reaching out to communities and offering new ways for individuals to encounter and connect with art and artists. Running parallel to the residency program were an ongoing series of public events for all ages. Australian artist de Souza investigates the politics of space informed through a formal training in architecture combined with her experiences such as squatting in Redfern, Sydney. De Souza’s work emphasises participation and reciprocity, and often involves the process of learning new skills and fostering relationships to create site and situation-specific projects. For over ten years she has self-published her hand-bound books and ‘zines under the name All Thumbs Press. In Vancouver, De Souza is developing a series of community based workshops throughout 2015-16 engaging participants in a critical dialogue regarding local food production. De Souza is working closely with various local urban farmers, food security activists and community members to explore the food politics within the city as both evidence of and a metaphor for urban displacement through gentrification. In 2013, de Souza developed projects for the 5th Auckland Triennial, 15th Jakarta Biennale and the 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, Sydney. More recently, at the Delfina Foundation, London, she hosted a series of picnics held inside an inflatable tent installation designed to fit within the gallery space. Notionally “traditional” English food such as cucumber sandwiches, Cornish pasties and Ploughman’s Lunches were made linking to specific cultural histories as a way to discuss class, privilege, space and colonialism. As picnickers ate and spoke, de Souza mapped the discussion on the floor creating a giant cartography of the conversation. Also in 2014 she completed a residency with KUNCI Cultural Studies Center in Yogyakarta, Indonesia working closely with community organizers and residents of Kampung Ratmakan to create an inflatable ghost house and a film featuring drawings by local children made during a ghost story workshop. Their local government had announced a major development plan affecting the Ratmakan area and the squatters residing there started to be displaced. The area is built on a graveyard so ghosts are constantly appearing to the residents, ongoing exorcisms by the local ghost expert, paralleling their own evictions in the living world. This project is assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body. The Field House Studio Residency Program is generously supported by Vancouver Park Board and the City of Vancouver, along with many private and individual donors. For 2016–2019 we acknowledge the generous support for the Field House Studio Residency Program by the Vancouver Foundation. Follow the Field House blog at www.burrardmarinafieldhouse.wordpress.com MORE
    Keg de Souza, Temporary Spaces, Edible Places: Vancouver Picnic, April, 3, 2015. Burrard Marina Field House.
  • Guillaume Leblon UNTANGLED FIGURES October 14, 2016 to January 1, 2017 B.C. Binning and Alvin Balkind Galleries The Contemporary Art Gallery presents the first solo exhibition by French artist Guillaume Leblon in a Canadian museum. His practice is characterized both by its diversity and the artist’s shrewd manipulation of space. While he creates powerful, discrete objects, films and paintings, the presentation in Vancouver choreographs his works into a larger spatial narrative within the gallery venue exuding a potent sense of ephemerality and the uncanny. Creating fictional landscapes or altering an existing space has long been Leblon’s favoured technique for fuelling uncertainty and doubt in order to undermine the stark purity and perfect finish of the museum. At CAG Leblon transforms our gallery rooms with a major intervention. Plywood alterations to the floors and walls modify our perception of the space not only physically but also through the changes in acoustics, and so, by means of such a gesture of immediate and deft simplicity, we engage in a shared make-believe and the experience of a space redefined. Our awareness of the space is further shifted by a shelf that runs around the gallery wall perimeter, its changing height creating an odd disorientation disturbing our sense of sureness. Interspersed among these new floor surfaces and along the sloping shelf is a selection of new and recent works which characteristically create a poetic universe, a world of its own, extending Leblon’s ongoing propositions with a more tangible figurative presence. We are transported into a different realm, embracing an active, mobile, open relationship with the world. Questions arise concerning established associations – historically, culturally and socially constructed – between the exceptional and the normal, the manufactured and the existent, the personal and impersonal, the ephemeral and the permanent, the old and the new, the dead and the alive. The gallery becomes a landscape, a site somewhere between what is almost known and barely known. This atmosphere or narrative impulse is created in other ways too. Incorporating familiar objects into his sculptures, from tables and shelves to industrial materials and processes such as plywood and casting, Leblon presents enigmatic constructions and subtly affected combinations which have a powerful, seductive, material presence. While his works refuse a single reading, Leblon having a non-hierarchical approach to his materials, they often conjure images of the ruin and the passage of time, the notion of the vanitas bringing the present and the past into contact. Leblon transforms everyday components into sculptures that attain a relic-like quality or the aura of a classical statue. For this new exhibition Leblon brings together a group of works that evoke the suggestive potential of the body through the material and image of the resolved pieces