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Exhibitions

Jürgen Partenheimer
The Archive – The Raven Diaries
September 12 to November 9, 2014

The Contemporary Art Gallery presents the first solo exhibition in Canada of work by acclaimed German artist Jürgen Partenheimer. Reflecting the diversity of the artist’s practice, the exhibition comprises works on paper, text, printmaking, ceramics and sculpture, produced in Vancouver in spring 2014 during his recent residency as the Audain Distinguished Artist-in-Residence, hosted by Emily Carr University of Art + Design .

Partenheimer’s work is essentially abstract; his drawings and paintings are remarkable for their fragile beauty, whilst sculpture and ceramic work, suggesting some usefulness, remain elusive with respect to any specific function. His visual language, the particular form of poetic abstraction, and his life-long interest in notions of representation with consideration of locality, space and place, suggest a key resonance with artistic practice in the city, asserting continuity between these forms and an experience of daily life.

The imaginary archive that gives the exhibition and associated book its title provides the framework for the exhibition based on the oeuvre of the artist. They are the visible expression of both intellect and emotion carrying traces of their process, temporality and correspondence with other objects. To this end, in Vancouver the exhibition has a subtitle, The Raven Diaries, referencing the symbol and characteristics of the Raven to west coast First Nations culture, while simultaneously drawing analogies to similar figures in cultural myths elsewhere in the world, and especially to the role of the artist as trickster, representative of a catalyst for change in life, for creativity and humour.

Additionally, a selection of Partenheimer’s ceramic works will be on view at the Museum of Anthropology, UBC, Vancouver in the Koerner European Ceramics Gallery. Reflecting Partenheimer’s interest in the interconnectivity of cultural disciplines, in October we will host performances of electro-acoustic music by Vancouver Electronic Ensemble as part of the Vancouver New Music Festival.

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Jürgen Partenheimer: The Archive – The Raven Diaries


The Contemporary Art Gallery presents the first Canadian solo presentation of work by Swedish artist Gunilla Klingberg, two new interrelated large-scale commissions across the gallery façade and off-site, both challenging and exploiting the opportunities presented at each location.

 

Klingberg’s practice is characterized by the intersection of received knowledge, folk beliefs, popular culture and divergent cultural activities. Her work draws our attention to how complicated the connections between these systems are, but it also plays with the things that arise in this encounter, a pivotal feature being an interest in what is produced by the hybridization of distinct cultures, traditions and geographies. The disparate and heterogeneous are interwoven creating meanings that mutate to form a new context.

 

At the gallery and the Yaletown-Roundhouse Station, two murals of seemingly quasi-oriental pattern appear to evoke cosmic mandalas, transforming the individual spaces and enveloping the viewer in light and colour, shifting patterns and reflections. Klingberg’s work surrounds us. We are seduced, made part of a special atmosphere, immersed within the work rather than just looking at it. Her interest in using patterns and movement to manipulate our seeing, to influence our state of consciousness and our sensory impressions, has links with Op Art and the psychedelic movement of the late sixties, appropriate touchstones in the recent history of the counter culture in this part of the world.

 

However, what at first glance appears to recall a certain set of values and moments in time has another dimension, a different shared experience. If we look more closely we see that the intricate ornamentation, the symmetrically repeated symbols of these murals, is made up of something much more mainstream, corporate logos from Canadian low cost and high street stores. Concepts are intertwined: while science might appropriate metaphors from mythologies or New-Age ideas borrow from the language of the natural sciences, here spirituality merges with everyday consumer culture. Klingberg suggests that they are analogous, that both seem to promise the same thing: a state in which nothing is uncomfortable or threatening – the possibility of total, rapid satisfaction of our needs and desires, accessible to everyone. The images are so familiar that we no longer think about them, yet they present a subconscious influence uniting us in a no-man’s land between the public and the private. She evokes a spirit of community, or of communality, and poses questions regarding what it would be to have something in common.

 

Amid the proliferation of progressively similar goods it is the small, meaningful differences that count. The world around us is increasingly transformed into a surface filled with signs—computer screens, urban space, advertisements, the pages of newspapers— the most tangible properties being disposability and change. It is these surfaces that concern Klingberg. Our urban environment, its dwindling public places increasingly invaded by homogenous architecture and development, the objects we own, all constitute an intricate system of codes, messages and ideologies, our choices and participation tantamount to consuming. The boundary between art and design is often drawn along the line of utility and usefulness. But the edge becomes increasingly elastic when the difference between the values of these forms depends not so much on their functionality as on their seductiveness or power of rhetorical persuasion. Thus Klingberg’s work moves further than a mere critique of brand fetishism, the lure of contemporary global labels, beyond just pointing things out and rejecting them. It poses the awkward question of whether being alternative to a mainstream or on the “outside” is any longer possible. Might a more critical and appropriate assessment lie in revealing and acknowledging the subtle and insidious way in which we are all drawn into a sense of fascination with the things that surround us. Through her work we find ourselves in a situation in which we feel the power of images and beliefs being examined. We are all complicit.

 

The exhibition is supported by Iaspis, the Swedish Arts Grants Committee’s International Programme for Visual Artists.

 

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Gunilla Klingberg - Brand New View (Vancouver)


The Contemporary Art Gallery presents a major new commission for the Yaletown-Roundhouse Station by influential Vancouver–based photographer Marian Penner Bancroft.

Since the late sixties, Penner Bancroft has defined herself as a photographer, dedicating her practice to the medium, meditating on its conventions while also considering the dematerialization of the art object; combining conceptual art strategies as well as pushing the presentation and production of the photographic image into more immersive forms. She is known for drawing attention to the lines between where an image begins and what constitutes an image – at times using the physical framing device as a tangible three-dimensional photographic field.

The subject of Penner Bancroft’s work often resides in the personal, following her family, tracking their daily movements both real and, in the case of her ancestors, imagined. She embeds these inquiries into images of the landscape, using visual traces of a colonial transit to and across Canada as part of an individual yet generalized narrative of immigration and displacement. In recent years she has widened the scope of her research to include the histories of the fur trade, farming, music and religion in relation to the landscape and mapping.

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Marian Penner Bancroft - Boulevard


Headlines & Last Lines in the Movies transforms the façade of the Contemporary Art Gallery, wooden cladding covering its frontage and south east corner. Resembling a construction site, the structure becomes the ground for the work; the title a precise description of itself.

In this new mural, Brüggemann writes headlines from current newspapers, from local to global, in combination with excerpts of last lines from popular films. “Forget it Jake, its Chinatown” could be spray-painted next to “Enbridge Pipeline Rejected”, the juxtaposition of appropriated texts creating both a familiarity and an oddly appropriate pairing suggestive of narratives that may exist to connect current news items with scripted dialogue.  With one text residing in the real, the other in the fictive, in combination they create a barrage of information that Brüggemann unifies into a totality of black text. The overlay forms a graphic field that is only partly legible, language creating an immersive installation that draws colloquial phrases into dense cacophonic arenas. The work seems declaratory, but what it is trying to communicate is drowned out by volume, intensity and opacity.

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Stefan Brüggemann - Headlines and Last Lines in the Movies


The Contemporary Art Gallery presents a survey exhibition of work by Canadian artist Kelly Richardson, best known for her immersive projection works which create environments prompting a questioning of our relationship to the natural world.

The universe Richardson constructs can seem somewhat bleak, devoid of all but the strangest forms of life, and notionally touching upon issues within ecological discussion and environmental debate. Yet if we consider nature not as omniscient, but mediated, appropriated, subjugated and vulnerable, then by examining any simple concept of the “natural”, Richardson actually makes the interrogation even more urgent. Immense and unsettling projections show animated scenes of primordial swamps or forests, desolate moonscapes or eerie holographic trees flickering in and out of view. And yet the videos are open-ended, drawing us in to develop our own narratives for these unsettling scenes, which could be humanity’s last attempt at caring for a ruined planet. Even though she leaves the questions unanswered, it’s clear that she is suggesting we should project farther into the future than we’re comfortable doing, a quality enhanced in understanding how these works are made. A particular quality in Richardson’s videos– in addition to technical facility and her embrace of beauty as a way to prime us about the disturbing undercurrents snaking through her otherwise seductive work – is the way she seems to look back from the future.

The exhibition comprises a selection of recent major projections and photographs. In the large-scale, multi-screen installation of Leviathan (2011) we are confronted with an all-encompassing projection. Through the image and its reflections on walls and floors, it occupies or rather infiltrates the space, implicating us as audience as we simultaneously behold and are contained within the image. It asserts itself, with its Biblical title, as suggestive of some kind of apocalyptic flood, the swirling water appearing to almost envelop and swallow up the viewer. The works too are in many other ways absorbing; they elicit a terrible beauty through the seduction of surface.  And yet this slow, churning motion becomes almost hypnotic, a narcotic mesmerizing image, an illusion perhaps not at odds with the evocation of a notional poisonous or toxic liquid; a substance that is at once of our world but at the same time transforming, of becoming somewhere else.

Richardson’s work touches also on the notion of the sublime, that mixture of awe, hope and fear that reveals something uncomfortable about the depth and darkness of human desire.  While technically pristine, in part through the process of computer manipulation and invention of form, her work has precedents in sources as seemingly disparate as the romantic landscape paintings of the late 18th century or the B-horror and science-fiction films of the 1970s and 80s. She has stated: “I’m interested in that contradiction at this critical time in human history when current predictions for our future are not just unsettling, but terrifying.”

The notion of the artificial is brought to bear in contemplation of what might be considered natural, in part reinforced by the visual polish of the moving images, which reach the point where most viewers are unable to distinguish between what is real and what is computer-generated. In Orion Tide, (2013) we see rocks and foliage littering the ground, convincing us of some form of scrub land. Then an eerie, distant sound warns us of that which follows, the slow eruption of a lit pod from the surface. Trails of flame and smoke lead the eye up through the dark sky and then out of sight, followed by another and another and another. Are they escape pods —final humans abandoning all hope— or are they a death rattle of a dying planet? Richardson deftly avoids simplistic environmental and sci-fi cliché with a painterly sense of narrative mystery.

The exhibition is developed in collaboration with the Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, UK; Grundy Art Gallery, Blackpool, UK; Towner, Eastbourne, UK and Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo. An extensive monograph accompanies the exhibition.

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Kelly Richardson - Legion


The Act of Seeing with One’s Own Eyes is a group exhibition of recent film and video that seeks to interrogate notions of uncertainty within the documentary format. Work by ten artists engages with the conventions of source footage, narrative voice and re-enactment, questioning perceptions of such devices, while also reclaiming them in order to redefine their intent and potential. Not all works critique these characteristics, but each examines the consumption of knowledge and truth, using the body as form and performance as a site, to address where meaning may reside.

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The Act of Seeing with One’s Own Eyes


Kevin Schmidt’s solo exhibition at the Contemporary Art Gallery presents a survey of recent works including two major new pieces, EDM House and High Altitude Balloon Harmless Amateur Radio Equipment, both made in 2013.

Schmidt is an artist who has consistently developed a body of work that addresses notions of a displaced spectacle, often within a consideration of the sublime. This ongoing proposition is tackled not so much through exclusive references to landscape, of being awestruck at the point of apprehending such beauty and wilderness, but by juxtaposing seemingly disparate elements within these environments. Works are often situated in remote locations, where Schmidt stages remarkable events which transfer elements of urban culture into untouched natural contexts. In this way, he simultaneously examines both the seductive elements of contemporary cultural production and the constructions that surround the idea of nature.

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Kevin Schmidt


The Contemporary Art Gallery presents an ambitious new neon commission across our building façade with PuSh International Performing Arts Festival, as part of a larger partnership of presentations, performances and events with British artist Tim Etchells. Arguably best known for his work with Forced Entertainment, Etchells has developed his own practice as an artist outside of their ground-breaking performances, his solo work is diverse, moving from a base in performance into visual art and fiction. Through writing, producing neon, video and text, collaborations with the photographer Hugo Glendinning on photographic work, and performance projects with an ever-expanding group of artists from around the world, including Franko B and Vlatka Horvat, Etchells opens up new possibilities to approach related ideas via different routes by working across these different media and contexts.

In all aspects of his practice Etchells is often concerned with live-ness and presence, with the unfolding of events in time and place. The site where things happen could be an LCD monitor or a computer screen, a stage, the space of a page, a gallery, a found location, a street, or some private space — a room or a car for instance — in which a person might listen to the radio or read a text. Who Knows is typical of Etchells’ approach in that something happens — there is an encounter, a process, the unfolding of an event and its implications, and an exploration of the dynamic relationship between the work and the viewer. Who Knows reveals a fascination with rules and systems in language and in culture, in the way these structures are both productive and constraining. Individual phrases of ‘I know’, ‘You know’, ‘We know’, ‘They know’, produces a playfully paranoid flavour, yet a tone that takes on something of the surveillance, snooping, watching topic, that’s even more on our minds since the information leaked by former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden in May of last year. Through the repetition of phrases, the text stages or implies an event or an idea that is at once unravelled and assembled. The mechanisms and economies of this process — of exposure and concealment, construction and deconstruction, appearance and disappearance — are at the heart of what Etchells does.

In addition to this installation we co-present a series of performances — The Quiet Volume with Ant Hampton and Sight Is The Sense That Dying People Tend To Lose First with Jim Fletcher — and public talks involving Etchells detailed elsewhere in this bulletin. Collectively these form our hosting of Tim Etchells as PuSh Festival 2014 artist-in-residence. Presented in partnership with PuSh International Performing Arts Festival, Vancouver.

Born in 1962, Tim Etchells is based in Sheffield and London, UK and is the artistic director of Forced Entertainment, a theatre company founded in 1984. With Forced Entertainment he has directed, written, and occasionally performed in, dozens of critically acclaimed performance works that have been shown at major festivals and theatres around the world.

Recent solo exhibitions include Sketch and Butchers (both London); Netherlands Media Art Institute and de Appel, Amsterdam; Void Spaces, Site Gallery, Sheffield; Sparwasser HQ, Berlin; Art Sheffield 2008; ArtFutures, Bloomberg SPACE, London; Exit Art, New York; Kunsthaus Graz; Manifesta 7, Rovereto, Italy; Acts of Voicing, Württembergischer Kunstverein, Stuttgart; Aichi Triennale, Aichi Arts Center, Nagoya and Lonely at the Top: Modern Dialect, MuHKA, Antwerp. Etchells co-curated and commissioned work in the Performing Sculpture section of the DLA Piper series This is Sculpture at Tate Liverpool (2009) and took part in the Gothenburg International Biennale, What a Wonderful World; After Architecture, CASM, Arts Santa Mònica, Barcelona and The Malady of Writing, MACBA, Barcelona in 2009. His books include a critical exploration of contemporary performance and theatre as well as an introduction to his work with Forced Entertainment titled Certain Fragments (Routledge, 1999), a book of short stories, Endland Stories (Pulp Books, 1998), an ironic dream dictionary, The Dream Dictionary for the Modern Dreamer (Duckworth, 2004), and a novel titled The Broken World (Windmill, 2009).

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Tim Etchells - Who Knows - PuSh Festival Artist-In-Residence 2014


As part of our contribution to Capture, Vancouver’s first annual city-wide photography festival, we present a new installation by American artist Mungo Thomson. Central to Thomson’s artistic proposition is that of context – be it institutional, cultural or that of everyday life – and it is through the breadth of his individual works that we are prompted to grasp the many challenges to our perception in the things we encounter daily. For Thomson is interested in the space between things, the subtext or background that consistently draws our attention. He has made works which record notional ‘silence’ – the sound of a room when no one is in it, the applause between songs on every live recording by Bob Dylan – produced works in a range of media based on TIME magazine, and made interventions into spaces which causing us to re-evaluate our expectations, such as Coat Check Chimes, his contribution to the 2008 Whitney Biennial Exhibition, where Thomson  replaced the 1,200 coat hangers in the Whitney Museum’s coat check with custom-made, musically tuned coat hangers that were modeled on orchestral triangles.

When we look at the stars we are actually bathed in the light of the past, and for Thomson this is another way to think about the history while simultaneously considering the ‘contemporary’ – that which constitutes our present is a set of signals between which there are gaps. Negative Space is an ongoing series of photographic murals of inverted astronomical imagery sourced from the Hubble Space Telescope. Thomson works with the Hubble archive in an ongoing way, generating a negative image every time the Hubble generates a positive one. Through a simple command in Photoshop, blacks become whites, whites become blacks, and all other colors are transformed into their complement. These images are then made into site-specific photographic murals for empty walls and installed like wallpaper, indoors and out, temporary and permanent. The project also includes an artist book, an original font, and a screensaver.

