Ed Pien has gained recognition for his large-scale works that extend traditional notions about drawing. He achieves this by developing gallery installations that retain the intimacy of the drawing process. For Beyond Here, Pien presented a large installation approximately seventy-five feet in length and consisted of ink on layers of Chinese paper and Japanese silk tissue. The translucent quality of the paper allows the drawings that lie beneath the surface to read as shadows, which intermingle with the more legible images on the surface. The contrast in scale between the expanse of paper, the large drawings, the small drawings, and the vibrantly coloured tunnels creates a dynamic relationship between the viewer and the work. One can perceive the piece as one entity or as a series of individual drawings.
In his work, Pien explores the concepts of fear and vulnerability through referencing both historical and contemporary events as well as combining Eastern and Western mythologies. In Beyond Here his drawings depict strange, hydridized creatures that are engaged in an imaginary journey that reads from left to right across the gallery walls. While not a formal narrative, the figures suggest a dream-like transformation from a state of conflict to one of liberation and self-empowerment. Pien’s work is both seductive and unsettling. While the paper offers an impression of softness and warmth, it is extremely fragile. The figures project sensuality in the way they are rendered, but are ambiguous in their interpretation.MORE
Visual Stimulants presented three artists whose work had an intense visual impact and was seemingly abstract in appearance. Angela Leach, Ken Singer and Jeremy Stanbridge were part of a young generation of artists whose artwork directly or indirectly alluded to historical forms of abstraction – in this case modernist painting from the 1960s. Although the art from that period stressed the formal properties of colour and support, and avoided references to narrative or representation, the artists in Visual Stimulants in large part questioned the autonomy of abstract painting and return it to the realm of the everyday. Visual Stimulants presented the work of three artists: Angela Leach from Toronto, and Ken Singer and Jeremy Stanbridge from Vancouver and was curated by Keith Wallace.MORE
The work in Pathology was concerned with domestic technologies as well as urban planning, and how the two relate to a desire for health, pleasure and the prolongation of life. The exhibition consisted of various works that were connected by their minimal aesthetic, architectural references, and everyday use-value. The centrepiece consisted of a cluster of more than sixty clean-mist humidifiers and negative-air ionizers. Theoretically, these machines created a “charged” atmosphere that improved the way we feel. Their clean, almost abstract, design was suggestively architectural, and Liu’s arrangement of these machines mimicked an architecture model of urban design. Humidifiers and ionizers are promoted as preventing everything from parched sinuses to furniture damage, and as most users lack an understanding of the technological principles, these “machines for improved living” have a psychological function as much as they have a physical one. Also in the exhibition were loosely-hung samples of wallpaper which Liu had imprinted with Rorschach-like patterns derived from an overhead view of Levittown, an early post-war example of ideal suburban planning. Pathology was An Te Liu’s first solo exhibition.MORE
Documents and Lies was an exhibition organized and circulated by Optica in Montréal. The exhibition presented the work of artists living in the UK. Although not photographic, the works pointed towards a number of photographic notions about truth and reality. Their particular use of traces – reproduced, modified or simply invented – allowed for the transition from a universal history to another, more personal one. By generating doubt, these projects produced a displacement of what is commonly understood by “document.” The exhibition included drawing, painting, sculpture and an installation. Curated by artist André Martin, this exhibition provided an artist’s perspective.MORE
In this exhibition by Kelly Mark the fascination with the mundane was coupled with a desire to document and bring a sense of order to things. The work Broken Meter, for example, consisted of a grid of photographs documenting ideosyncratic notes left at broken parking meters. Placed presented photographs of objects, ranging from styrofoam cups to pieces of crumpled paper, that had been specifically “placed” or tucked into spots rather than simply being tossed away. Sniff was a video loop of the artist’s cat sniffing an array of objects placed in front of him. Origami Transfer was comprised of dozens of bus transfers that had been obsessively folded and shaped into miniature sculptures.MORE
Liz Magor is a Canadian artist who lives in Vancouver. She began exhibiting her work in 1973 and has been included in numerous prestigious international exhibitions such as the Venice Biennial, Sydney Biennial, Documenta VIII in Kassel, and inSITE in San Diego/Tijuana. While she is widely known across Canada and beyond, this was Magor’s first solo exhibition in a public gallery in Vancouver in a decade.