themselves. A blank face without features, detached arms without hands, a clothed torso; each of these new evocative sculptures comprises a sort of shell or envelope for an absent body, a hollow core that speaks to questions of memory, dreams, fragmentation and possibility. This body of work also marks a transition in process and materials for Leblon. Over the years, the artist has shifted from working with found materials, remnants and organic matter to foundry work in materials like aluminum, marble and sand. Always invested in temporal concerns, Leblon sees this mutation in process as a transformation of the work’s relationship to time. While absence of the body is suggested, sometimes an imprint reveals a human form with shapeless contours, where the body is sensed by the viewer, or clothing and other fragments are employed where, ironically, there may remain traces of cigar ashes or of wear. The sculptures perform like characters within some larger narrative. Likely Political Circumstances (2016) is a man’s jacket hovering phantom-like above dismembered arms as if held upright by an invisible thread, a scene of some violent action; Brother and Brother II (both 2016) both present a vessel form, also suggestive of hollowed out partial skulls, evoking a sliced through container whereby we might contemplate its former function or the potential to hold something be it matter or an idea. This interest in transformations manifests itself in works that hint at a kind of alchemy for the artist. In these new works, Leblon uses forms that are made from hand blown glass or newer technologies, for the first time producing objects using 3D printing, the final sculptures retaining textural and visual evidence of its original humble material. Despite Leblon’s notionally post-apocalyptic world his installations and collections of sculptures teem not only with innumerable, partially perceptible thoughts, but also with movement and life. We gratefully acknowledge the support of Institut Français and the Consulate général de France in Vancouver. The exhibition is generously supported by Jane Irwin and Ross Hill. Guillaume Leblon was born in Lille, France and currently lives and works in New York. Selected solo exhibitions include carlier | gebauer, Berlin (2016); Panorama, Marseille (2015); MassMoCA, North Adams; Institut d’Art Contemporain (IAC) Villeurbanne; Galerie Projecte SD, Barcelona; Galerie Jocelyn Wolff, Paris (2014); Contemporary Art Museum of Sérignan, France (2012); Fondation Paul Ricard, Paris (2011); Le grand café, Centre d’art contemporain, Saint-Nazaire (2010); MUDAM, Luxembourg (2009); Centre d’art contemporain Culturgest, Porto;  Centro Gallego de Arte Contemporaneo, CGAC, Santiago de Compostela (2008); Kunstverein Düsseldorf; Centre d’art contemporain – Le Crédac, Ivry-sur-Seine, France (2006), amongst many others. Leblon has participated in group exhibitions, most recently at Fondation d’entreprise Hermès, Paris and Brussels; Punta della Dogana, Venice; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Fundació Joan Miró, Barcelona; Palais de Tokyo, Paris; Biennale de Lyon; Secession, Vienna; Bétonsalon, Paris; Gallery LABOR, Mexico City; Kunsthalle Saint-Gallen; Museum MARTa, Herford; Le Plateau, FRAC Ile de France, Paris; Fridericianum, Kassel; and CAC Vilnius. In 2011 he was nominated for the Prix Marcel Duchamp, Paris. Leblon is represented by Galerie Jocelyn Wolff, Paris; carlier | gebauer, Berlin and Galerie Projecte SD, Barcelona. MORE
    Icon
    14 Oct, 2016 – 01 Jan, 2017
    Guillaume Leblon, Brother II, 2016, 3D print, PMMA (polymethyl methacrylate), infiltration epoxy resin, 47,3 x 47,03 x 42,21 cm, 2/5 + 2 AP. Courtesy the artist and carlier | gebauer.
  • To the Shore October 14, 2016 to January 1, 2017 Events Room The Contemporary Art Gallery has inaugurated a new annual award for an emerging artist from SFU’s School for the Contemporary Arts. This fall we present To the Shore by 2015 award recipient Anchi Lin, her first solo exhibition. In this single channel video Lin enacts the sound of waves hitting a shoreline through the simple act of sweeping. Rooted in recollection and memory of place, the work playfully explores domestic routines drawing attention to the meditative quality of action while the audience and the performer transcend their physical reality. Anchi Lin obtained her BFA in Visual Arts at Simon Fraser University in 2015. Her work has manifested within the realm of performance and video art. Concepts such as language and gender are the basis of her practice while Lin’s Taiwanese aboriginal background has invariably been the catalyst for her examination of identity and cultural norms. Her work continues to navigate realms that fall between individual and collective consciousness. MORE
    Icon
    14 Oct, 2016 – 01 Jan, 2017
    Anchi Lin, To the Shore, (2015). Video still. Courtesy the artist.
  • Telus Garden Building Fourth Floor, 510 West Georgia St. Open Monday to Friday, 8am – 4pm Commissioned by TELUS, Re-Visions is a new permanent, site-specific five-channel media installation developed by eight local emerging artists facilitated by the CAG and Cineworks. Mentored by Jem Noble, Brian Lye and Josh Hite, Re-Visions seeks to produce new representations of place through the group’s diverse responses to our city in motion. The installation engages with themes of temporal and spatial transformation, the landscape of Vancouver portrayed through constant, yet fluctuating changes in infrastructure, community and communications. Playing with the idea of a contemporary “city symphony” — an experimental documentary genre that mimics city rhythms in an attempt to create a portrait of everyday city life — the installation turns to repetition and abstraction, rather than literal representation. MORE
    Re-Visions, detail. Telus Garden Building.
Icon