The project at Yaletown-Roundhouse Station, Canada Line is presented in partnership with Capture and the Canada Line Public Art Program – IntransitBC.

This project heralds a more comprehensive exhibition of Thomson’s work to be presented at the Contemporary Art Gallery in 2014-15 produced in collaboration with SITE Santa Fe and accompanied by the first monograph to examine Thomson’s practice.

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Mungo Thomson - Negative Space


The Contemporary Art Gallery presents the first solo exhibition in Canada by French artist Aurélien Froment, comprising an ambitious body of newly commissioned work.

Froment has produced an exhibition which focuses on the series of educational toys (Spielgaben or play gifts) designed by Friedrich Fröbel (1782–1852), the German founder of the original Kindergarten. Froment’s longstanding interest in Fröbel was aroused by the openness of the system of objects he devised, which has paradoxically resulted in both their survival and disappearance. For Froment as for Fröbel, each shape begets another, each form foreshadows a second; all images are keys to other images. Replicas have been produced based on historical artifacts, presenting for the first time in an exhibition, the play gifts in the complete sequence as imagined by their author. The objects are presented alongside an ensemble of photographs, which map Fröbel’s pedagogy, while drawing connections with earlier, as well as future uses of the geometric grid. Fröbel Fröbeled is therefore an exhibition on Fröbel, with Fröbel — an exploration of his art, as well as a reflection on what lies beneath his system of objects.

Drawing on the ideas of philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau and the experiences of Swiss pedagogue Johan Pestalozzi, Fröbel advocated for a practice of education where the child and the teacher are co-workers, with play and self-activity at the center of the learning process. To this end Fröbel introduced activities such as singing, dancing, gardening, map making and created a series of educational toys, the play gifts. He brought together existing children’s toys (wooden blocks, woollen balls, sticks), stripped of any signs suggesting pre-determined educational purposes such as letters, numbers, figures or colours and sequenced these within an overarching system of relationships in which each toy foreshadows the next while being transformed. A soft woollen ball turns into a hard wooden sphere; a sphere into a cube via a cylinder; a cube is divided into smaller cubes and so on, until volumes become surfaces, surfaces become lines and lines are segmented towards infinity. Continuity and opposition systematically order the world of Fröbel’s gifts. Since the mid-nineteenth century, many educationalists and manufacturers appropriated the influential Kindergarten material and while establishing it as a prominent feature of modernity, the consistency of Fröbel’s ideal was slowly diluted, lost or abandoned.

Throughout his career, Fröbel continually refined his play gifts to achieve the greatest scope through their different forms, relations and applications. They constitute a modest but complex body of works, used for object lessons and often accompanied by analogies and stories, something tangible to enhance the understanding of something conceptual.

Individual sets comprised balls, blocks, sticks, paper folding and weaving, peas and clay. From simple geometrical shapes could appear a chair, a worker’s house, a train, a ruin or a flower, as well as introducing abstract notions such as unity and interconnectedness. Each gift would be used in short sessions of directed play. Collector and scholar Norman Brosterman states in his seminal book Inventing Kindergarten, that “unlike the building blocks, mosaic toys, and traditional crafts that were their forebears, the gifts were never available for entirely ‘free play’. Their use was always related to the three realms: forms of nature (or life), forms of knowledge (or geometry, mathematics and science) and forms of beauty (or art).” The potential of each toy and its associated applications were therefore multiplied according to their ability to represent, demonstrate or to be arranged in a pleasing way.

In the exhibition, each gift is also used and depicted by Froment in a number of different ways. To the three realms proposed by Fröbel — nature, knowledge and beauty — Froment suggests to add two others — cultural forms and material forms — revealing aspects of the gifts’ own history while reflecting on its mediation within a contemporary public art gallery. In some of the accompanying photographs, the gifts are staged based on engravings featured in Fröbel’s own manuals and literature that followed. Representing a throne, a church, a castle, a cross or a sentry box, the photographs draw the imaginary atlas of an archetypal world rooted in the nineteenth century. Whether photographed by Froment like diagrams, models, products or architecture, they perform, alongside their related toy, some of the instructions provided in the early handbooks while potentially becoming again loose instructions themselves. Divorced from their original publication context and captions, freed from their layout, the constellation of images in the exhibition unfolds as another gift.

If the first series of photographs notionally illustrate uses of the play gifts while mapping a model world, other predominantly small-scale images relate more specifically to the biography of the German pedagogue. Fröbel lived and worked close to his birthplace in Thuringia, central Germany. He founded his first institution for early childhood education in 1837 in the small town of Bad Blankenburg where two years later, he coined the term ‘Kindergarten’. Juxtaposed with the graphic educational material, this series of views of the countryside near Jena (the former East Germany near the Czech Republic border) show a reality without clear narrative, yet situates geographically, socially and culturally the genesis of Fröbel’s project. Through this Froment implies a complex relationship between the objects, images, ideas, places and us as audience. The work becomes the vehicle to draw our attention to changed contexts and so perceptions shift. We contemplate ideas not in a void but think while practising.

Alongside the exhibition in Vancouver, the CAG is working in partnership with DIM Cinema at The Cinematheque to present Interludes: Aurélien Froment. Complementing the exhibition, the films selected by Froment often use the format of instructional videos. Taking place on January 20, 2014 at 7.30 pm, works to be screened include The Apse, the Bell and the Antelope (2005); Pulmo Marina (2010); Théâtre de poche (2007); Fourdrinier Machine Interlude (2010); Camillo’s Idea (2012).

The exhibition is made in collaboration with Villa Arson, Nice, France; Spike Island, Bristol, UK; Frac Île de France — Le Plateau, Paris, France; Heidelberger Kunstverein, Germany. A publication will be developed in 2015 bringing together this new commission and the various presentations in the exhibition tour.

Research toward the production of this work is funded by a grant from programme ‘Hors les murs’ 2011 of the Institut Français. The exhibition is supported by the Consulat Général de France à Vancouver and Institut Français.

Born in 1976 in Angers, France, Aurélien Froment lives and works in Dublin. Solo exhibitions by Froment have been presented at Le Credac, Ivry-sur-Seine; Musée départemental de Rochechouart; Centre culturel français, Milan; Marcelle Alix, Paris; CCA Wattis, San Francisco; Montehermoso, Vitoria-Gasteiz; Bonniers Konsthalle project room, Stockholm; The Physics Room, Christchurch; Motive Gallery, Amsterdam; Frac Champagne-Ardenne, Reims; Module du Palais de Tokyo, Paris; Project Arts Centre, Dublin and Les Laboratoires d’Aubervilliers.

Group exhibitions include The Encyclopedic Palace, 55th Biennale di Venezia; Curiosity, Turner Contemporary, Margate; Mind is Outer Space, Casey Kaplan Gallery, New York, (2013); Descriptive Acts, SF MoMa, San Francisco; Tactics for the Here and Now, Bucarest Biennale 5; In the Holocene, MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge; Hapax Legomena, Mercer Union, Toronto (2012); A Terrible Beauty is Born, Biennale de Lyon; Our Magic Hour, Yokohama Triennale; Dystopia, CAPC, Bordeaux (2011); 2 1/2 Dimensional, deSingel, Antwerp; 10,000 Lives, Gwangju Biennale; Art Parcours, Basel (2010); Paper Exhibition, Artist Space, New York; From the Gathering, Helen Pitt Gallery, Vancouver; The Space of Words, Mudam, Luxembourg (2009); The Way in which it Landed, Tate Britain, London; Word Event, Kunsthalle Basel; The Great Transformation, Frankfurter Kunstverein; Inaugural festival, Nam June Paik Center, Seoul (2008).

Froment is represented by Marcelle Alix, Paris and Motive Gallery, Brussels.

 

 

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Aurélien Froment - Fröbel Fröbeled


American artist James Welling emerged as an important figure in the ‘Pictures Generation’, an influential group of artists working in New York in the 1980s, famous for their pioneering use of photography. This exhibition brings together a hundred and fifty of Welling’s early, experimental and abstract works from this period. The exhibition is presented in partnership with MK Gallery, Milton Keynes, UK and Centro Galego de Arte Contemporànea in Santiago de Compostela, Spain.

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James Welling - The Mind on Fire


At the Contemporary Art Gallery we present a solo exhibition by Turkish artist Meriç Algün Ringborg, her first in a museum in North America, comprising a new large-scale commission sited across the façade of our building. Visitors are invited to ‘read’ the gallery, the work wrapping around the outside as individual phrases envelope the physical structure.

Through the appropriation of methodologies that include collecting, systematizing, and list making, much of Algün Ringborg’s practice centres on notions of cultural identity, language, belonging, and the adjoining bureaucracies. In 2012 Billboards were made for the exhibition Show Off that took place in Malmö and Nicosia respectively. The questions presented derive from The Concise Book of Visa Application Forms, 2009, the work inserting queries for private information into the public realm. At a time when immigration is at the forefront of topical news stories, the project gained significant resonance. Line No.1 (Holy Bible) (2010) was first realized at Index in Stockholm, the complete contents of the Bible running as a single line of text at eye level around the gallery room. A second version in the larger space at Witte de With, Rotterdam incorporated different versions and translations aside from the King James Version of 1611 first used in Sweden, to create a topography of vertical lines mapping across the space.

The new work at the Contemporary Art Gallery has the English dictionary as its starting point and using only selected definitions of specific words, this ambitious commission appears as a series of inter-related sentences which compose mini-narratives, realized in a way that seems to incorporate different voices and characters. As such the work evolves out of the dictionary akin to a fragmentary novel or short story, a series of episodes branching out into a loose meta-narrative concerning writing as a creative act as implied through the use of this ‘found’ language.

Vancouver, a city renowned internationally for the significance of its visual arts practice that conceptually re-pictures space and assigns meaning of the global in the local, provides a stimulating and challenging context for this piece by Algün Ringborg. Shown outside, the work intervenes in the urban fabric, addressing the narratives implicit in everyday routine and our daily lives. Furthermore its siting on the external surface of the gallery incites an evocation of the porosity of meaning that may emerge from such a public institution, through a contemplation of and dissemination of ideas seeping into the public domain. One might anticipate visitors and viewers are prompted into a personal reflection on reading the text based on recollection of previous encounters and exhibitions.

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Meriç Algün Ringborg - Metatext


This is the first solo institutional exhibition of work by American artist Kay Rosen in Canada. Renowned for her textbased works, presented across a range of formats and scales, Rosen uses space and colour to assert the physical property of language and elaborate new meaning from familiar phrases, often with characteristic wry humour. For Rosen words are both subject and material; playing with their visual representations through meticulously considered typography, colour and layout, she employs puns, anagrams and vernacular phrases to create visual connections which examine the structures and mechanisms of language as well as our encounters with it. Before becoming a visual artist, Rosen studied comparative and applied linguistics, a background which continues to inform her thinking.

For this new commission, Rosen has created two new works including a large-scale intervention across the front of the building. CUTOUT is just that, a formal play on double meaning that quite literally describes the very action and construction of its making. Letters are reversely cut from sheets of coloured vinyl, using the black appearance of the window glass itself to define their form and enabling the cut out letters to become what they spell. Furthermore, Rosen makes a simple cut into one letter of a word to generate another. Deceptively straightforward, in this way the ‘C’ from ‘cut’ was once an ‘O’ that formed the word ‘out.’ Both emphasizing and tracing this action, dashed lines mark the area removed.

Rosen often renders something that was once invisible visible. For example, a simple colour change of the two last letters in ABCDEFGHI in the mural Hi (1998) exposes a pre-existent word within the systematic order of the first nine letters of the alphabet. This slight shift of emphasis has the potential to affect pronunciation, turning our usual listing of letters into ABCDEFG ‘Hi.’ Different versions of this work have also used the physical properties of a building to reveal the alphabet’s potential to form words through minimal gesture; in this case by segregating ‘H’ and ‘I’ from the rest of the letters around an outside corner. Whereas the poetics in Rosen’s work position it within the lineage of Concrete Poetry where linguistic signs form the structure of an object or picture to be perceived rather than a text to be read, her work is equally grounded within conceptual practice. Situated around the corner from CUTOUT, a second work reveals a different aspect of Rosen’s practice. Visual presentation is not used to merely emphasize specific meaning, but to articulate formal gestures that unfold spatially over time. Where one piece is focused on ‘rescuing words from meaning’ the other uses language to generate strong imagery, making evident the social structures that determine its reading.

While a formal syntactical interpretation dominates much of the discourse surrounding Rosen’s work, many pieces convey political comment. Duck in the Muck (aka Exxon Axxident) from 1989, has been remade in a new version for one of our picture windows. Originally a list of ten different spellings of ‘Duck in the Muck’ alternating with an equal number of misspelled ‘Quacks’, for the Contemporary Art Gallery, Rosen has reduced the text, added vibrant layers of colour, and uses the window frame as a means to divide the text into six component parts: one duck in the muck surrounded by variant quacks. Although the title references the Exxon Valdez crude oil spill off the coast of Alaska in 1989, Rosen has chosen the work for its topical relevance to this part of the world. As a vast and extensive system of oil pipelines stretching from Alberta across British Columbia and into the United States are being established, Rosen draws our attention to recent history, and an image of potential dangers to come.

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Kay Rosen


The Contemporary Art Gallery presents the first solo exhibition in Canada of work by the renowned British artist Mike Nelson. Comprising two significant new commissions, the exhibition includes an ambitious series of sculptures produced in partnership with The Power Plant in Toronto, and a new photographic work made in association with the Walter Phillips Gallery in Banff, its starting point family photographs taken between 1957 and 1972 by the distinguished Canadian
anthropologist Dr. Wilson Duff.

Nelson is best-known for his labyrinthine architectural installations that unfold as narrative structures, where the viewer moves through rooms like a reader turns pages in a novel. These immersive environments are often seemingly abandoned, devoid of figures, yet imagining the unseen occupants of these intricate spaces is central to the viewer’s experience. For I, IMPOSTOR, Nelson’s major work for the 54th Venice Biennale (2011), much of the elaborate space appeared vacated, with the exception of a small room where lines of drying black and white photographs hung from wires that crisscrossed the ceiling. These images documented a seventeenth century caravanserai, photographed within the very building that housed a previous installation by Nelson during the 2003 Istanbul Biennale. The darkrooms within the Venice piece were a reconstruction of those adapted ‘found’ spaces in the Eminönü district of Istanbul, the architecture within the British Pavilion a disjointed facsimile from memory and from the photographs of the caravanserai. Visualizing this ghostly photographer supposedly moving through the same space as the viewer, simultaneously suggested the architecture as narrative, but confused time and space; a shift of cities and decades shadowing personal and world histories. It presented a fractured and multi-layered narrative, a set of atmospheres that similarly inform Nelson’s discrete sculptural works.

While his cultural references are broad, touching on particular moments in science-fiction, literature and the Beat era, much of Nelson’s work can be linked through an archetypal figure of the lone wanderer. For the Contemporary Art Gallery, Nelson revisits ideas and forms first seen in The Amnesiacs, a serial project begun in 1996, which references a narrative involving an imaginary cast of characters — a group of ‘outsiders’ to the mainstream who uncannily resemble a disembodied late twentieth century biker gang, albeit without bikes. These quintessential outlaws of myth and literature, as depicted in the popular imagination of North America, are paralleled here with another favourite genre; that of the hunter or fur trader, exploring both groups’ economic underpinning of these romantic façades, and the resulting conflicts involved in the expansion of territory.

In this new work it is as if a beachcomber has gathered material from the ocean, imagined by Nelson as a gigantic intelligent entity, much like that of Lem’s planet ‘Solaris’, sifting the debris as a means to uncover truths about contemporary culture and our place within it. The roving characters, The Amnesiacs, have come together as interpreters, deciphering the collected material by creating assemblages akin to some form of disjointed memory or flashback, that when brought together may effect communication or reveal hidden meaning, the potential for a new and unified system of understanding. Nelson originally developed these thoughts after the unexpected death of his friend and collaborator, Erlend Williamson. In 1996 he had fallen to his death whilst climbing in the Scottish Highlands, at the time that Nelson was working on his first incarnation of what would become The Amnesiacs. Williamson, an artist and mountaineer whose family ancestry was of Orcadian descent, will contribute again; this time parts of his own narrative, and the very materials that surrounded him — those that remain present in his absence — will be woven into the fabric of the work.

