Model Suite [Sliding Door] (2015-17)
Until September 24, 2017
Off-site: Yaletown-Roundhouse Station, Canada Line
As a contemporary of artists such as Richard Prince, James Welling and Sherrie Levine who were active in New York in the early 1980s, Vikky Alexander is often associated with the Pictures Generation. She is best known for work that foregrounds a strong interest in the histories of architecture, design and fashion, often focusing on locations such as shopping malls, showrooms, and show apartments — sites of desire, aspirations and ideas of home. The images are often complicated through light, reflections and refractions and speak of a set of conditions and values embedded in appearances as seen through furnishings and the notional view from the window (here, a large-scale photo mural). Shown outdoors at Yaletown-Roundhouse Station, Model Suite (Sliding Door) (2005/17) interplays with its architectural surroundings; the station’s glass pavilion lends a further physical and visual layer as we see the daily activity on the street through the work itself.
Presented with Capture Photography Festival
Vikky Alexander is one of Vancouver’s most acclaimed artists. Her work has been recognized within Canada and internationally in New Zealand, Japan, Korea, Europe and in the United States. Working as a photographer, sculptor, collagist and installation artist, Alexander is a leading practitioner in the field of photo-conceptualism. Her work is at once both seductive and disruptive; she likes to situate the viewer within idealized spaces that reflect our aspirations and frames our desires within the dynamics of consumption and utopian ideals.
Alexander lives in Montreal and is represented by the Trepanier Baer Gallery in Calgary, Alberta, Wilding Cran, Los Angeles and Cooper Cole, Toronto.MORE
Until September 10, 2017
Ambient Advertising (2016), installed across the CAG’s windows, is a reconfigured work by Toronto-based Kelly Jazvac. Salvaged billboard images are reframed, manipulated and cut through, seemingly in reference to a quintessential Canadian landscape, and visually envelop the gallery at street level. Taken from contemporary advertising, the imagery appeals to our collective sense of identity through reference to the romantic and awesome natural world that surrounds us while questioning the feeding of desire as driven by contemporary consumer culture.
Presented with Capture Photography Festival
Kelly Jazvac is an artist based in London, Ontario. Recent exhibitions include Rocks Stones and Dust, Art Museum at the University of Toronto; Organic Situation, Koenig and Clinton; An other land, and in the other our own, Prosjekstrom Normann’s, Norway; Human Nature, Carleton University Gallery, Ottawa (2015); Recent Landscapes, Louis B. James Gallery, New York City; Anthropophotogenic, The University of Waterloo Art Gallery (2014); PARK, Oakville Galleries; Impel With Puffs, Diaz Contemporary, Toronto; and More Than Two, The Power Plant, Toronto (2013). She is represented by Louis B. James Gallery, New York.MORE
A Sublime Vernacular: The Landscape Paintings
June 30 to September 24, 2017
B.C. Binning Gallery
A Sublime Vernacular: The Landscape Paintings of Levine Flexhaug offers the first overview of the extraordinary career of Levine Flexhaug (1918 – 1974), born in the Treelon area near Climax, Saskatchewan. It brings together approximately 450 of the artist’s paintings as well as several of his mural-sized works. An itinerant painter, he sold thousands of variations of essentially the same landscape painting in national parks, resorts, department stores and bars across western Canada from the late 1930s through the early 1960s. Whatever its variation, a Flexhaug image represents a Western icon, a silent unspoiled Eden that encapsulates the conventions of sublime landscape painting in a kind of painter’s shorthand. For the Contemporary Art Gallery it continues a strand in our programming where we present work by artists who for a variety of reasons, operated outside of the strict mainstream of the art world.
Long valued by a core of contemporary artists and collectors, Flexhaug turned formula painting into a source of wonder, not only because he churned out paintings so quickly using an assembly line method but because these works are so aesthetically compelling. Indeed, the lushness, variety, intensity, luminosity, touch and authentic feeling of his paintings are arguably non pareil in this genre. Interestingly, he hit upon the exact image that a poll taken by the Russian artists Komar and Melamid in the 1990s, determined is what Canadians most want to see in art.
As engaging as they are aesthetically, Flexhaug’s paintings also offer a point of entry for consideration of significant critical questions ranging from issues of taste, originality versus repetition in art, the appeal of landscape and its iconography – particularly in the Canadian context – to whether art can have integrity as art even if it is unapologetically commercial. Another issue raised by an examination of Flexhaug’s oeuvre is desire. Collecting is by its nature an activity with obsessive tendencies, but the numbers accumulated by those who collect Flexhaugs provide a particular opportunity to analyse aspects of the powerful emotional bonds that exist for many people with art and aesthetic objects. In the case of Flexhaug, more is always more.
Painting for Flexhaug was a way to make a living without having a regular job and he took great satisfaction in both supporting his family and satisfying his customers. Tracing his life from his early years in southern Saskatchewan through the byways of his peripatetic career following the Depression also provides a unique perspective from which to consider early modern Western Canadian social history, from aspects of identity to particular forms of consumption and leisure and recreation.