Current Exhibitions

Isabel Nolan
The weakened eye of day
July 29 to October 2, 2016
B.C. Binning and Alvin Balkind Galleries

The Contemporary Art Gallery presents a major new body of work by Irish artist Isabel Nolan, conceived as a single project across successive evolving presentations at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, Mercer Union, Toronto and CAG.

Nolan’s work encompasses text, sculpture, drawing and textiles, and often begins with the close scrutiny of individual literary or artistic works, or evolves out of consciously erratic and diverging enquiries into the aesthetics of varied fields. Ranging from cosmology, to theories and systems of medicine detailing the makeup and workings of the human body or to illuminated manuscripts, all provide potential stimuli for investigation. The exhibition takes its title from the English novelist and poet Thomas Hardy’s The Darkling Thrush (1899), in which the sun, described as “the weakening eye of day”, is a dismal star drained of its force by a gloomy pre-centennial winter afternoon. As the sun’s gaze weakens, so flags the spirit of the poet who, until interrupted by birdsong, sees only the inevitability of death in the cold world around him. The show thereby examines how light manifests as a symbol in our thoughts, obsessions and pursuits, and oscillates around a series of ideas as a material account of the known and unknown strangeness of the world, from the formation of the planet’s crust to the death of the sun and the enduring preoccupation with light as a metaphor for truth, hope and optimism.

Writing is an important tool for Nolan, and at the beginning of the show, a single sculptural form appears perhaps as the protagonist of an improbable story. Rock founded place (2014) is a large-scale scrolled text written by Nolan that imagines the viewpoint of the oldest rock in the world, whose exposure to deep time and the precariousness of existence is profoundly different to our own. In this world, time, knowledge and forms of life are recognizable yet play utterly different histories and roles than in our own civilization.