Each of the new works is derived from the Canadian landscape: one is quite literally built with flotsam and jetsam collected off local shores, while the other re-imagines it. The second new piece is a sequence of projected 35mm slides produced during recent road trips across British Columbia and into Alberta, images that appear out of time. Collectively they trace another movement across the landscape as well as capture momentary pauses, underlining human interventions to the land. Nelson’s interest in the photographic depiction of the Canadian landscape came through seeing a series of slides from Dr. Wilson Duff’s family trips across the province, presented at the Museum of Anthropology in Vancouver. As an anthropologist Duff was dedicated to understanding North West Coast cultures, even such private holidays were spent viewing aboriginal festivals or visiting the workshops of totem pole carvers. These images resonated with Nelson as much as the objects in the museum, as a language to be unraveled. They were of a time and place, but already displaced. In relation to this, Nelson has made a work that talks about the land itself and the artistic traditions inherent within it, especially those borne out of North America in the twentieth century and their re-translation as part of a British oeuvre. Nelson unearths the possible re-reading of such activities as cultural imperialism within both strands of the movement — an accusation that could ultimately be reflected within the activities of the artist himself.

Mike Nelson is represented by 303 Gallery, New York; Galleria Franco Noero, Turin; Matt’s Gallery, London; and neugerriemschneider, Berlin.

We acknowledge the generous support of Rick Erickson and Donna Partridge, Jane Irwin and Ross Hill, and Randy and Julia Heward.

With thanks to the Erlend Williamson Art Foundation.

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Mike Nelson


The Contemporary Art Gallery presents the first exhibition of work by Polish artist Monika Sosnowka in Canada. Best known for her ambitious architectural and sculptural installations which simultaneously embrace and resist the spaces they occupy,  Sosnowska’s exhibition obliquely references her hometown of Warsaw and the economic shift that has occurred since the collapse of communism in 1989 to the present day. Characteristically the artist’s sculptures recall familiar objects transformed in some way –  dysfunctional stairways that join one floor to the other but to no purpose or large-scale metal cubes and girder structures twisted and wedged into existing gallery spaces.

At the Contemporary Art Gallery we present a series of new painted steel sculptures, redolent of broken market vendor stands, referencing actual forms salvaged from Jarmark Europa Stadium, originally the site of a large market that sold everything from imitation Nike training shoes to pirated CDs and DVDs. The market opened with the onset of capitalism and ended last year when the stadium was destroyed to make way for a new national stadium that was built in time to host Euro 2012. Collectively these series of objects evoke a sense of architecture, yet through absence they poignantly suggest that as with all structures we inhabit or that give form to our daily routines, social space is subject to change over time.

This exhibition is presented in collaboration with the Southern Alberta Art Gallery, Lethbridge, which will exhibit the works from September 28 – November 24, 2013.

Sosnowska is represented by Galerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne; Hauser and Wirth, Zurich, London and New York; Kurimanzutto, Mexico City and The Modern Institute, Glasgow.

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Monika Sosnowska


The Contemporary Art Gallery presents the first solo exhibition in a public institution of work by Canadian artist Itee Pootoogook. A resident of Cape Dorset, Nunavut, he belongs to a generation of Inuit artists who are transforming and reshaping the creative traditions that were successfully pioneered by their parents and grandparents during the second half of the 20th century. In his large-scale graphite and coloured pencil drawings, Pootoogook shows us an image of modern northern life quite different from the one we are accustomed to seeing both historically and in much Inuit work. In this vast and often inhospitable region, instead of traditional subjects such as igloos and parka-clad hunters and their prey, we are shown an everyday world, one made up of recognizable contemporary accoutrements including snowmobiles, boats, soft drinks and television sets.

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Itee Pootoogook - Buildings and Land


A special version of a landscape drawing, Sky at Night by Itee Pootoogook is presented large-scale at Yaletown-Roundhouse Station, Canada Line, its physicality altering as light changes throughout the day, its imagery deliberately playing with and gaining meaning from the specificity of the site.

A resident of Cape Dorset, Nunavut, Pootoogook belongs to a generation of Inuit artists who are transforming and reshaping the creative traditions that were successfully pioneered by their parents and grandparents during the second half of the twentieth century. In his large-scale graphite and coloured pencil drawings, Pootoogook makes images of places, people and things, observed with prosaic intimacy. The solo exhibition Buildings and Land at the Contemporary Art Gallery, focuses not on works involving portraits of family and friends but on those images that picture the things which structure daily routine in this part of Canada — buildings, landscape and the means to travel to other parts of the country.

The project is presented in partnership with the Canada Line Public Art Program – IntransitBC.

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Itee Pootoogook - Sky at Night


Erin Shirreff’s solo exhibition at the Contemporary Art Gallery will be the first presentation dedicated exclusively to the artist’s film and video work. It may seem a somewhat unexpected focus given Shirreff’s definition of herself as a sculptor. And yet her investigation into the language and perception of materiality has less to do with the presentation of physical objects than specifically to that of our experience of forms – how sharing the same space with a ‘thing’ varies from looking at its representation.

Shirreff is known for reproducing sculpture as images or making sculpture that distils the essence of a photograph, playing these two elements against one another as a means to prompt and test the viewer’s response. In Knives (2008) for example, she modeled a variety of knife-like forms from Plasticine, subsequently presenting them as a series of black and white photographs; her most recent sculptures made from ash and cement resemble photographs, their surfaces giving way to reveal themselves as planes an inch thick as we move around them.

Such preoccupation with the properties and potency of sculpture in relation to photographic reproduction grew out of Shirreff’s consideration of the work of Tony Smith; New Piece from 1966 made from black painted steel, in particular held a fascination, so much so that she made a pilgrimage to see it in person. Her actual experience of the work however revealed an unexpected level of engagement, making her question the limitations of sculpture as well as her own abilities as a viewer. She comments, “It left me wondering whether the encounter, sharing the same material space as the object, was somehow more difficult, perhaps more intimidating, complicated, or somehow overwhelming, and that I didn’t equal it. What was clear was that I wasn’t able to let myself be as absorbed into the physical encounter as I was by the experience of the image. That remove offered by the reproduction opened up this contemplative space.”

Each of the four works presented at the Contemporary Art Gallery focus on an image of a building, sculpture or landscape and seek to similarly evoke such a quality. Typically these silent videos are made from subtle combinations of stills or, in the case of Sculpture Park (Tony Smith), by the camera panning across a static object. The original images are further transformed by simple means such as the tracking of daylight across their surfaces, by modifications through colour alterations or other such analogue effects. Changes can also play with the illusion of three dimensions as the pieces unfold. Lake uses an image of Lake Okanagan in B.C. where Shirreff grew up and her family still lives, the picture taken from an early 1980s tourism magazine. For this work Shirreff re-photographed the original image many times sequencing these as a series of stills, deploying subtle shifts in colour and light to alter the original hand-painted quality.

These nuanced adjustments appear in all of Shirreff’s videos. Some modifications highlight the qualities of the original photograph, revealing dust on its surface or illuminating the glossy quality of the paper, reinforcing its status as object. In drawing attention to the material properties of the initial image used, Shirreff builds a tension between the subject and the formal values of its representation. Whether it is a photograph of a Medardo Rosso sculpture from 1896 or the United Nations Building in New York, the thing or scene being represented is no longer the point of focus. Shirreff challenges our understanding of the nature of images themselves, their intrinsic qualities and our encounter with them.

The exhibition is presented in collaboration with Carleton University Art Gallery, Ottawa and Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Kingston, collectively marking the first comprehensive exhibition of Shirreff’s work in Canada. Each venue presents unique exhibitions, drawing out varied strands in her rich body of work, and have come together to produce her first monograph. The publication features essays by Sandra Dyck and Jan Allen and an interview with the artist by Jenifer Papararo.

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Erin Shirreff - Pictures


Nancy Holt is one of the leading artists of her generation and a pioneer in conceptual, site-specific art and film and video work. She is one of a group of important international artists who initiated the Land art movement in the late 1960s. The Contemporary Art Gallery brings together a selection of photographs from 1967 onwards, many seen for the first time, alongside pivotal film works.

Holt deals with themes centering on memory, perception, time and space. She uses the natural environment as both medium and subject with a focus on the cyclical time of the universe, the daily axial rotation of our planet Earth and its annual orbit around the sun. Photography has always played a central role within her work, both as a way of engaging with the landscape and as a way of documenting site-specific projects.

This exhibition includes major photographic pieces, including early work such as Concrete Visions (1967), an important project made on Dartmoor while visiting the UK with the artist Robert Smithson over forty years ago, Trail Markers (1969); a series of photographs entitled Light and Shadow Photo-Drawings (1978); and photographs by Holt of her most famous work, Sun Tunnels, 1973 – 76 among others. Vancouver itself could not be a more appropriate location for this exhibition, the city renowned for its setting within magnificent natural surroundings, the ongoing photographic legacies in picturing within international visual arts practice, and also being the site for the seminal Glue Pour (1970) by Robert Smithson, Holt’s late husband.

 

 

 

 

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Nancy Holt - Selected Photo and Film Works


CAG Window Spaces and off-site at Yaletown-Roundhouse Station, Canada Line and Fieldhouse Studio Residency Program.

In partnership with the City of Vancouver Fieldhouse Studio Residency Program, the Contemporary Art Gallery presents Canadian artist Raymond Boisjoly as our inaugural resident artist. For six months he will occupy the Burrard Marina Field House, using it as a studio and a place for community engagement, coinciding with the launch of As It Comes, two new interrelated public works. The title appears at the Yaletown-Roundhouse Station as a discrete piece, humorously foreboding, and more comic than terrifying, presented in brightly coloured vinyl like a credit from a B-list horror film. Linked to the text in the gallery windows, Boisjoly removes all suggestions of the past, not to deny what has become history, but with the intent to restore belief systems that are still intact.

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Raymond Boisjoly - As It Comes - Window spaces


CAG Window Spaces and off-site at Yaletown-Roundhouse Station, Canada Line and Fieldhouse Studio Residency Program.

In partnership with the City of Vancouver Fieldhouse Studio Residency Program, the Contemporary Art Gallery presents Canadian artist Raymond Boisjoly as our inaugural resident artist. For six months he will occupy the Burrard Marina Field House, using it as a studio and a place for community engagement, coinciding with the launch of As It Comes, two new interrelated public works. The title appears at the Yaletown-Roundhouse Station as a discrete piece, humorously foreboding, and more comic than terrifying, presented in brightly coloured vinyl like a credit from a B-list horror film. Linked to the text in the gallery windows, Boisjoly removes all suggestions of the past, not to deny what has become history, but with the intent to restore belief systems that are still intact.

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Raymond Boisjoly - As It Comes - Yaletown-Roundhouse Station


The Contemporary Art Gallery presents the first solo institutional exhibition in North America for Romanian artist Ciprian Muresan.

Artistic and literary works are the starting point for Muresan who appropriates them in a reflective project that intersects with the recent history of Romania and other Eastern European countries
and, more generally, ponders the realities of the contemporary world. Included in the show are two newly commissioned pieces by the Contemporary Art Gallery with our partners FRAC Champagne-Ardenne and Centre d’Art Contemporain, Geneva: an installation, Recycled Playground, which gives the exhibition its title and overarching tone, and a companion video Protesting Against Myself. A selection of other significant works is also presented. Juggling humour and critique, the artist highlights the structures and processes of all forms of power.

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Ciprian Muresan - Recycled Playground


Based on ideas suggested in a visit to the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese garden in Vancouver, for their first commissioned performance in Canada, French artists Hervé and Maillet brought a humble object into the gallery — a gongshi — a form redolent of or somehow manifest as a ‘scholar’s stone’, a repository of information and knowledge. Traditionally gongshi are not very big, you can transport them easily. They are not made by man, but by natural elements, yet they can appear artificial, and at the same time sum up the passing of time and the actions of nature. They could be considered to resemble the wandering of the mind.

The performance was generated through an intensive few days of rehearsals leading up to the actual event with Hervé and Maillet working closely with a team of CAG volunteers and local participants who performed and assisted in presenting the work to the visitors and audience.

Generously supported by Institut Français and the Consulat général de France à Vancouve, and presented with PuSh International Performing Arts Festival.

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Louise Hervé and Chloé Maillet - Scholar's Rock


What stories simmer just beneath the surface of the public spaces that we dwell in? What characters are the strangers we
brush shoulders with? What characters are we? Argentinean artist Mariano Pensotti’s ingeniously voyeuristic work Sometimes I think, I can see you places writers in public spaces and uses them as literary surveillance cameras. Over the three weekends of the 2013 PuSh Festival, a group of Vancouver writers including Michael Turner, Lisa C. Ravensbergen, Adrienne Wong, Kay Slater, Charles Demers, Anakana Schofield, OZ and Caitlin Chaisson, were stationed in the lobby of the Vancouver Art Gallery and the atrium of the Vancouver Public Library Central Branch equipped with laptops connected to projection screens. Their directive? To write a live account of whatever it is they saw — or imagine they saw — in these urban surroundings. Through the eyes and minds of these various writers, speculations unfolded, narratives were woven, and the anonymous individuals around us became implicated in a series of beautifully spontaneous fictions.

Mariano Pensotti is known internationally as one of the foremost directors in contemporary theatre. His work El pasado es un animal grotesco was presented on a revolving stage in the Fei and Milton Wong Experimental Theatre at PuSh, and his work La Marea presented outdoors in the streets of Gastown at PuSh 2011.

Presented with PuSh International Performing Arts Festival, The Playwrights Theatre Centre and Vancouver Art Gallery, and supported by Vancouver Public Library.

Produced with Ciudades Paralelas, a co-production between HAU Berlin and Schauspielhaus Zürich, in collaboration with Goethe-Institute Warschau and Teatr Nowy.

January 18-20, January 25-27 and February 1-3, 12-4 pm.

Located at the Vancouver Public Library, Central Branch Atrium and Vancouver Art Gallery, Lobby.

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Mariano Pensotti - Sometimes I think, I can see you


The screenings of work by Smith and Robakowski brought together two filmmakers who interrogate the language and mechanics of film itself. They share an interest in the world unfolding around them and in front of the camera, examining occasions and incidents with a humour which undercuts the rigorous nature of their work. Both reveal the narrative potential within the everyday while simultaneously making us aware of the actual and constructed nature of the images we are viewing.

British filmmaker Smith’s work is associated with ‘structural film’, an experimental and analytical approach focused on the illusionary nature of the media itself, specifically looking at its ‘material’ qualities such as the projected light, the film strip and the projection apparatus. The series of films shown here from the 1970œs and 1980œs including his iconic The Girl Chewing Gum (œ1975), demonstrate how Smith expands on the concerns of structuralist practice through new means, including the use of narrative structure, the relationship between sound and image, humour and a close engagement with popular culture.

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John Smith - Shorts


The screenings of work by Smith and Robakowski brought together two filmmakers who interrogate the language and mechanics of film itself. They share an interest in the world unfolding around them and in front of the camera, examining occasions and incidents with a humour which undercuts the rigorous nature of their work. Both reveal the narrative potential within the everyday while simultaneously making us aware of the actual and constructed nature of the images we are viewing.

Józef Robakowski is a pioneer of independent Polish film. From the early 1970œs he interrogated the language, material and mechanics of film, combined with a long-standing interest in conceptualist avant-garde traditions filtered through an insistence on authenticity and personal identity. Presented were a series of pieces produced between 1970 and 2009œ including From My Window, 1978 ˆŠŸ‰– 1999ˆŠŠŠ (2000) shot from Robakowski’s apartment. By filming the world around him and narrating everyday events in his own, often wryly humorous voice, he deployed a kind of personal resistance to the political situation imposed upon him.

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Józef Robakowski - My Own Cinema


Knowledge, Kindliness and Courage is the first solo exhibition in North America of Turner Prize nominee, Nathan Coley. This major presentation includes Unnamed (2012), a new commission in the gallery and We Must Cultivate Our Garden, installed on the roof of the Pennsylvania Hotel in the Downtown East Side at Carrall Street and East Hastings Street.