Magor is primarily recognized for her sculptural work – although she has developed significant projects in other mediums such as photography – which is expressed in various forms ranging from full-scale installations to individual pieces. Stores presented her most recent sculptural work and incorporated non-traditional materials such as silicone rubber and pigmented plaster and resin. With these materials, she made casts of objects with startlingly realistic results. However, while the large pile of rocks placed on the floor is convincingly real, the discovery of actual junk food stashed within its hollow cavity renders the mantle of reality questionable, bringing forward a focus on the work’s materiality.
Magor’s sculptures at first resemble literal, easily accessible representations, but the play between what is real and what is an illusion, and the curious combination of food with other unrelated objects, complicate their apparent simplicity. The minimal yet evocative presentation suggests narratives and the activity of unknown personae obsessed with squirreling things away as insurance against anticipated disasters or shortages. It also implies larger social/psychological issues about the relationship between the desire for security in the face of unidentifiable fears, and the fundamental question of what people store away and why.
Eleanor Bond is recognized internationally for her large-scale oil paintings of urban landscapes in which a labyrinth of forms include both the actual and the imaginary. Although Bond’s paintings do not represent a specific built environment, their starting point is a specific urban place, space and landscape. This exhibition presented 2 works produced from research undertaken in Vancouver during February of 1999. Bond spent ten days walking and driving throughout Vancouver and its environs making photographic and video documentation which influenced the painting of Glass City and Tent City. - Curator, Petra Watson.MORE
Last Saturday was Vancouver Draw Down. The event took place in multiple locations all over town and it was great day. I hope you had a chance to get out and participate in some of the stations set up around the city. I managed to take in 6 of the 18 locations and one of my stops was naturally the Contemporary Art Gallery.
Artist and Educator, Landon Mackenzie, transformed the gallery’s street front, foyer & hallways into a “Map Room.” Based on her work, Landon invited everyone to explore the “many potentials of drawing and mapping as an act and state of being.”
The place was packed when I arrived. Every table was covered with works in progress as visitors created collages from pieces of topographical print-outs.
When visitors were done they were invited to sketch the Monahan pieces in the BC Binning Gallery, examining form and mark making.
This was the 3rd year for Vancouver Draw Down and I can’t wait for the next. The event celebrated drawing and invited everyone to participate by simply making a mark. As the Vancouver Draw Down site says “If you can write your name, you can draw!”
I saw another great quote posted by Opus Art Supplies encouraging people to dispell their preconceptions: “If you hear a voice within you say – you cannot paint, then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.” – van Gogh‘
The same goes with drawing!
Kay Slater (@kdot) is a volunteer at the Contemporary Art Gallery. Come visit her on shift every Sunday from Noon-3PM.MORE
This book was published on the occasion of the exhibition Visual Stimulants that presented the work of three artists Angela Leach, Ken Singer and Jeremy Stanbridge at the Contemporary Art Gallery from September 9 to October 21, 2000. This publication contains a text by curator Keith Wallace.MORE
This book was published in conjunction with the exhibitions Stores presented at the Contemporary Art Gallery from February 26th to April 8th, 2000, and Deep Woods, presented at the Art Gallery of York University from May 28th to September 24th, 2000. This publication contains texts by Nancy Tousley, Lucy Hogg and Reid Shier. Out of print.MORE
This book was published on the occasion of the exhibitions NEUTRAL/BRAKES/STEERING at the Agnes Etherington Art Center from November 12 to December 24, 1998, and 22 oz. THUNDERBOLT at the Contemporary Art Gallery from March 27 to May 8, 1999. The publication contains an essay by Jim Drobnick and Jennifer Fisher.MORE
This book was published on the occasion of the exhibition French Kiss from December 13, 1997 to January 31, 1998. The following artists are included in the exhibition and publication: Ghada Amer, Jean-Sylvain Bieth, Bernard Lallemand, Dany Leriche and Patrick Raynaud.MORE
This book is published on the occasion of the exhibition Wanda Koop: See Everything/See Nothing from February 14 to March 21, 1998 by the Contemporary Art Gallery Vancouver and contains an essay by Robin Laurence.MORE
This book is published on the occasion of the exhibition Landon Mackenzie : Saskatchewan Paintings from December 16, 1995 to February 3, 1996 by the Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver and contains an essay by Charlotte Townsend-Gault.MORE