Throughout the exhibition, individual pieces unfold to both seduce and disarm. Nolan uses this as a device to cause us reflection upon our relationship to light as a means by which the world is framed. She provides opportunities to reveal the contingency not only of our own world, but also of our myriad ways of knowing and being in it. Underpinning this is a desire to examine and capture in material form the occasions of intensity that can define our encounters with the objects around us; inexplicable and unsettling moments that leave us with a heightened awareness of what is means to be alive. For the artist this exploration happens through making things; whether these things are sculptures, textiles, photographs or texts. Monumental or intimate in scale, they are presented to us as tentative and precarious markers of the experience of our place beneath the sun.

Across all spaces at CAG, discrete works trace a progression reflective of different human attempts to understand our place in the universe. From Rock founded place we might move to consider a small-scale abstract painting such as Dreams of no thing, no time (2014), the enigmatically diagrammatic steel construction Somewhere between Andromeda and Vulpecula: Sky Atlas (2014) or Fourfold sorrows (Jesus you look so sad) (2015), an impressive woven carpet connecting wall to floor. Contemplating these and other pieces such as the collection of brightly coloured ceramic vessels, Nothing new under the sun (2014), all combine to reflect Nolan’s interest in the way colour and light are used to express religious or spiritual sensibilities. Elsewhere, the intimate drawings Based on my recent observations (1–7) (2014) and the large-scale photograph The view from nowhen (2014) are informed by modern cosmology, wherein scientific theories and technologies articulate our contemporary relationship to the universe. And as we meander through the space of the gallery, we are finally confronted by what at first appears a somewhat surreal image, this mural of two donkeys photographed in Bully’s Acre, a former public cemetery located near the Royal Hospital Kilmainham in Dublin. Referred to in myth and folklore from around the world as well as embodying different symbolic references in classical and ancient cultures and across different faiths, these donkeys provide a provocation that cannot be met: a stubborn and inscrutable view from a world that can never be fully known.

As with all of Nolan’s oeuvre, the works in The weakened eye of day reveal, through their very subjective and intimate nature, the arbitrariness and inherent absurdity of attempting to tackle the enormity of these subjects through the process of object making. Yet the objects are made and for Nolan they also find, with varying degrees of (un)certainty, their place under the sun.

Originated by the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, this new selection of work for the exhibition is presented in collaboration with Mercer Union, Toronto and Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver.

The exhibition is supported by the Culture Ireland programme for 2016 celebrating Ireland’s Centenary.

We also acknowledge the generous assistance of Kerlin Gallery, Dublin.

Isabel Nolan lives and works in Dublin, Ireland. Recent solo exhibitions include Mercer Union, Toronto (2016); Launch Pad, New York; Kerlin Gallery, Dublin (2015); Sean Kelly Gallery, New York; Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (2014); The Return Gallery, Goethe Institut, Dublin; Musée d’art Moderne de Saint-Etienne (2012); The Model, Sligo (2011); Gallery Side 2, Tokyo (2010); Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin; ARTSPACE, New Zealand (2008); Project Arts Centre, Dublin (2005). Nolan represented Ireland at the 2005 Venice Biennale in a group exhibition, “Ireland at Venice 2005”. Other recent group shows include Lofoten International Arts Festival (LIAF), Svolvær, Norway; Artspace, Sydney (2015); Wallspace Gallery, New York (2014); Palais de Tokyo, Paris; David Nolan Gallery, New York; Villa Datris, Fondation pour la Sculpture Contemporain, France; Lewis Glucksman Gallery, Cork (2013); EVA International, Limerick (2012); Stephen Friedman Gallery, London;  Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh (2011); Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh (2010); Accademia d’Ungheria, Rome; The Daejeon Museum of Art, South Korea; Bielefelder Kunstverein, Germany; Limerick City Gallery of Art, Ireland; AkkuH, Hengelo, The Netherlands; Centre Culturel Irlandais, Paris; Millennium Court Arts Centre, Portadown, Northern Ireland; SMART Project Space, Amsterdam (2009); Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York; Stroom Den Haag (2007). Work is held in public collections of the Irish Museum of Modern Art; The Hugh Lane Gallery, Dublin; Allied Irish Bank; Arts Council of Ireland; Kildare Co. Council and various private collections in Europe and USA. Nolan is represented by Kerlin Gallery, Dublin.