Presented off-site We Must Cultivate Our Garden (2006) a largescale illuminated text work held aloft on a scaffolding structure, evokes just such concerns. Taken from the last line of Candide by Voltaire, the statement is powerful and complex. The use of the plural ‘we’ is inclusive, conveying the sense that a joint effort is necessary for an endeavour to have any effect. The imperative ‘must’ lends an active, almost dictatorial tone. The words ‘cultivate’ and ‘garden’ are loaded with metaphorical weight: we can cultivate our minds, our souls, our relationships as well as the soil. Our ‘garden’ might constitute a house, a spirit, a child or a patch of land. In some ways it can be considered a call to arms, suggestive that a hunger for knowledge and understanding can be satiated through investigation and hard work rather than reliance on fate, tenuous beliefs or social standing. Coley is interested in the idea that the sentence is open to multiple forms of translation and interpretation, this element of ambiguity crucial whereby the onus is placed on the viewer to locate a meaning which interests them. Indeed, through his work, the artist reveals the unconscious of the architecture and cityscapes he interrogates, investigating social as much as physical constructions. Or as Coley says, ‘It’s in your imagination.’

 

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Nathan Coley - We Must Cultivate Our Garden


Knowledge, Kindliness and Courage is the first solo exhibition in North America of Turner Prize nominee, Nathan Coley. This major presentation includes Unnamed (2012), a new commission in the gallery and We Must Cultivate Our Garden, installed on the roof of the Pennsylvania Hotel in the Downtown East Side. Unnamed forms the centerpiece to the exhibition, over 30 recycled headstones informally gathered together, supported on stout cedar batons. These ‘ready-made’ objects produce a powerful presence resonating with Coley’s ongoing investigations as to how our environment speaks of collective desires and beliefs through its embodiment of social histories.

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Nathan Coley - Knowledge, Kindliness and Courage


This was the first solo exhibition in Canada for Shanghai based artist Xu Zhen who has emerged as one of the most inventive and provocative artists working in China today. A co-founder in 1998 of the influential artist-run space BizArt Art Center, he has also organized seminal exhibitions including Art for Sale (1999) staged at a Shanghai shopping mall. His work is characterized by tackling authoritarian gestures and clichés of human ambition often with a wry sense of humour that counters any notion of value.

The Contemporary Art Gallery presented an installation, a cluster of small sculptural pieces, slightly-larger-than-life-size replicas of a mosquito. At first glance the gallery room appeared empty and yet closer inspection revealed the space occupied by insects which appeared to be sucking blood from the building, glowing red as they drink in the nutrition needed. This creature is an effective symbol and with context vital to meaning, Xu Zhen offers a subtle and witty take on cultural politics.

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Xu Zhen - The Last Few Mosquitoes


The Contemporary Art Gallery worked with Vancouver artist Gareth Moore to co-commission a project comprising seven new films, screened offsite and a series of related posters in the window spaces at the gallery.

For Children’s Films Moore approached a number of international artists to produce short films for children, each person free to focus on any particular topic, shaping the content and form of their respective piece. Artists invited consist of some from Europe as well as other Vancouver based practitioners familiar to our local audiences. Moore then collated the two to five minute pieces into one longer work, providing it with open and closing credits, each section acting as a discrete but interconnected episode.

Akin to the early days of cinema with travelling magic lantern shows, weekly screenings of the 16mm films took place in different locations throughout the city of Vancouver such as community centres, schools and a tent in Emery Barnes Park in downtown Vancouver.

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Children's Films


The Contemporary Art Gallery presented the first North American exhibition by Dublin-based artist Sarah Browne, a survey including the artist’s entry for the 2009 Venice Biennale. Using ‘the economy’ as the basis for her artistic practice, Browne works with small communities of people, documenting resourceful forms of exchange to reveal the hidden social relations that exist in smallscale economic structures, summations of collective intention or desire typically influenced by emotional affects. Within the current context of austerity measures and failing markets, such an undertaking could not be more relevant. By processes such as filmmaking, sculpture and publishing the potential for a more radical resourcefulness is sought as a manifestation of creative opposition to prevailing systems. Vancouver with its immediate history of Vietnam draft dodgers and alternative island lifestyles provided an interesting backdrop for Browne’s work.

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Sarah Browne - How To Use Fool's Gold


WAVES by Vancouver based and French born artist Nicolas Sassoon is the second commissioned work for the Yaletown-Roundhouse Station as part of the CAG’s offsite exhibition programme. It is part of Sassoon’s ongoing body of work using Moiré patterns – a visual blur inadvertently discovered by Swiss photographer Ernst Moiré – whereby two images are overlaid to create a third ‘plane’. The resulting optical effect causes the eye to see movement where there is none.

The Moiré pattern designed for the Yaletown-Roundhouse Station is created by physical layering a symmetrical configuration of vertical, curved black lines on top of a coloured pixelated background. With no focal point the mural is activated by the movement of the viewer. As commuters pass by the two overlapping planes, horizontal waves appear to undulate rhythmically across the surface. Initially disorientating, sustained viewing creates an immersive effect, altering our usual encounter with the entrance of the station, erasing its glass side as if revealing another dimension.

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Nicolas Sassoon - WAVES


American Leg was Josephine Meckseper’s first exhibition in Canada. For the site-specific work, Meckseper created eight self-contained window treatments in the Contemporary Art Gallery’s street-front vitrines. Originally intended for retail, these window spaces served as ready-made structures for Meckseper’s ongoing investigation into consumer society and archaeology of the present.

Meckseper’s work unites modernism with the formal language of commercial display, combining mass-produced objects with images and artifacts of recent historical and political events. Consumerism as an unrelenting presence in our daily lives is reflected in the artist’s highly polished sculptural installations which offer a critique of capitalist economy and lay bare some of its contradictions.

In her installation for the CAG, she refined each window into austere compositions of single sculptures centred against a black background. A repeated vertical text graphically set in a typeface referencing German Jugendstil added a further critical dimension as well as carried a personal resonance for Meckseper. The text’s aesthetic was appropriated from elements of early 20th Jugendstil architecture in Worpswede, Germany where her great great uncle, Heinrich Vogeler lead a utopian artist movement. Meckseper’s connection of contemporary consumer culture to Jugendstil is its development as a form of aesthetic and political resistance to the mainstream.

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Josephine Meckseper - American Leg


This was the first solo exhibition in Canada of work by Los Angeles based artist Matthew Monahan. The survey for the first time brought together three distinct phases of his practice: early works using drywall, more recent pieces from the series utilizing large sheets of glass and industrial ratchet straps more usually seen securing heavy loads, and these combined with new works in cast bronze often standing atop columns or structures made from materials found in the foundry – bricks from smelting ovens, large sheets of metal. Running throughout was Monahan’s interest in the interplay between two and three dimensions, between drawing and materiality, infused with personal mythology and a self-reflective look at the conventions of museum display.

Selected from work made during the past eight years, Monahan’s figurative sculptures and drawings evoke artifacts from another time or era. With their battered, weathered surfaces and contorted, fragmented bodies, they could be ancient totemic figurines, tribal masks or chunks of Greco-Roman statuary. But instead of marble, wood or stone, Monahan imbues less weighty materials like Styrofoam, wax and paper with a sense of substance, meaning and artificial patina. Some figures perch on rectangular pedestals of unfinished drywall, whose raw edges and exposed fixings interrupt any impulse toward preciousness; others are contained within glass cases simultaneously acting as container, plinth and discrete element within the overall sculptural composition.

 

 

 

 

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Matthew Monahan


The Contemporary Art Gallery presented the first solo exhibition in a public institution of the work of Chinese artist Guo Fengyi (1942-2010).

Self trained, Guo Fengyi belongs to an older generation who’s embracing of Chinese folk culture combines with traditions of wisdom and myth. Her large-scale drawings comprise intricate details and obsessive mark-making to articulate ideas of spiritual and metaphysical significance.

She began drawing after illness brought her to the healing practice of Qiquong (a traditional Chinese health practice as a means to cultivate qi energy within the body). Combined with her study of theories of mysticism, she began having visions which she felt compelled to translate into drawing. Fengyi’s subject matter encompasses these traditional concepts of thought with cosmology, acupuncture energy maps, divination and dynastic sites – all systems which are disappearing in a modernizing China. Her works are charged in every sense, bringing together notions of creativity as acts of everyday life. Redolent of fields of energy and magnetic auras, drawings manifest as suggestions of the human form, otherworldly beings and internal body parts, mapped against diagrammatic evocations of invisible worlds surrounding and influencing our existence.

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Guo Fengyi


Frances Stark’s pivotal feature length video My Best Thing is a digital animation, which traces the development of two sexual encounters that progress into conversations about film, literature, art, collaboration and subjectivity. It is a personal narrative that considers the artist’s use of online sex-chat rooms as vehicles for her creative process. The poignant conversations Stark captures are often comic, heightened by the animation itself where she used Xtranormal, a free 3D-movie making software, to render herself and her male counterparts as cartoons, naked except for fig leaves, speaking in computer-generated voices. In conveying the complexity of her interests Stark manages to imbue these commonly disparaged internet sites, as well as their users, with positive, productive and social characteristics.

A publication co-published by the Contemporary Art Gallery, Koenig Books, London, and the Walter Philips Gallery, Banff accompanied the exhibition. It features a text by prominent British curator Mark Godfrey who addresses Stark’s resolve in representing her broad, and at times clashing, interests from her recently found enthusiasm for the controversial dancehall musician Beenie Man to her homage for the highly respected feminist painter Sylvia Sleigh.

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Frances Stark - My Best Thing


Typically Massey’s work accentuates and amplifies natural phenomena, often heightened through artificial means or via slight manipulations, exploring notions of time and space, and the mutable connections between them.

In Via Lactea (above Glacier Lake) Massey deftly combines 171 narrow-field photographs of the night sky on the same strip of film, achieved by making minor adjustments to camera angle over a lengthy period of time. Even though the image is artificially constructed, the luminous pattern of the starry night-time sky retains its convincingly poetic expanse while throwing into question the veracity of the photographic image. Its blueness is much closer to that of a daytime sky and as such connects to the location whereby it greets passengers as they arrive or depart at the station. By linking notions of celestial navigation – wayfaring – to more contemporary means of travel, Via Lactea throws into flux a consideration of temporality and site.

Scott Massey lives and works in Vancouver. He studied photography at Emily Carr University of Art & Design. His work is in private and public collections including Visual Art Collection, Office of Foreign Affairs (Canada), the Rennie Collection,Vancouver and the Surrey Art Gallery.

Presented by the Contemporary Art Gallery in partnership with Canada Line Public Art Program – IntransitBC.

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Scott Massey - Via Lactea (above Glacier Lake)


The Contemporary Art Gallery presented the first major exhibition of Vancouver artist Scott Massey. With the discrete work Aurorae sited in the windows and Via Lactea (above Glacier Lake) at the Canada Line station, Massey linked both locations through two new pieces dealing with shifts in notions of time and place and the mutable connections between them. Typically Massey’s work often accentuates and amplifies natural phenomena, often heightened through artificial means or via slight manipulations. His interest in challenging our perception of the natural world or urban landscape is exemplified in a series of photographic and light works.

 

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Scott Massey - Aurorae


The Contemporary Art Gallery presented the premiere of The Pixelated Revolution a new performance by Lebanese actor, director, and playwright Rabih Mroué. Mroué’s storytelling pits facts against propaganda imbued with a particular sense of humour and a visual sensibility. By means of a semi-documentary style of theatre, his often-controversial work draws attention to issues and events overlooked in the current political climate of the Middle East. Taking the form of a lecture-performance about the usage of mobile phones during the Syrian revolution, The Pixelated Revolution examines the contemporary and recent phenomenon of photographs made during such events of conflict, broadcast and shared via Facebook and other virtual communication tools, as a means to direct and communicate events to the world.

Presented in partnership with PuSh International Performing Arts Festival and grunt gallery.

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Rabih Mroué - The Pixelated Revolution


Looking for a Missing Employee is a thoughtful and provocative performance puzzle in which Mroué follows the true story of a man who disappears from his low-level post at the Ministry of Finance in Beirut, never to be seen again. Merging storytelling with live sketching, the artist takes us on a perplexing search for the ‘truth’, littered with a sea of documents, clippings, photos and found objects. The material accumulates under multi-camera live feeds as we are exposed to the ways media shapes public perception, rumours, accusations, political conflicts and scandals. What unfolds is a commentary on the phenomenon of disappearance and proof that “between the truth and a lie, there is but a hair.”

Supported by The Roundhouse. Presented in partnership with PuSh International Performing Arts Festival and grunt gallery. This tour is made possible through the collaboration of P.S. 122 (New York), On the Boards (Seattle), Walker Art Center (Minneapolis) and The Andy Warhol Museum (Pittsburgh).

Rabih Mroué, Looking for a Missing Employee
The Roundhouse, January 26–28, 8pm
Post-show discussion led by Vanessa Kwan, January 27

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Rabih Mroué - Looking for a Missing Employee


This was the first exhibition in Canada of work by British artist Robert Orchardson. Inspired by science fiction films and the work of architects and designers who engage with ways of thinking about the future, Orchardson is all too aware of the inherent paradox in visualizing the unknown, any attempt immediately foiled as it becomes instantly familiar. In setting out to imagine ‘things to come’, such endeavours unavoidably speak to us of the here and now. For Orchardson, his artistic proposition compels us to reassess utopias of the past, this revisiting however more than a mere act of longing. Instead it implies a restaging of unfulfilled possibilities as he grapples with fresh meaning and opportunity.

Approached through a triangular opening at the CAG, the wall construction pervaded the whole gallery, reinforcing the deliberate sense of entering another world. Against this, the series of coloured objects resemble the amorphous motifs that feature in paintings by surrealist artist Yves Tanguy. The result was an environment that speaks of competing implications of potential and redundancy; abstraction versus figuration; the immediate present as opposed to somewhere else.

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Robert Orchardson - Endless Façade


The Contemporary Art Gallery presented the exhibition Endless Renovation an evolving installation by Corin Sworn, which combined found objects and texts, light and shadows, storytelling and speculation. With this work, Sworn transformed the Alvin Balkind Gallery into a set animated by audio and images.

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Corin Sworn - Endless Renovation


To create is to relate was the first exhibition in Canada of the influential work of Sister Corita Kent who came to fame for her silkscreen prints while teaching at Immaculate Heart College in Los Angeles in the 1960s. The exhibition developed in association with the Corita Art Center, Los Angeles and MOCFA, San Francisco focuses on Corita’s work from this period when we see the rapid visual move from a muted palette to one where figurative style is replaced by an increasing use of large areas of intense abstract colour. Mixing advertising slogans and poetry in her silkscreens and commandeering nuns and students to help make ambitious installations, processions and banners, Corita’s work is now recognized as some of the most striking – and joyful – American art of the 60s. The exhibition also shows a shift in the manner Corita brings words into her compositions often fragmented whereby they become image. The size of the serigraphs also increases and for Corita the absorption of the burgeoning media signage, commercial systems and slogans she saw play an important role in the development of her work. She embraced the urban environment, the commonplace becoming far from empty wasteland, rather a vehicle for hope and rejoicing. In someday is now (1964) for example, the partial block letters clearly derive from SAFEWAY supermarkets; somebody had to break the rules (1967) has the phrase jumbled but taken from a laundry detergent of the day.

Corita’s work and its community engagement marked a decade of utopian thinking but were rooted in the belief that direct action can cause real change. As such she asserts the continuum between daily life and art through her work, and challenges our expectations of what and how we encounter art. This lack of division between form and activity makes for a compelling argument against the notion of detached art experience both for artists and the audience. In this way, it chimes with the Contemporary Art Gallery in our belief that art and its conventions should not be divorced from our everyday experience and have meaning to everyone.

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Corita Kent - To create is to relate


The CAG presented the first exhibition in North America devoted entirely to the vignettes of British wood engraver, artist and naturalist Thomas Bewick. Born in Cherryburn, near Mickley, Northumberland in 1753, Bewick worked in Newcastle until his death in 1828. Clearly influenced by his childhood on a small farm on the banks of the river Tyne, Bewick’s love of the countryside is reflected in his detailed woodcuts of animals, birds and rural scenes. Amongst his most ambitious projects were illustrations for General History of Quadrupeds (1790) and History of British Birds (two volumes, 1797 and 1804), both of which also included a great number of vignettes. Bewick referred to these as ‘tale-pieces’. Intended as illustrations of “some truth or point of some moral” they provide an invaluable insight into social history while also demonstrating the artist’s imagination and wit. As such these narrative works provided an interesting counterpoint to the work of many internationally established artists in Vancouver, engaging in image making which critically examines and reflects on the city and conditions which surround them. The presentation of historical work is intended to challenge our understanding of what a contemporary art space should show and as such reinforces the notion that everything was once contemporary, retaining meaning for future generations, just as much as what is contemporary now will inevitably become historical.