Alongside the exhibition, in our reading room we also present Flexie! All the Same and All Different, a feature-length documentary made in association with A Sublime Vernacular: The Landscape Paintings of Levine Flexhaug by Calgary filmmakers Gary Burns and Donna Brunsdale. The film not only tells the story of a little known artist but in its investigation of how people respond to the paintings and what they mean to them, is also a fascinating reflection on both the nature of art and the meaning of place.
The exhibition is curated by Nancy Tousley and Peter White. A publication examining Flexhaug’s art and career, the critical issues they raise and the larger social and cultural history they represent accompanies the exhibition.
In collaboration with MacKenzie Art Gallery, Regina; Illingworth Kerr Gallery, Calgary; Art Gallery of Grande Prairie, Alberta; and Rodman Hall Art Centre, St. Catherines.
Exhibition is organized and circulated by the Art Gallery of Grande Prairie with support from the Museums Assistance Program of the Department of Canadian Heritage.MORE
June 30 to September 24, 2017
Alvin Balkind Gallery and Events Room
The Contemporary Art Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of largely unseen works on paper by one of Australia’s most visionary and critical artists, Gordon Bennett (1955–2014).
Working closely with the Estate of Gordon Bennett and IMA Brisbane the show will comprise a selection of works on paper including drawing, painting, watercolour, poetry, and essays from the early 1990s through to the early 2000s. Though rarely seen in exhibition contexts, Bennett’s drawing and script form the foundation of his practice. Paper is the site where imagery, words and ideas often found their first expression before being combined into the large-scale conceptual paintings for which Bennett is known. Despite their relatively small scale, works in Be Polite embrace rich layers of Western and Australian Indigenous art history and contemporary politics, a direction Bennett played a leading role in developing throughout the 1980s and continued to explore in his successful career. As such the shared colonial histories with Canada and in particular the plight of local First Nations are set in dialogue across continents. Issues, events and histories are given compelling voice in these provocative and often disturbing images.
Accompanying the exhibition is a publication featuring contributions by Helen Hughes, Julie Nagam and Ian McLean is published with Sternberg Press.
First presented at IMA, Brisbane and subsequently at Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts in 2016, the exhibition will evolve and be reconfigured with a new selection of works at the Contemporary Art Gallery in Vancouver. This version will then travel to McMaster Museum of Art, Hamilton in 2018.
Be Polite is supported by the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland, Australia Council for the Arts, Ministry of Communications and the Arts through Visions of Australia, The Estate of Gordon Bennett, Milani Gallery, and Sutton Gallery.
Bennett has been the subject of major solo presentations and retrospectives at Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, (touring, Europe), 1999–2000, Griffith University, Brisbane, (touring, Australia), 2004–2005, and the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, (touring, Australia), 2007–2009. International recognition and attention for Bennett’s work has been growing with his inclusion in the acclaimed dOCUMENTA (13), in Kassel in 2012, and in the 8th Berlin Biennale in 2014.MORE
On the last Saturday of each month, CAG invites all ages to drop-in for short family friendly exhibition tours and free art making activities that respond to our current exhibitions. Activities differ in response to the specifics of work on display but always involve hands-on creative activity with a range of materials and processes. These activities are designed to engage, challenge and inspire young, enquiring minds in ways that are imaginative and fun.
Upcoming CAG Family Days:
Saturday, April 29, 12-3pm
Inspired by Kelly Jazvac’s work create an installation by cutting and arranging strips of colourful vinyl.
Saturday, May 27, 12-3pm
Through the Window
Inspired by the work of Niamh O’Malley’s Glasshouse, take photographs through a variety of textured windows to create different light, colour and texture effects.
We acknowledge the generous support of the Peter Szeto Investment Group for our Family Day program.
Presented in collaboration with ArtStarts on Saturdays. For more details visit: www.artstarts.com/weekend
For some, there may be something vaguely familiar about the giant image that is currently installed in the Contemporary Art Gallery’s windows. What appears as a huge, empty landscape is actually vinyl from a billboard ad for Apple’s “Shot on iPhone” campaign salvaged by Toronto-based artist Kelly Jazvac. Originally measuring over 70 feet, the billboard was intended to promote the photographic abilities of the iPhone 6.
Stretched across the CAG’s facade, Ambient Advertising (2016) provides viewers with the rare opportunity to engage up close with the sheer scale of advertisement through the repurposed vinyl. In Jazvac’s hands, the vinyl has been meticulously sliced and made to fit in the CAG’s windows. The once glossy, enticing surface of the image is interrupted by cuts that allow for a more critical engagement with the vinyl’s texture and movement. What seems at first like a pristine image of a vast landscape becomes troubled by the disposable material it creates and the ironic implications it has for the environment it depicts.
Much of Kelly Jazvac’s work incorporates discarded vinyl into new compositions, reviving thrown-away material and touching on environment concerns like pollution. Her installation and sculptural pieces often have a playfulness to them—check out the cowboy hanging upside down inside the gallery—that encourages us to acknowledge the absurdity in the everyday.
Since the original was released in 2007, the iPhone has had 12 iterations. Which each new iPhone comes a new advertising campaign promising that this phone is better than the last. What Jazvac’s work highlights is how planned obsolescence guarantees more iPhones, more ad campaigns, more vinyl , and more waste.
Ambient Advertising will be up in our windows until September 10th, 2017.