MORE

Isabel Nolan - The weakened eye of day


Icon

Current Exhibitions

Telus Garden Building
Fourth Floor, 510 West Georgia St.
Open Monday to Friday, 8am – 4pm

Commissioned by TELUS, Re-Visions is a new permanent, site-specific five-channel media installation developed by eight local emerging artists facilitated by the CAG and Cineworks. Mentored by Jem Noble, Brian Lye and Josh Hite, Re-Visions seeks to produce new representations of place through the group’s diverse responses to our city in motion. The installation engages with themes of temporal and spatial transformation, the landscape of Vancouver portrayed through constant, yet fluctuating changes in infrastructure, community and communications. Playing with the idea of a contemporary “city symphony” — an experimental documentary genre that mimics city rhythms in an attempt to create a portrait of everyday city life — the installation turns to repetition and abstraction, rather than literal representation.

MORE

Off-site: Re-Visions - Telus Garden Building


Icon

Current Events

Free Family Days at the CAG
On the last Saturday of each month, the CAG invites all ages to drop-in for short exhibition tours and free art making activities that respond to our current exhibitions. All ages welcome.

Saturday, September 24
The Expanding Cosmos
Inspired by Isabel Nolan’s exploration of the cosmos, make a mobile of your own unique solar system.

Isabel Nolan
‘The weakened eye of day’
July 29 to October 2, 2016
Opening: Thursday, July 28, 2016

The Contemporary Art Gallery presents a major body of recent work by Irish artist, Isabel Nolan.

Taking its title from the English novelist and poet Thomas Hardy’s ‘The Darkling Thrush’ (1899), the exhibition examines how the light of the sun, physically and symbolically, manifests or resonates in our thoughts, preoccupations and pursuits. In Hardy’s poem, the sun, described as “the weakening eye of day” is a dismal star drained of its force by a gloomy pre-centennial winter afternoon. As its gaze weakens, so flags the spirit of the poet who, until interrupted by birdsong, sees only the inevitability of death in the cold world around him.

Presented in collaboration with ArtStarts on Saturdays. For more details visit: www.artstarts.com/weekend

We acknowledge the generous support of the Hamber Foundation for our Family Day program.

MORE

Family Art Day | The Expanding Cosmos


Icon

Learning Resources

Are you a teacher seeking to develop work with your class based on our exhibitions? Or are you planning a field trip and would like further guidance?

The CAG offers engaging arts learning for students from K-12.  Our school programs involve an interactive guided tour of gallery exhibitions and the option of thematically connected art making. Rooted in enquiry and discussion our education programs invite students and teachers to creatively explore visual art materials and processes as well as critically reflect upon the power of contemporary art to engage diverse themes, perspectives and complex ideas.

Our school programs are designed to meet the areas of learning identified in the BC Education Ministry’s Arts Education curriculum.

Program Options:

Guided Program

1 hr. – $50.00 (maximum 30 students)

The guided program for students from K-12 involves an insightful, inquiry-based exploration of the exhibitions allowing for creative learning and developing key transferable skills such as problem solving, communication and literacy.

Guided Program + Art Making activity  

2 hrs. – $90 (maximum 30 students)

For the guided program combined with art making activities in response to our exhibitions for students from K-12, in-depth tours of current exhibitions combine with workshops investigating the techniques, medium and practices of the work on display. These workshops enable meaningful dialogue to emerge developing critical thinking, making and understanding.

Considering spending a full day with your class in downtown Vancouver? We are in close proximity to a range of other cultural organizations that also offer school programming.

For more information or to book a program for your class, please email: learning@contemporaryartgallery.ca or telephone 604 681 2700.

To apply for funding to support your visit to the CAG, please visit daytrippers.ca

Exhibitions for 2016/2017
The CAG exhibits national and international artists that work with a diverse range of media, processes, and practices offering an important opportunity to engage with current ideas and issues.