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Thomas Bewick - Tale-pieces


Federico Herrero is well-known as an abstract painter who uses unconventional locations and surfaces as a context for his large scale graphic murals. While Herrero at times works inside galleries, he often works with difficult sites whether it is the horizontal expanse of an exposed rooftop or the narrow corner of the custodian’s closet. His work, through form, colour and context directly addresses the division between art and social life, attempting to build a bridge between art as a specialized commodity and its larger place in the community. To address these concerns and extending our exhibition programme into the streets, the Contemporary Art Gallery commissioned Herrero to design a mural for our windows, using his formal vocabulary as a visual membrane, bringing our presence directly into the city. Also working with Autobox Media, the CAG designed a program, using Layar Reality Browser to create a virtual mural to be applied on selected sites throughout Vancouver. The artwork is accessible through any smartphone. Please go to http://offsite.contemporaryartgallery.ca for full details.

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Federico Herrero - Vibrantes


A Way To Go was the first part of the “GPS PROJECT” generated through the Education Program of Contemporary Art Gallery.

The word “Alley” comes from the original French root word “Allée” which literally translates as; A Way To Go. This was a walking journey project that consisted of using the GPS mobile device to navigate an alternative route through the downtown core by only taking alleyways and shortcuts. The passage was less distracting than crowded streets and avoided being a target for consumers by staying off the main roads. These routes are named after brief encounters with objects and/or subjects found in each individual alleyway rather than being named after important political figures or national historical references like most main roads in Vancouver. The names of the alley were included in the GPS map application. Through this journey, the participants came across site-specific installations, images activated by the GPS device, video clips and information about hidden spaces in the back alley.

Examples of this were images taken from inside an abandoned Japanese Auto Centre that has no access to the general public. Also an installation that was installed behind the fenced up corner in an underground parking lot to prevent homeless over-night staying, another example were details about a recycled water container underneath the Emery Barnes Park. This project continued to unfold describing more hidden objects/subjects in the allies of Vancouver’s downtown core over the following 3 months.

This program is generously supported by TELUS, 2010 Legacies Now and the Canadian Art Foundation. With thanks to Hannah Hughes and Autobox.

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Ron Tran - A Way To Go


In 2011 the Contemporary Art Gallery presented Flesh and Blood, a major touring exhibition of recent work by Canadian artist Shary Boyle. The exhibition, curated by Louise Déry, director of the Galerie de l’UQAM, was launched at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto, travelled to the Galerie de l’UQAM, in Montreal and then to its final presentation in Vancouver.  The installation at the Contemporary Art Gallery featured three new works by Boyle exclusive to Vancouver.

Flesh and Blood reflected the artist’s vision and versatility and included drawing, painting and porcelains, creating an installation that drew upon ancient mythology, fiction and fantasy in an exploration of psychological and emotional conditions.

A number of characteristics are key to understanding Boyle’s work: stylistic contract and ornamental excess, the mechanisms of seduction, an evocation of a weird, theatricality of subject and manifestation of social politics.  Her examinations of scenes and subject matter associated with childhood and adolescence, in turn reference surrealist landscapes, fairytales, cartoons and illustrated novels that recall fantastic worlds or prophetic futures.

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Shary Boyle - Flesh and Blood


For American artist Sharon Hayes’ first solo exhibition in Canada, the CAG presented In the Near Future (2005-2008) her multifaceted and dynamic installation, incorporating 13 slide projectors and nearly 250 different images. The numerous images were gathered from audience members over four years as part of performances Hayes staged in six cities.

Hayes invited onlookers to document her enactment of 13 lone protests. In select public sites she picketed with placards bearing anachronistic and ambiguous slogans. Some she made up, altered or directly appropriated from bygone protests, such as, “Who approved the war in Vietnam?” is a phrase originally used in 1962 at the Charter Day Protest at the University of California and “I am a Man” a slogan taken from the civil rights movement during the Memphis Sanitation strike in 1968.  Each performance is a paring down of the basic strategies of street protest – the way text, body, and place and time go together to define a subject and create a common language. Hayes’ discursive and aesthetic investigation in the history of protest chimes directly with the recent success of mass protests in Tunisia, Egypt, and Yemen, and the worldwide support for the Libyan revolt.

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Sharon Hayes - In the Near Future


For their first solo exhibition in Canada, the CAG presented Beyond Guilt – The Trilogy (2003-2005) a collaborative video series by Israeli artists Ruti Sela and Maayan Amir.

The work’s currency rests in its daring and mischievous blend of sex and politics and its jumbling of subject and author. The trilogy begins with Beyond Guilt #1 shot in the bathrooms of night clubs in Tel Aviv where the artists record themselves negotiating sexual encounters. In Beyond Guilt #2, through an online chat room, the artists invited men to a hotel room where discussions of sexual preferences lead to talk of experiences in the army and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  And in the final video, they invited a sex worker to a hotel room, gave her their camera and asked her to document their meeting.

In all three, Sela and Amir are instigators on and off camera, acting as provocateurs as well as ready and willing participants. Beyond Guilt – The Trilogy is at times difficult to watch. The artists create risky scenarios by negotiating sex inpublic places and inviting strangers into their hotel room. Yet, Sela and Amir have managed to anaesthetize situations that are out of the ordinary, filled with unknowns and potential risk. They capture a banality within the sensational, neutering much of the provocation. Sela and Amir’s conflation of sex and war isn’t what one would expect – a depiction of spectacle and drama. It is of the everyday and seems to represent a possible tactic for coping with life in Tel Aviv. In a nation continually at war, surrounded by violence, this seems most viable.

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Ruti Sela & Maayan Amir - Beyond Guilt, The Trilogy


Roy Arden is well known for his austere photographs of Vancouver’s cityscape. His solo exhibition at the Contemporary Art Gallery shed light on the other aspect of his practice which is centred on found images, collage and the archive. Entitled UNDERTHESUN, the exhibition commanded all three of the Contemporary Art Gallery’s exhibition spaces, including its two galleries and the windows vitrines and a pictorial artist’s publication was produced. The exhibition included works in multiple media including; drawing, painting, collage and digital collage, video and sculpture.

Whether in his online work, artist’s blog and digital collage or his intimate handmade collages, Arden ‘s incessant digging through the image archive always seems focused on finding the root causes for our present condition. Arden’s subject as always is history and specifically, modernity. His recent adventure with multiple media seems like a search for new diagnostic tools that can offer him insights that could not be revealed through photography alone.

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Roy Arden - UNDERTHESUN


Although McIntosh is primarily known for her painting, she also works in collage. Violet’s Hair, for the first time brought together her work in these two distinct mediums. As well as exhibiting five recent paintings in the B.C. Binning Gallery, she built two large-format collages: one wrapped the exterior of the gallery, using the window vitrines, and the other filled the Alvin Balkind Gallery in a unified form. This was not the first time McIntosh worked with collage on this scale, but it was the first instance she built a structure as the ground.

Her collages and paintings carry a similar language, one of solid planes, layered forms and bold colours. They inform each other, running in tandem, offering a visible language that simultaneously exemplify the flexibility with which McIntosh handles many possible choices and the solidity of her final decisions.

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Elizabeth McIntosh - Violet's Hair


Following A Line was as “in following a line of investigation.” But here the line had no delineated starting or end point. Through lectures, films, PowerPoint presentations, archival images and signage, the works in this group exhibition in some way challenged these instructive forms and educational methods of presenting information.

The difficulty of representing knowledge, and the need to demonstrate one’s understanding was common to the work in Following A Line. Many of the artists in this exhibition worked from an archive of images and texts, which they had compiled over years of research, but it wasn’t essential to any of the artists to make this explicit or to lay out their research in an accessible form. Research can be defined as a search for knowledge or any systematic collection of information that is applied to a particular subject or a more general system of understanding. Research-based is a term that is frequently used to describe a type of art practice that focuses on the terms of research, using them as strategies for making art that both challenges the conventions of how information is gathered and presented.

 

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Following A Line


This exhibition explored the traditional genre of still life and how it is a sustained practice within contemporary visual art making. The number of artists and works was large for the exhibition spaces of the Contemporary Art Gallery, and yet it seemed small in relation to the subject. The quantity of works reflected this genre’s continued importance in current art production and discourse, and was conceptually tied to conventional formal aspects of still life, gathering together many objects for contemplation.

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Triumphant Carrot: The Persistence of Still Life


Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun refers to his drawings as preliminary studies serving as background work and the measuring-stick for developing the forms and ideas that have come to identify his style and distinguish his pictorial inventiveness. Neo-Native Drawings and Other Works features three decades of drawings extending from 1980 to 2009. The most recent tree studies (2004 – 2009), as well as ovoid portraits (2002 – 2005), figurative works (1985 – 2009), etchings (1993 – 2009), watercolours (1980 – 1993), and a number of sketchbooks comprised the first exhibition to focus on Yuxweluptun’s works on paper.

Yuxweluptun refers to his work as a discourse. In his work, art and politics intermix with a Salish cosmology to critique and transform the conditions arising from colonial displacement, returning the notion of an empty newly discovered land to an indigenous sense of place. In this way a cultural landscape becomes known, if not fully understood, through the myriad forms that are central to Yuxweluptun’s image making. While his work often lays out the terms of a grim pedagogy addressing racism and abuse of the land, Yuxweluptun explores these ideas with a liberating and playful humour.

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Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun - Neo-Native Drawings and Other Works


 An ideal context for an examination of the competitive nature of group exhibitions was during the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. In order to take stock of the current state of artistic interventions in the physical space or institutional workings of a gallery, guest curator Eric Fredericksen brought together an international roster of artists for An Invitation to An Infiltration

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An Invitation to An Infiltration


Elizabeth Zvonar’s work often uses iconic images from pop culture to reference art historical works, mixing images through collage or rendering popular forms in traditional materials. Through collage and sculpture Zvonar manages to connect the aesthetic, social and conceptual conventions of art history with those derived from the larger pool of popular culture.
On Time, Zvonar’s show at the CAG, carried this collision of representation into the realm of science, philosophy and religion by examining how the desire to move between realms, earthly, spiritual or dimensional, is portrayed through invention, ritual and, ultimately, image. This new work embodied Zvonar’s interested in the connections between Cubism, representations of the 4th dimension and rubber bands as metaphors for time. “I find that at the end of a journey, which of course is neverending; I have found things out.” This quote by British playwright Harold Pinter, is an apt description for On Time, which included an array of sculptures and collage that act as possible portals into implausible places. Zvonar’s reflection on Cubism and its relationship to Albert Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, as well as her consideration of counter-cultures such as the beat generation and hippy culture, focuses on a common desire to transcend the physical limits of temporal reality. Whether it is the simple gesture of the thumbs up or a picture of a popular music icon, she captures this ambition by drawing on familiar images. Through her use of scale, mix of materials and combination of imagery, Zvonar manages to render the familiar somewhat absurd. She captures a humour that taps into an optimism and innocence that seems to belong in some other realm.

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Elizabeth Zvonar - On Time


Repetition, exaggeration and processes of making were common threads that tied the works together in Face Up. The work of three artists was combined to articulate how representations of the body could be broken down into single gestures. In three works by Lee Lozano, she repeats the same gesture over and over through oil painting and pastel drawing. Bruce Nauman’s silkscreen print suite Studies For Holograms captures five different contorted facial expressions emphasized by the use of acid yellow, grey green and inky blacks. Sarah Lucas’s Cigarette Tits, from her notorious cigarette sculpture series of the early 2000’s, is an iconic female form made from the meticulous and repetitive stacking of cigarettes, capturing the full slump of a heavily bosomed female form through an economy of means. Each of the works is an exaggerated caricature of recognizable gestures, left open and ambiguous to override static meaning.

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Face up


Playing Homage was an international group exhibition in which the artist was the subject matter. Central to all of the works in the show was a focus on the figure of the artist, used by each artist as a reference point to address their own subjectivities as makers, as institutional critique, and in sincere homage to an historical cast of artists and to the cult of the artist persona.

Several of the artists in Playing Homage directly took on the specific identity of another artist, while others play a more generalized character. Some of the works were remakes or restagings of earlier works in which the artists became, quite literally, actors playing a role, while others dictated what it meant to be an artist.  The exhibition brought together new and older works, including My Late Early Styles (Part I, The Middle Period) (2007 – 09) by Rodney Graham, an image first conceived for the pages of Artforum (2007), but never previously realized as a large format photograph, and General Idea’s little known video, Press Conference, which was taped at the Western Front, Vancouver in 1977.  Also included was Mark Leckey’s Made in ‘Eaven (2004), shown as part of his winning exhibition for the 2008 Turner Prize, and Andrea Fraser’s sharp re-articulation of a Martin Kippenberger speech in Kunst Muss Hängen (2001).  Martha Wilson’s premiere video from 1972, a selection of posters by Kippenberger, and new work by Kerstin Cmelka, Christos Dikeakos, Evan Lee and Ming Wong were also included.

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Playing Homage


The Contemporary Art Gallery opened a unique group exhibition that brought together six British Colombia artists who use the journey as a way to engage with landscape traditions. In Sentimental Journey, all the artists went on expeditions, traversing the landscape to collect inspiration and gather materials to document their experiences. The works in Sentimental Journey were both real and fictive representations of often undetermined treks. Many of the works had an optimism that was tied to the landscape, the desire to be outside and the character of the artist/wanderer.

The art works in this context brought forward the tight relation between the journey and its presentation, embracing the romance of the journey while also recontextualizing and privileging the terms of storytelling in order to question sentimentality. Sentimental Journey captured sentiments of eighteenth and nineteenth century Romanticism.  Most of the artists in the exhibition kept true to this tradition, using the journey as their primary source of inspiration, translating their journeys materially to create a new experience in its own right. As many of the works in the exhibition showed us, our visual fields are saturated with representations of landscapes, but here the artist’s to reinvigorate our perception of nature through their distinctive working methods.

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Sentimental Journey


bgl is an artist collective based in Québec City. The acronym bgl is the first initial of the surnames of the three artists Jasmin Bilodeau, Sébastien Giguère and Nicholas Laverdière. They create large scale installations, public art projects that are responsive to the intended environment or surrounding culture. Combining humour and social critique, using popular consumer culture to address global and local political issues, they have worked together for over ten years, exhibiting widely. Most recently they participated in the Montréal Biennial, were nominated for the Sobey Art Award and have had a solo exhibition at Diaz Gallery in Toronto.

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Bgl - MARSHMALLOW + CAULDRON + FIRE =


Canadian artist Tim Gardner is well-known internationally for his figurative works based on personal snapshots of family events, vacations with friends and day to day activities.  Mostly realized as intimate and precise watercolor paintings and oil pastel drawings, his early work used photographs of his older brother and friends as source material, capturing the sometimes excessive leisure activities of these post adolescent men engaged in sporting activities or partying. For his solo exhibition at the Contemporary Art Gallery, his first in Canada, Gardner placed new emphasis on the landscape and watercolour. In this new work, the landscape became a place to formally engage with the properties of watercolour as a medium that offers a unique immediacy.

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Tim Gardner


“Please Do Not Touch the Artwork,” is a familiar museum rule. Danish artist Jeppe Hein rendered it glowing red neon. Placed in one of the Contemporary Art Gallery’s street front windows, it confronted the gallery visitor before they had entered the space, and set the tone for what was to come.

For Jeppe Hein’s first exhibition in Canada, he presented three works that physically addressed the viewer’s relation to the art object. Hein’s work has been situated within an extended lineage of Minimalism. It is defined by its close examination of the formal and spatial concerns of the Minimalists as a sincere attempt to develop their concerns and reinvigorate a discourse, not for its historical relevance, but as a still vital energy for contemporary sculptural thought. His two works for the gallery space challenged the convention of the sculpture as a static object. Each offered an opportunity for viewers to experience art outside of the traditional passive role of the art viewer. Both pieces sat still and silent until they were engaged by audiences who, in viewing the artwork, triggered outbursts off sound and movement.

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Jeppe Hein - Please Please Please


Shannon Oksanen works in a variety of media from video to drawing. She has a growing international reputation and has participated in group exhibitions at the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Art, San Francisco (2004), VTO Gallery, London, England (2004), 303 Gallery, New York (2005) and The Charles. H. Scott Gallery, Vancouver (2006). Oksanen had participated in There are Those: Drawing by Six Artists at the CAG. For her solo exhibition, she presented a new 16mm film and a painting series. The film continues her interest in showmanship sports following in the line of works such as Break Away and Vanishing Point that focus on figure skating and surfboarding. Here waterskiing becomes the subject matter, which Oksanen sets back in time through the filter of the medium and layers of melancholy music. Her painting series continues her interest in portraiture.

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Shannon Oksanen - Summerland


Keep the IS in FEMINISM is a collection of new Feminist slogans commissioned for the Contemporary Art Gallery’s street front vitrines. For this project we invited prominent feminist artists along with emerging artists both female and male to “reinvent the ‘f’ word: feminism,” a directive taken from the renowned New York artist and activist collective Guerilla Girls.

 

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Keep the IS in FEMINISM


Clip/Stamp/Fold was the first exhibition of independent architectural magazines produced in the 1960s and 1970s. It was curated by renowned architectural theorist Beatriz Colomina and a group of PhD students at the Princeton University, School of Architecture. The exhibition was first presented in New York at the Storefront for Art and Architecture in 2006. It has since met great critical acclaim especially for remaining geographically specific to each city where it is presented. While the concept and presentation elements are portable, the archival magazines vary, being sourced from local collections. Since its debut in New York, it has traveled to the Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montreal; Documenta 12, Kassel; AA, London; and Norsk Form, Oslo with plans to go to Madrid and Barcelona.

With the help of architectural critic and curator Adele Weder, the CAG researched and assembled from local collections architectural magazines for exhibition. Clip/Stamp/Fold also included custom wallpaper featuring images of the magazines, facsimiles of historical magazines for viewers to peruse, and a historical timeline examining the social and political contexts behind many of the collected magazines.

For Clip/Stamp/Fold 6, the CAG organized a comprehensive program of talks, inviting architects, writers and publishers from the region to respond to the exhibition. Beatriz Colomina gave public a lecture on the exhibition on October 14.

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Clip/Stamp/Fold 6: THE RADICAL ARCHITECTURE OF LITTLE MAGAZINES 196X-197X


Robotic Chair is the culmination of a twenty-year exploration of kinetic sculpture. Modeled on a simple wooden school chair, the Robotic Chair has the extraordinary capability of falling apart and then putting itself back together again. In order to accomplish this amazing act the Robotic Chair is equipped with a mechanical robot embedded in the seat and a computerized vision system. Using state-of-the-art technology, the chair is a metaphor for life’s process -  falling down, and picking yourself up; falling apart, and putting yourself back together, over and over again. Max Dean realized Robotic Chair in collaboration with engineer and systems architect Raffaello D’Andrea and industrial designer Matt Donovan.

Max Dean’s works have been shown frequently both in Canada and internationally. Exhibitions include the Plateau dell’umanita, Venice Biennial, 2001; Voici, 100 years of contemporary art at Palais des Beaux-Arts (Bozar) in Brussels, 2000; and  dAPERTutto at the Venice Biennial, 1999; as well as exhibitions at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, ZKM in Karlsruhe and Kiasma in Helsinki.

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Max Dean - Robotic Chair


In all of his sculptural installations, Samuel Roy-Bois sets the viewer in motion or, more accurately, makes the viewer aware of their movements. He may guide you to walk across a raised floor that in response amplifies your footsteps, or to walk in circles to look into the window of a rotating room. The artist’s simple directions ground the body of the viewer in space and in relation to material reality. For his solo exhibition at the Contemporary Art Gallery, Roy-Bois drew a map that should be followed with all the expectations of a traveler on a quest. He created a new work that took the viewer through a passageway into a dark place to find a treasure. To set the stage for this journey, the artist used the gallery’s street front windows to transform a common household building material into an overall colour-field.
Roy-Bois is originally from Quebec City and is currently living in Vancouver. His installations have been shown across Canada and internationally, most recently in Divertissements at Point ephémère in Paris, 2007; Improbable and ridiculous at Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal in 2005; and Faire l’independence at Quartier éphémère in Montréal, 2005.

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Samuel Roy-Bois - Let us, then, be up and doing, With a heart for any fate; Still achieving, still pursuing, Learn to labor and to wait


This solo exhibition presented works from 1997 to 2006 in paint, film and photography by Vancouver artist Stephen Waddell. Waddell began his career as a painter but eventually came to concentrate on photography. Studying at Simon Fraser University and the University of British Columbia, he moved to Berlin in 1998 but now maintains a studio in Vancouver and spends time living and working in both cities. Waddell’s early paintings focused on anonymous urban spaces, these were usually unpopulated, lonely scenes that seemed like memories of experiences of derealisation. He used the camera to make studies for his paintings and these snapshots and polaroids led him to take up photography full-time. Waddell also made super 8 film studies of urban pedestrians that paved the way for his tableau-scaled photos of solitary figures for which he has become known. These photos are largely unposed studies of strangers caught at work, in transit or at leisure that reinvent the Impressionist project of ‘the painting of modern life’. Like other painters turned photographer, Waddell’s indifference toward criteria established within a strictly photographic tradition permitted him to breathe new life and purpose into the medium. His works are better understood as pictures than photographs in that they draw as much from the history of painting as the history of photography.

Guest curator: Roy Arden

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Stephen Waddell


Letter to the Editor was a poster project by Allison Hrabluik that was in part an exercise in distribution. Only fifty identical posters were produced with the goal of slowly and subtly dispersing them through Vancouver in somewhat unexpected places. What started in one of the Contemporary Art Gallery’s street front windows slowly spread out over the course of two months. In this time frame, the artist personally approached selected common use businesses, asking them to hang a poster from inside their windows. The poster format was a break from Hrabluik’s animation and video work, but retained a narrative format typical to her early work. The poster was a collage of images of small animals, dolls, twigs and bugs, some of which she reproduced as watercolour paintings while others she left in photographic form. The content at first appeared sweet, but turned foreboding as one began to notice that all the animals are dead and the dolls glare unblinkingly.

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Allison Hrabluik - Letter to the Editor


For over 25 years, FASTWÜRMS, a collaborative art team formed in 1979 by Kim Kozzi and Dai Skuse, have been durable generators of DIY culture in Toronto and have been able to maintain a diverse and dedicated audience, and a distinct lineage of imitators and followers. They have built a practice that collides the rigour of conceptual art with pagan rituals and popular aesthetics, creating a fresh language of their own where they are alien witches who make films, video, installations, performances and teach at the University of Guelph, Ontario. With a sobering humor and a love of their community they have produced large public commissions and participated in the 2006 Sao Paulo Biennial. FASTWÜRMS have produced solo projects in Toronto’s many Queen Street West galleries and spaces, including Paul Petro Contemporary Art, X Space, the Gladstone Hotel, the late ZsaZsa Gallery, as well as internationally, including Southern Exposure Gallery (San Francisco), Osaka 90 (Osaka, Japan), Canadian Cultural Centre (Rome), Seoul Museum of Contemporary Art (Korea), Ideal Copy Office (Kyoto, Japan), and in La IV Bienalle de Poesia Visual (Zapata Subway Station, Mexico City).

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FASTWÜRMS - Donky@Ninja@Witch


Through large scale sculptural installations, Håkansson has built a practice that links scientific research to cultural production, reworking scientific studies within the sterile white walls of the gallery. Håkansson formally reconstructs experimental apparatuses that are originally designed to measure factors such as environmental patterns and the unique physiological movements of animals. For example, for Wind Tunnel, he rebuilt a structural device used to test bird flight patterns in the confines of the art gallery. As Vancouver is well-known for its specialized and well-funded research on environmental issues, in particular marine life, the CAG brought Håkansson to Vancouver in May 2006 to begin his research. He returned in September 2007 to begin recording Orca sounds for his upcoming exhibition.

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Henrik Håkansson - Aug.26,2003 - Aug.27,2003 (vespa vulgaris)


Vancouver based artist Elspeth Pratt produced an abstract sculpture for the gallery’s street front windows. Using common building materials, Pratt constructed a cohesive composition to create a unified design over nine windows. In general Pratt uses forms and materials that align closer with architecture than the history of visual art. At times she directly references the space she exhibits in, but more often her abstract sculptures carry direct references to other, more ubiquitous architectural spaces. World Traffic’s (2004) curving cardboard dome and grated base reflects the now pervasive shape of many new airports. Her wall piece Pendulum (2000), which uses a stick, sponge and wire to precariously balance a protruding block of wood and suspend a carved piece of pink foam, is characteristic of a cantilevered stadium balcony. For Bluff, her work for the Contemporary Art Gallery, Pratt did both. She responded directly to the space, but also made reference to more general and proverbial architectural forms.

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Elspeth Pratt - Bluff


Drawing holds a particular place in the hierarchy of art media. It is a method for sketching; a way to solve problems, a mode of research; a part of a larger practice and a place to begin. It is traditionally distinguished as being made with a pencil, pen, charcoal, marker or crayon, usually consisting of lines, patterns or shading. There are Those was an attempt to look more deeply at the process of drawing and those reasons to draw. We used this exhibition to answer questions like why are we seeing so much drawing, why are we interested in it and how are artists using it? This group exhibition was a small selection of Vancouver-based artists who use drawing as part of a larger practice, but who also use it in a particular way, as a means to slow down their thinking process. All the works in this exhibition were labored, generally overdrawn. They had a slightly obsessive character, either through exhaustive detail, repetitive gestures, or the obvious working and reworking of a motif. All the works made reference to historical material, either stylistically or thematically.

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There Are Those: Drawings by Six Artists


For Kristan Horton’s first exhibition in Vancouver, the Contemporary Art Gallery presented a selection of 38 photographs from Dr. Strangelove Dr. Strangelove. The doubling of the title of Stanley Kubrick’s 1964 film is the first key into this ambitious project in which the artist reproduces scenes from the film Dr. Strangelove as sculptures. Using various commonplace items from his studio (a glue-stick, garbage bags, cutlery, felt markers and dirt to name only a few) Horton constructed the overall composition of each scene. He then placed, side by side, a black and white photograph of his improvised constructions with a reproduction of the original film still, amalgamating them into a single printed image.

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Kristan Horton - Dr. Strangelove Dr. Strangelove


The CAG presented the first Canadian exhibition by Russian born artist Pavel Pepperstein. Pepperstein has an eccentric practice in which he mixes painting, drawing and writing to build idiosyncratic iconographies and elaborate chronologies that both reflect a hazy past and predict a fantastic future. His series of paintings and drawings, Landscapes of Future depicts an absurd timeline of a not so plausible future. Many of the pieces in this body of work link figures from Russian mythology and fairy tales with signs and symbols from critical theory, literature and current politics, creating a bizarrely abstract representation of society as we know it that hovers between optimism and anxiousness. Pepperstein aptly situates this series within the genre of landscape painting. In general, the individual works either directly incorporate the common tropes of this genre or move toward total abstraction; for example, 2388 depicts the year lakes will begin to fly and 3017 abstractly represents the fight between ‘The All’ and ‘Nothing.’

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Pavel Pepperstein - LANDSCAPES OF FUTURE


A Shallow Flight of Stairs, Robin Peck’s solo exhibition at the Contemporary Art Gallery, consisted of a single large scale work using all eight standard size acrylic sheets. Peck worked through many different configurations to bring the separate pieces of material together in a composition that responded to the gallery as a frame and in consideration of the way a viewer moves around the work in the exhibition space. The relation that was created by assembling the similar but slightly differing material was one that was contingent on the architecture of the gallery but with the primary concern of putting the viewer in motion. The sculpture and architecture were static and activated by the viewer’s movement, which revealed subtle incremental changes in perspective caused by the differing thickness of each transparent sheet.

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Robin Peck - Shallow Flight of Stairs


Derek Brunen’s project for the gallery’s street front windows was recognition of and an invitation to the casual passersby who might not take notice of the Contemporary Art Gallery and its many activities. For Blind, Brunen tailored an array of secondhand curtains. Windows are a logical place for curtains, but they are out of place on the CAG’s uniform retail-like vitrines, under the cement tower and in the still developing neighbourhood. Curtains are an outdated mode of window dressing and not common to urban condos where blinds and shutters are more often pulled closed than drapes drawn. In Yaletown, in the densely populated downtown core of Vancouver, Brunen faced the curtains out, aesthetically arranging them into a united composition that took both texture and colour into consideration. By covering the windows he concealed what was behind them, but by creating a considered composition and directing the colour-field toward the street he asked the accidental spectator to investigate what is behind the curtain. Blind was an invitation to look.

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Derek Brunen - Blind


Euan Macdonald isolates ideas, making them manifest with simple gestures and through simplifying the visual field. For Nebula, his solo exhibition at the CAG, Macdonald presented a 16mm film loop of a nebula captured through the telescope at the Mount Wilson Observatory in Los Angeles. Unlike the human eye, which cannot translate colour at such distances, film and video cameras can read the multiple colours particular to nebulae. Yet Macdonald still chose to forget the awesome spectrum of color, portraying the cluster of stars in black and white. He removed information not just to represent how the human eye sees, but to draw attention to the means of representation in order to create a lull between spectacle and sublime understanding. As part of Nebula, the CAG co-published a limited edition artist bookwork with Verlag Fur Moderne Kunst, Nurnberg that consist of an amalgamation of stills and drawings.

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Euan Macdonald - You Are My Nebula


These emerging Vancouver-based artists have recently come together as collaborators. In combining their practices they have created a specific dialogue, one that centers on a formal exchange and a continued interest in simplifying the terms of their visual surroundings in an attempt to see what the other sees. For their exhibition at the CAG, Rhonda Weppler and Trevor Mahovsky presented a sculptural series of these formal conversations, which used base materials to geometrically represent common and household objects. They continued this dialogue in the windows in two dimensional terms, graphically rendering and extending their conversation.

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Rhonda Weppler & Trevor Mahovsky


Concrete Languagebrought together contemporary art works that explore the visual and spatial relations in language. The project was conceived to examine the visual dynamics of language, creating a contemplative moment that is outside the way we commonly use or view language. Each of the artists: Michael Baers, Fiona Banner, Filipa César, Martin Creed,  Antonia Hirsch, Denise Oleksijczuk, Ian Grais, Vibeke Tandberg, Ron Terada, Ian Wallace, Lawrence Weiner, Laurel Woodcock, Cerith Wyn Evans, YOUNG-HAE CHANG HEAVY INDUSTRIES and Elizabeth Zvonar, in this international group exhibition builds relations between text and visual material that moves beyond typical didactic or diagrammatic functions. Instead, the artists meld word and aesthetics to locate meaning at the meeting point, leveling the site of impact by creating an overt and immediate inter-dependence between what is being said and how it is visually perceived. Co-curated by Jenifer Papararo and Christina Ritchie.

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Concrete Language


Vancouver-based artist and writer Roy Arden curated an exhibition of work by internationally renowned artist Hans-Peter Feldmann. Feldmann has had profound influence on the shape of contemporary conceptual art and photography, paralleling text and image and redefining methods of exhibition and distribution. For Feldmann’s first solo exhibition in Canada, and in order to introduce local audiences to the breadth of the artist’s work, Arden selected an array of Feldmann’s signature bookworks, posters and smaller works. The exhibition also included 100 Years, an ambitious photographic series of 101 black and white portraits of people ranging in age from 8 months to 100 years old. The formal composition of the images strongly relate to work of the early 20th century photographer August Sander. In conjunction with the exhibition, the CAG published Birgit Doing Her Make Up, a bookwork comprised of 72 successive photographs.

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Hans-Peter Feldmann - 100 Years


In his budding career, Christian Kliegel has deftly managed to mesh the grand gestures of monumental sculpture with more subtle and personalized actions. Since 2003, the artist has routinely detoured from his day-to-day travels to gather the material for Production Postings, an on-going project. Kliegel compiled a vast collection of location signs used by film and television production companies to direct crew and extras to film shoots. Each production uses a cryptic code to identify itself, but the general design and style of these brightly coloured signs are formulaic and a ubiquitous part of Vancouver’s urban landscape. Kliegel filled the Contemporary Art Gallery’s twelve street level windows with over three hundred of these signs, creating a vibrant spectacle that is reminiscent of the industry’s commonplace, but excessive and showy presence in the city.