Isabel Nolan: The weakened eye of day
July 29 – October 2, 2016

Isabel Nolan’s exhibition is an unfolding story of light as a central metaphor for truth and optimism. This exploration of our place beneath the sun includes text works, sculpture, ceramics, drawings, paintings and photographs.

Guillaume Leblon: UNTANGLED FIGURES
October 14, 2016 – January 1, 2017

New York-based French artist, Guillaume Leblon creates fictional spaces through sculptures made with familiar everyday objects. A figurative presence is suggested through imprints, clothing and other remnants.

Haroon Mirza
January 13 – March 19, 2017

U.K artist Haroon Mirza makes immersive kinetic installations that deal with the distinctions between noise, sound and music. For CAG plant forms and solar panels are used to explore the interplay and friction between sound and light waves and electric current.

Capture Photography Festival
March 31 – June 18, 2017

We will curate a group exhibition as the feature show for The Capture Photography Festival including local to international artists, more details to come.

 

MORE

School Programs


Icon

Recent Posts

I’m used to the routine of exhibitions. I choose my path around the gallery and take my time approaching, examining, engaging each artwork. I’m always careful to maintain a specific breadth, and to never lean over pieces or on walls.

However, observing the process of unpacking the 16 works for Isabel Nolan’s exhibition, “The weakened eye of day,” was a wholly new experience of encountering art. While the critical process of reading and looking is something that I’ve become comfortable enacting, the practical matter of condition reporting was unfamiliar territory. I watched as each work was handled and turned in the light so as to spot any tears, rippling, lifting or indentations. Gloved white hands smoothed out surfaces, gently brushing away lint and other specks of dust.

It’s a task that takes extreme attention to detail and a methodical manner of analysis. Unpacking the six large crates in the gallery took two days. The bubble wrap, foam peanuts, plastic sheets and polyurethane was gathered, folded, labelled and kept in order, so that re-packing would be more efficient.

While several of Nolan’s works in the exhibition are built of sturdy steel, ceramic or wool, a few pieces are of a more delicate nature. In particular, Here (anchored in oblivion) was a work that took the most careful consideration to unpack. Placed on top of a styrofoam block and cushioned with gallons of peanuts, the work had to carefully be lifted upward out the crate. Though the sculpture has a core of metal mesh and armature wire, the exterior is made with fragile jesmonite and plaster bandage.

The asymmetric form is reminiscent of nascent organisms born following Nolan’s origin story of the universe (a poetic fiction which can be read in Rock Founded Place). The work rests on the concrete floor of the gallery, just balanced enough to maintain its upright stance. The fleshy, pale pink colour seems raw and vulnerable in the open space.

Seeing Here (anchored in oblivion) unpacked and being prepared for display was a sharp reminder of the ultimately fragile nature of objects. The gallery setting so often feeds into the mythos of the art world, an image of things that are glossy, revered, protected. Observing from behind the scenes created a fissure in the folly. Objects, indeed art, can be damaged or broken.

–Ines Min

Isabel Nolan, ‘The weakened eye of day’ is on view until October 2, 2016.

 

MORE

“Observing from behind the scenes created a fissure in the folly” – Isabel Nolan, an unpacking by Ines Min


Icon

Visit CAG

555 Nelson Street
Vancouver, British Columbia
Canada V6B 6R5

T 00 1 604 681 2700
F 00 1 604 683 2710

Gallery Hours
Tues – Sun 12 – 6 pm



  • Closed on British Columbia statutory holidays
  • The galleries are wheelchair accessible
  • The Gallery is free of charge
  • Suggested donation of $5


Reference Library



Icon

CAG Shop


Icon

Join/Give


Become a Member


The CAG is a not-for-profit reliant on member support. As a Member of the CAG, you are supporting contemporary art now and playing a role in its future.

Make a Donation


Help support the only free public art gallery in Vancouver.
Donate Now

Exhibition
Archive

01-16

top