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Christian Kliegel - Production Postings


Vancouver-based artist team Hadley Howes and Maxwell Stephens (Hadley+Maxwell) examine the relation of politics to aesthetics. For their project, I Love You, they combined graphics from the Atelier Populaire, a French workshop who produced posters for the May ’68 riots, and text appropriated from Wings’ 1976 hit Silly Love Songs. The resulting works played image against word, testing the power and effect of the activist graphics against the clichéd pop lyrics. For Screen Test, their solo exhibition at the CAG, Hadley and Maxwell produced three new works that continue to build a tension between politics and aesthetics, reflecting on issues of taste and its historical construction. They have exhibited their collaborative work across Canada at the Kyber Center in Halifax, Artspeak and Western Front in Vancouver and have been included in group exhibitions at the Henry Art Gallery in Seattle and the Vancouver Art Gallery.

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Hadley+Maxwell - Deleted Scenes


In partnership with Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE) the CAG mounted When Hangover Becomes Form, an installation by Rachel Harrison and Scott Lyall curated by New Orleans-based art critic and historian Daniel Adler. The collaboratively conceived installation included an array of found objects, appropriated texts, photographs, drawings and handcraft sculptural elements arranged with a non-hierarchical composition. The collection of objects, images and texts contained no narrative connections that are fixed or fully revealed. With no obvious focus to the work, viewers were discouraged from using an isolated portion of the composition as an interpretive key to the work, and were encouraged to approach the installation as a speculative and intuitive encounter that revealed multiple semantic layers. Harrison and Lyall developed their practices within a parallel dialogue, but this was their first material collaboration. Harrison has exhibited at the 2003 Whitney Biennial and had major solo exhibitions at the Milwaukee Art Museum, Bergen Kunsthall in Bergen, Norway and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Lyall has exhibited nationally and internationally at Susan Hobbs Gallery in Toronto, Greene Naftali Gallery in New York and KunstWerke in Berlin, with his first major solo exhibition in Canada at the Art Gallery of North York, 2002.

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Rachel Harrison and Scott Lyall - When Hangover Becomes Form


Myfanwy MacLeod’s work is trademarked by her wry sense of humour, and her layered referencing of consumer and popular culture. Using the language of cartoon-style drawings and sculpture, MacLeod brings together a blend of art historical references and a humorous take on the self-absorbed and entertainment-saturated culture in which we live. For Where I Have Lived and What I Have Lived For, Macleod drew inspiration once again from the world of popular culture, this time beginning with Scottish folklore. At Glenfiddich artist residency programme in Duff Towns, Scotland (summer 2005), Myfanwy produced a series of photographs of the interiors of derelict houses in and around the Glenfiddich Distillery. These photographs, which investigate the idea of the supernatural, start the artist’s exploration of vernacular representations of the otherworldly.

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Myfanwy MacLeod - Where I Lived, and What I Lived


To Be Sorted: Blank/Circle to Square/Organizing Principle was a series of three consecutive vitrine displays with objects from the collection of Micah Lexier, with each display accompanied by one of the artist’s works. Lexier, a Canadian artist based in New York, has developed his practice out of a reconsideration of the quasi-documentary strategies of early conceptual art, retooled to accommodate his concerns with time, identity and difference. Lexier has a sustained interest in the ephemeral products of conceptually based practices and over the years has amassed an extensive collection of such materials, along with thousands of anonymous products that share similar graphic and aesthetic qualities. Three separate groupings of material from this collection were selected, each group was accompanied by one work by the artist, obliquely demonstrating their reciprocal qualities.

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Micah Lexier - To Be Sorted : Organizing Principle


Andrew Reyes is an artist who lives and works in Toronto. He was included in the show News From Nowhere, curated by Derek Sullivan at the Susan Hobbs Gallery in June 2005 and included in the inaugural show at Diaz Contemporary in September 2005, Toronto. For display in the CAG’s street front windows, Andrew Reyes produced 120 photographic posters. In general, Reyes’ photographic work plays with the aesthetics of advertising, using visual effects to enhance or clean up otherwise mundane or dreary scenes. His series Day Place/Spray Palace (2002) is composed of nondescript generic images from his work place. With a few simple gestures, the careful addition of a couple of flares and sparkles, and by saturating the image with colours, Reyes transforms his ordinary work place into an ideal setting.

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Andrew Reyes - Posters


Kamloops based artist Donald Lawrence’s ambitious process based sculptural and photographic works often combine the creation of elaborate, antiquated methods of outdoor exploration in combination with methods to document the ongoing processes the sculptures incite. He had made a canoe that doubles as a darkroom and a sled that converts into a survival tent/hut. Lawrence is fascinated with turn of the century technologies of exploration and survival, and joins his research into these often nostalgic histories with an active re-mapping of their present day potentials. For the Contemporary Art Gallery, Lawrence proposed a large scale installation based on a number of old iron clad ship’s boilers that sit on beaches on the west and east coasts of Canada. Functioning at the cusp between valuable antique and disintegrating flotsam, the boilers provided Lawrence with a trope to examine distinctions between treasure and garbage, memory and lost history.

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Donald Lawrence - Torhamvan/Ferryland


To Be Sorted: Blank/Circle to Square/Organizing Principle was a series of three consecutive vitrine displays with objects from the collection of Micah Lexier, with each display accompanied by one of the artist’s works. Lexier, a Canadian artist based in New York, has developed his practice out of a reconsideration of the quasi-documentary strategies of early conceptual art, retooled to accommodate his concerns with time, identity and difference. Lexier has a sustained interest in the ephemeral products of conceptually based practices and over the years has amassed an extensive collection of such materials, along with thousands of anonymous products that share similar graphic and aesthetic qualities. Three separate groupings of material from this collection were selected, each group was accompanied by one work by the artist, obliquely demonstrating their reciprocal qualities.

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Micah Lexier - To Be Sorted: Circle to Square


Clement Greenberg described collage as “a major turning point in the evolution of Cubism, and therefore a major turning point in the whole evolution of modernist art in this century.” Bit by Bit incorporated the work of emerging artists who continue to explore this material practice. All the artists in the exhibition apply conventional notions of collage, physically collecting, combining, cutting away, covering up and layering found images and commonplace materials – one piece at a time – to create new images and thus to construct new meanings. Whether the artists are boldly forming an aesthetic moment or overtly putting forward a political agenda, each element within the overall collage is considered a separate piece of information that combines with other pieces to generate something whole, and it is this tenuous and apparent relation between the pieces and the whole that gives this material practice its potency and continued relevance. As part of Bit by Bit, the CAG  published a special issue of I Got Killed I Got Killed I Got Killed in World War Three.

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Bit by Bit


To Be Sorted: Blank/Circle to Square/Organizing Principle was a series of three consecutive vitrine displays with objects from the collection of Micah Lexier, with each display accompanied by one of the artist’s works. Lexier, a Canadian artist based in New York, has developed his practice out of a reconsideration of the quasi-documentary strategies of early conceptual art, retooled to accommodate his concerns with time, identity and difference. Lexier has a sustained interest in the ephemeral products of conceptually based practices and over the years has amassed an extensive collection of such materials, along with thousands of anonymous products that share similar graphic and aesthetic qualities. Three separate groupings of material from this collection were selected, each group was accompanied by one work by the artist, obliquely demonstrating their reciprocal qualities.

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Micah Lexier - To Be Sorted: Blank


Ceal Floyer’s art practice has developed out of a playful approach to the tenets of minimalist sculpture. Using familiar objects and common figures of speech, she upends conventional meanings, creating works that are both elegant and absurd. Her small gestures, reductive reasoning and literalist approach to materials yield works that exploit the sometimes surprising outcomes of a perfectly logical process. This exhibition included new works created especially for the CAG.

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Ceal Floyer


Daniel Olson uses performance as a means to ignite his material production. The Montreal-based artist transforms existing objects with somewhat discrete interventions, at times enhancing or exaggerating their use value. For example, he adds a bell to a wooden walking stick, which can be rung with the simple flick of the thumb; he adheres a magnifying glass to a music box, exposing its inner workings; or melds a fan to a music-maker so both operate simultaneously. For Twenty Minutes’ Sleep the artist revisited earlier installations where he combined objects, sound, video, photographs and performance, to create an office space that sets the stage for a shifting cast of characters.

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Daniel Olson - Twenty Minutes Sleep


Vancouver-based curator Seamus Kealy organized an exhibition of Vienna-based artists through the University of British Columbia in collaboration with the CAG. This project offered an international exchange and collaboration and was aimed to involve and address younger artists. With this exhibition we aimed to create a dialogue between two seemingly disparate art communities of Vancouver and Vienna. Unterspiel brought together work that challenged prevailing limitations of contemporary art and as such, considered the function of the museum and other cultural institutions, and the ephemerality of the avant-garde and then the historicization of such activities. The exhibition considered Austria’s complex and often contradictory art traditions, many young Vienna-based artists continue to tackle notions of identity and cultural difference, and challenge institutional and social structures perpetuating class-confirming policies.  Participating artists included Patrick Baumueller, Severin Hofman, Marlene Haring, Hans Schabus, Catrin Bolt and the collective Monochrom.

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Unterspiel


As the Hammer Strikes is a groundbreaking video installation. Originally produced in 1982 in 16mm film, this complex triptych details a real time conversation between the artist and a hitchhiker he picked up in Southern Ontario. For the exhibition at the CAG, John Massey used three screens to convey the minutiae of communication, visually portraying misunderstandings and thought processes. Toronto artist John Massey has been working for over 25 years, having gained a national and international reputation in the early 1980s. Through a wide variety of media, including photography, film and sculpture, Massey’s work often plays with the ambiguity between reality and fiction. His work has been widely exhibited, with shows in Germany, the United States, the UK, France, Australia, as well as in Canada; and is held in many collections including the Art Gallery of Ontario; the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Fonds National d’Art Contemporain, Paris; and the Ydessa Hendeles Art Foundation, Toronto. John Massey received the 2001 Gershon Iskowitz Award for lifetime achievement. He currently teaches in the Visual Studies Programme at the University of Toronto.

Curator: Jenifer Papararo

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John Massey - As the Hammer Strikes


Daniel Barrow is an illustrator and storyteller. Barrow has developed a signature animation technique that applies antiquated methods using an overhead projector. Through live performances, he animates a narrative sequence of charismatic illustrations. For Don’t Let This Happen, his first solo exhibition in Vancouver, Barrow harmoniously joined a variety of media, devising a self-sufficient means of animation using an overhead projector, a fan, some water and plastic beads in combination with his illustrations and video work. As part of his exhibition at the CAG, Barrows performed Every Time I See Your Picture I Cry, a story set in Las Vegas based on the life experiences of Scott Thorson, Liberace’s young boyfriend. Daniel Barrow is a Winnipeg-based media artist working in performance, video and installation. He has exhibited widely in Canada and abroad. He creates and adopts comic book narratives into a “manual” form of animation by projecting, layering and manipulating drawings. Barrow refers to this practice as “graphic performance, live illustration, or manual animation.”

Curator: Jenifer Papararo

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Daniel Barrow - Don’t Let This Happen


Damian Moppett’s practice questions notions of mastery. For his exhibition at the CAG, Moppet brought together three distinct crafts: drawing, ceramics and music. He is interested in the idea of learning a craft, but wants to avoid the exterior and traditional criteria with which proficiency or mastery is judged. He spent six months learning how to throw clay pots working up from a simple hollow container to a more complex tea pot. His drawings reference vernacular and illustrative styles. He uses them as a form of documentation of his art practice and as a means to literally represent his cultural influences. He incorporated music into the exhibition through a series of four videos that highlighted all the technical skills needed to set up a rock band. The music becomes secondary to the material need to make music. Within each medium he presents a modest level of skill and attempts to avoid the creation of a spectacle in part by privileging the process over the finished object and by avoiding, to a certain degree, the tropes of each medium.

- Jenifer Papararo

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Damian Moppett - The Visible Work


The Spiders are comprised of Vancouver artist Damian Moppett and Toronto artist Zin Taylor. A collaborative outfit, The Spiders have adopted the sub-cultural administration of fashion in order to operate and produce work. For this exhibition, the street-front windows of the CAG contained a variety of ephemera (posters, buttons, stickers, displays, recordings) documenting The Spiders output over the last couple of years. For this special occasion, a limited edition necklace reading “The Spiders” was made from bent silver wire in a spider-like font and was available for purchase at the time of the exhibition.

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Damian Moppett & Zin Taylor - The Spiders


The Contemporary Art Gallery presented the North American debut of For Example: Dix-Huit Leçons sur la Société Industrielle, a new body of work by internationally respected Los Angeles artist Christopher Williams. Williams is strongly associated with a group of Vancouver artists known for the development of Photo Conceptualism. Like them, his approach comes out of the history of conceptual art of the 1960s and 70s, which used language and photography to address issues related to painting and sculpture.  Williams has self-consciously adopted the production values of fine art or “straight” photography into a practice that explores sculptural ideas using photography and installation.

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Christopher Williams - For Example: Dix-Huit Leçons sur la Société Industrielle


This exhibition at the Contemporary Art Gallery assembled a wide spectrum of Shearer’s recent work with the aim of profiling its many convergent strains. The centerpiece for the show was a recent sculptural installation in the form of a steel garden shed inside of which a guitar P/A system played a heavy metal guitar solo specially commissioned by Shearer. The ‘music’ was amplified and distorted by the metal of the shed, creating a keening shrine to angry, cloistered youth.

Vancouver based artist Steven Shearer  works in a broad range of disciplines including painting and collage, and continues to investigate the vernacular aesthetics of the 1970s as a site for looking at the emancipatory energies and sometimes revolutionary potential of teens and youth. He has assembled a growing archive of photographs, mostly downloaded from the web, of amateur record and tape collections, guitars and other totems of youthful rebellion and identification. He has also produced a number of works anthologizing images of ‘70s teen pop idols like Shawn Cassidy, whose androgynous sexuality and rapid climb into and then out of the heights of teen fandom is used for its autobiographical metaphors.

Exhibition text:

Steven Shearer is a collector of content, which he gathers in the form of images and lists. His accumulation and selection is derived from a researched interest in popular modes of representation that is specific to forms that have not yet established themselves or conformed to a set of established conventions. Within his collection there is often a subject matter that reflects a certain time period, and acts as social commentary, which at times Shearer defines through a personal history. But the overarching commonality running through his collection lies in formal concerns, in the manner, form or context in which a subject is represented.

Shearer has compiled an assortment of images from early teen magazines, at a time when the emerging genre was still experimenting with ways to represent its subject matter. The marketing power of a single image was not fully realized. Instead these fan magazines presented more of a scrap book approach that incorporated a large portion of non-professional and non-staged photographs. In the early days of fan magazines when their numbers were limited, they published a seemingly endless number of images, creating icons through sheer quantity with almost blatant disregard for the quality of the image or its layout on the page. Using this abundant resource of material, Shearer looks for particularities, selecting like images through similarities in poses, action or framing devices, reconfiguring them into groupings in order to find new ways of seeing and reading the imagery.

In Kaleidoscope (2001), one of Shearer’s early and now signature collage works, he compiles predominantly frontal shots of the 70s heart throb Leif Garret into a large and tight grid-like pattern without cropping or altering them; an approach he repeats in a number of works in this exhibition. Shearer reformats these images of a common subject matter into a monumental scale, a single field of hundreds of found images. Even though Shearer rarely alters the images, the overall collage creates a highly mannered effect that looks like it has a rigid structure imposed on to it: each four-sided image is framed by an almost symmetrical white border. Shearer does not want to deny the content of the individual images and tries to maintain the integrity of the original source material, while also considering the composition of the reconfiguration as a whole. It is a matter of proximity. From a distance the work appears as a color field, even the harshness of the negative spaces softens, melding the individual images instead of dividing them.

Shearer pushes this play with distances in List (2004), a large scale print of thousands of extreme underground black/death metal recordings sourced from tape trader lists. From a distance the columns of titles, band names and tape descriptions have a formal quality reminiscent of large scale abstract paintings. It is not until you stand directly in front of the work that the pattern breaks into columns, and then lines, and then words. Shearer uses a painterly approach, giving information a physical presence and even though the text is discernable at a certain vantage point the amount of information in its sheer volume is almost indigestible in anything other than its formal representation.

Part of Shearer’s collection is dedicated to images of handicrafts originally published in craft specific magazines from the late sixties and early seventies. With the craft imagery in particular, Shearer takes the most liberties, removing them from their background and adjusting their shape and size. He then reproduces them as silk-screen prints, reanimating them using a craft based technique and giving them a renewed context. Countless hours were spent making these beloved and be-laboured crafts, but when it came to their representation, like the countless images of teen idols, there was a carelessness; the work was usually self-photographed under poor conditions, and badly reproduced.

Slumber is the latest piece in Shearer’s large format collages. It breaks in content from his earlier works, moving away from youth and music cultural references to a less self referential subject matter and a direct pointing to the history of portraiture. For Slumber, he has culled images from the web, compiling photos of people sleeping. Shearer is specific about his sleepers. All of them are captured photographically sleeping, but usually not in bed or lying down. They are all caught in unlikely and often comical and mannered positions, half-sitting in chairs, slumped over tables or propped against walls with contorted bodies, twisted necks, and gaping mouths. He then combines these multiple images into a rigid structure that in a way conflicts with the subject matter, arranging them into a loose grid and finding a way to display the images in a painterly manner. For Shearer, the self-published images that he finds on the web are reminiscent of the amateurish and haphazard reproductions of early fan and craft magazines.

Sheds — the typical aluminum tool sheds found in almost every suburban back yard — are also a worthy subject matter for Shearer’s collection. Using his signature method of collage, he creates a grid of nondescript backyard sheds. Within this assembly of like images, he inserts a single image of a longhaired teenager playing a guitar. Adding this one inconsistency gives the shed new meaning. It now has the potential to become the practice ground for the guitar playing youth, a fertile ground for creativity and a place of freedom. For his exhibition at the Contemporary Art Gallery, Shearer brought this possibility into the gallery by assembling a “performance space” from prefabricated panels for such sheds. For the majority of the exhibition the shed sat closed with only slivers of light escaping from its cracks. On one occasion only, the sculpture became active via prerecorded death metal riffs specifically constructed to blare from within the closed aluminum walls causing the shed to vibrate and shudder in response to the different notes.

As much as Shearer is constantly looking for content he is also looking for innovative modes of display. He often returns to traditional forms of representation in order to recontextualize his collections. For Dirtyface (2003-4), Shearer unites seven images from his collection of teen idols in a series of seven silver point drawings. The old school technique creates a weird rift in time, converting the familiar 70s pop stars into 19th century street characters: from Adam Rich look-a-like (the youngest sibling from the television series “Eight is Enough”) to chimney sweep. In a similar manner, Longhairs, a series of crayon drawings, depicts five longhaired men, all shirtless. The medium and Shearer’s particular choice of characters transforms the contemporary low resolution jpegs to echo models of historical portraiture. He also reworks select images on canvas, moving deftly between painting, silkscreen and collage. The use of traditional mediums and the meditative focus of these hand made images contrast and compliment the glacial accumulations of printed images in Shearer’s archive.

There is something so optimistic and obsessive about all the subjects he chooses to collect, something that is reflected in his own act of collecting, and extended to the manner in which he presents his archive. How to give these things, his collection of images and text, a physical form or body? In their origin the items in his collection were neglectfully presented and reproduced, and in acquiring these images he can take the role of their caretaker, attempting to create a new context and aesthetic form in which to represent them or by using them as source material for traditional forms of image making.

- Reid Shier

 

 

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Steven Shearer


Alex Morrison’s practice spans a variety of media in work that examines the relationships between urban and domestic space, memory, and the struggle for subjective identity. His new work, Free Room, translated these themes into a three-channel DVD work based, in part, on Lindsay Anderson’s cult classic film, If, of 1968. Freely interpolating from the film’s depiction of the claustrophobic relationship between alienated youths, Free Room was set in a single room where the characters discuss, joke and plot, about sex, politics and death – the elements of a projected free life. Using images clipped from a variety of magazines, the three characters mapped out a set of identifications and the means to deflate them; they appropriated images in order to domesticate their rhetorical force. The work illustrated this transitional point of experience, a plane of action that is divorced from both the compliance of childhood and the complex morality of independent choice.

Accompanying Free Room in the exhibition at the Contemporary Art Gallery, was a selection of silkscreen posters and drawings, together called Gesucht! (Wanted!). Similar in theme to *not the actual apartment (2001), these works dealt with idealized architectural space as lifestyle.

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Alex Morrison - Free Room


Marina Roy is a Vancouver based artist and writer whose works combine interests in historical book illustration with psychoanalytic theory and word play. Past works include a series of illustrations the artist crafted on the fore-edges of books, which illustrate the books’ titles while making overt sexual puns about their subject matter.

For her exhibition at the Contemporary Art Gallery, Roy presented an ambitious series of new paintings using glass and mirrors. In these works, abstract ‘blobs’ of paint are poured onto sheet glass; Roy then created representational paintings inspired by 18th and 19th-century illustrational styles on the reverse side of the painted glass. Arranging a mirror behind the glass, the illustration can be glimpsed hovering behind the monochromatic blob. Parallels with Rorschach tests bring to mind and literalize the often sexual nature of suggestion.

Several of the images in the paintings have been used in the accompanying video animation. Using kinetic devices such as bodily emissions or expanding clouds, the relationships between background and foreground are blurred or trade places, operating in much the same way as they do in the mirror painting structures. All of the images are figurative and make reference to landscape traditions, exploiting our abiding interest in nature and human nature.

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Marina Roy


An optimistic dependency lies at the core of collaborative art production. There is value in using each other – borrowing someone else’s ideas, co-opting an aesthetic, applying an existing formula, utilizing another’s tools – that generates a confident interdependence and creates a complicit generosity that is not so much about giving over one’s ego as it is about defining it within a shared social context. Each of the projects for Social Transmission was built from an undefined assemblage of adaptations, reconstitutions, incorporations and re-enactments. The four members of Revolutions on Request presented an aesthetic ideal, a discussion and idea of art making which was represented by a diverse collection of products and mediums that, when presented together, coalesce into an overall design. In a similar manner, Massimo Guererra used and offered his material production as a language to form social interaction. His objects and installations simultaneously carried the residue of and the potential for building relations. assume vivid astro focus is a name to be used, an erratic collective, an individual, a space for exchange. It is or they are constantly incorporating the work of others and amassing a mix of references, from pop psychedelic to Aubrey Bearsdley, in the name of sharing. In all three projects, usage became a viable means to produce work, giving way to a material accumulation, an aesthetic gathering that idealistically transmits the social.

 

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Together Forever


Jerry Pethick (born London ON 1935, died Hornby Island BC, 2003) was an artist whose work probed the historical and conceptual cross-pollination of ideas about the nature of visual experience with scientific and technological inquiry into optics. He was a pioneer in the field of holography and much of his early work took the form of optical-sculptural bricolage. Since the early 1970s his work often took the form of quasi-sculptural “arrays” – compositions of serial photographs and Fresnel lenses that generated ethereal three-dimensional images. Such arrays were often accompanied by sculptural elements that served to extend the “virtual” aspect of the images into the “real” space of the viewer.

Pethick was a tireless researcher into the early history of photographic imaging technologies. (His notebooks and essays make mention of Edison, principally his efforts to claim the invention of the motion picture camera for himself, though he liberally adopted the work of many others.) On the basis of these writings, one might speculate that Pethick’s arrays were inspired by the ganged cameras developed by Auguste Le Prince, Eduard Muybridge and Jules-Etienne Maray. One of Pethick’s earliest arrays is featured in this installation.

 

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Jerry Pethick - Typology of Space


In this, her first solo exhibition in North America, Kirsten Pieroth showed a series of works dealing with various interpretations of the term “inventing.” The artist researched facts and fables on the life of American inventor Thomas Alva Edison, who still holds the record for the most patents registered. Through these works the myth of his productivity and creativity gets transferred into general questions about artistic production.

I regret that a previous engagement prevents me from accepting your kind invitation to dinner at your home, on Thursday evening, September seventeenth, is a sentence taken from a letter written by inventor Charles Edison. Pieroth’s interest in, and subsequent research into the life of Edison led to the discovery the inventor often made excuses to avoid attending social functions. Pieroth then wrote to the American Patent Office requesting a patent on behalf of Edison for the invention of the “excuse.” This and other letters to Edison scholars formed the basis of the exhibition. A number of sculptural elements derived from photographs about or of Edison extended this exhaustive body of research tangentially to question the authenticity and subjectivity of historical records.

 

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Kirsten Pieroth - I don’t know if Thomas Edison invented the excuse.


This exhibition proposed a look beyond obvious differences to examine commonalities of intention, technique, and effect in the distinct work of two artists. Vancouver artist Neil Campbell’s abstract, quasi-geometric paintings are scaled to the human body, and despite their apparent flatness, are performative in nature. They exact a calculated effect on viewer’s bodies and senses. Far from ‘abstract’, the experience is both physical and spiritual.

Beau Dick is a Kwakwaka’wakw chief, one of the most accomplished and talented traditional carvers and artists on the West Coast. Actively engaged in all aspects of Kwakwaka’wakw culture, he is highly regarded as a teacher and mentor. Dick has concentrated on studying and revivifying the traditions of carving, dance and storytelling, and this exhibition presented several of Dick’s masks in the admittedly compromised and alienated context of the Contemporary Art Gallery, far from their purpose integrated into rituals of dance and Potlatches. Dick mitigated these circumstances by preparing a dance for the exhibition opening.

The work of both Campbell and Dick share a basis in bold graphic design and theatrical effect. Supernatural shed light on these parallels while questioning the aesthetic apartheid which separates the conditions under which similar artworks have been (and continue to be) displayed, with the aim of producing a serious dialogue on the relationship between artistic cultures and traditions.

 

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Neil Campbell & Beau Dick - Supernatural


Nestor Kruger’s meticulously rendered monochromatic wall paintings have, over the past three years, explored the nature of optics and the specifics of place. Kruger is interested in overlapping architectural contexts, and in one project painted a progressively generating series of interiors of a gallery in Montreal onto the walls of a gallery in Halifax, and then in relay, a further series of paintings of the Halifax gallery in the gallery in Montreal. This ‘dialogue’ continued back and forth, twinning and altering perceptions of both sites. Kruger’s work at the Contemporary Art Gallery continued in this vein, and elaborated the gallery’s architectural surround as a template and support for an ambitious series of reflexive paintings.

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Nestor Kruger - Untitled (Room)


Luanne Martineau joins interests in early twentieth century social realism with midcentury modernism to produce works that speak to ongoing biases and entrenched exclusions. She uses turn of the century comic books for their racist depictions of a North American immigrant polyglot as sources for elaborate drawings. Martineau copies select bits from these comic books on tracing paper, building up large palimpsests of marks whose aggregate quality is abstract, but which on close inspection reveals traces of illustrative realism, exaggerated stereotypes and received prejudices. In her exhibition at the Contemporary Art Gallery, Martineau planned a suite of drawings accompanied by a large sculptural installation. Working with outdated manufacturing technologies for fabricating textiles – such as flocking and felting, and employing an antiquated knitting machine, Martineau has recently been crafting a series of large, soft sculptures that play base, comic referents off of high modernist ideals.

 

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Luanne Martineau - Bed Sitter


In Catalogue, Terada occupies and exaggerates the means by which an institution such as the Contemporary Art Gallery exists by making private patronage the content of an artwork. In the artist’s words: “Public institutions devoted to contemporary visual art maintain themselves through public and private philanthropy—granting organizations, members of the gallery, volunteers, and other donors being but a few—which necessitate relationships that are in need of renewal and upkeep. With the support of a number of contributors, I wish to expose and alter the mandate of such an institution—and the mechanisms by which it realizes this mandate—within the context of an exhibition.” To realize this goal, Terada sought the participation of patrons to support and facilitate the cost of producing an artist’s catalogue.

The exhibition had two distinct public components, the first mounted within the Contemporary Art Gallery’s Alvin Balkind Gallery and its street front window vitrines. Here, vinyl signage acknowledges the support of those who contributed to the project. The names and company logos, as a result, comprise the visual component, the “art” as it were, of the gallery’s display.

The second component is the accompanying exhibition publication, which was  for sale at the gallery’s reception desk. Rather than assume a supplementary, explanatory or documentary role to work displayed in the gallery, the production of this catalogue is an artwork. The catalogue looks and functions like any other publication would within the typical frame of an exhibition, but by highlighting patronage of the exhibition it hopes to expose and exploit the conventions such promotional and explanatory vehicles rely upon in their efforts to contextualize and legitimize artist’s work. Despite appearances to the contrary, then, Terada intends to cast suspicion on the catalogue (and with it himself and the gallery), and in doing so raise questions about the objectivity and truth value such publications engender and maintain.

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Ron Terada - Catalogue


Pascal Grandmaison is a Montréal artist whose video projections and photographs combine interests in conceptualism with commercial trends in rock video and advertising. The video Solo (2003) features slow panning, tight close-ups on musicians playing instruments. The fluid pace is at odds with the frenetic and hyperkinetic tradition built by promotional mediums like MTV and allows for a stripped down, anti-heroic view. Manner (2003) is a suite of large scale photographs depicting drum skins, their beaten surfaces showing evidence of the violence of their use. A selection of these photographs was featured alongside Running (2003), a DVD video projection showing a person’s leg and foot upside down. The running shoe on the foot moves to a slow, rhythmic beat, jumping imperceptibly from the pressure of the blood pumping through the leg. With these two works, Grandmaison’s articulation of physical activity takes the form of nuanced documents of its effects and aftermath.

Pascal Grandmaison combines interests in conceptualism with commercial trends in rock video and advertising. His recent works use large scale photography and video installation as mediums and often feature series of related images. A sense of process and the suggestion of a slow elapse of time runs through the artist’s works, and their meticulous attention to detail supports a strong, contemplative mood.

Running (2003) and Manner (2003), the works that were on display at the Contemporary Art Gallery, transcribe the effects of durational activity. In Manner, drum skins exhibit the abuse of hours of service, while the video Running shows a foot, its rhythmic motion imperceptibly hinting at past activity. Here, Grandmaison’s articulation of physical activity takes the form of nuanced documents of its aftermath. The artist often employs a dialogue with cinematic production. The extreme size of his photographs monumentalizes everyday subjects, while his videos utilize close-up framing and languid pacing to cut against the hyper-kinetic traditions employed by contemporary media.

Was the person whose foot we see in Running just ‘running,’ so that the blood pumping through their leg, and making the trainer beat, a sign of it? While an answer to this question might be possible, it may be more accurate to approach the video, and Grandmaison’s other works, as documents of the time and space often edited out of much contemporary representation.

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Pascal Grandmaison


Dan Graham is one of the most important contemporary visual artists practicing today. His work over the past four decades is widely recognized for its lead in the advent of conceptualism as an art movement. His work was also instrumental in the development of Vancouver based photo-conceptualism, and his long involvement and friendship with a number of locally based artists has been of enormous influence.

While his work is featured in collections around the city, Graham has, surprisingly, never been afforded a solo show in Vancouver. This was the first opportunity to assemble a group of the artist’s works here, and featured an important early film work, Body Press (1970-72). Body Press shows two naked performers—one male, one female—each holding a 16 mm film camera and standing inside a mirrored cylindrical room. The performers rotate the cameras around their own bodies in a spiral motion, all the while pressing the cameras against their own flesh. The two films are shown projected on opposite walls of the gallery, and impart a hallucinatory transcription of a ‘dance’ between actor, camera, mirror and viewer. Other works in the exhibition were drawn from collections here in the city and featured an early artist proof of Homes for America, Graham’s powerful invocation of parallels between suburban tract housing estates and serialized, modernist design first published in Arts Magazine in 1966.

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Dan Graham


In celebration of its 30th Anniversary, the Contemporary Art Gallery presented an exhibition and project honoring its early years. On February 23, 1973, the Artists’ Gallery opened its doors at 555 Hamilton Street. Later to be renamed the Contemporary Art Gallery, the Artists’ Gallery was initiated by an arts advisory committee under the umbrella of the City of Vancouver. Central to its early mandate and philosophy was the promotion and creation of local visual arts.

During this time the City of Vancouver began a program, with assistance from the Federal Local Initiatives Program (LIP) to purchase works by local artists. In support of this ambitious project, the Artists’ Gallery was conceived as both a depository and exhibition space. The Contemporary Art Gallery continues to act as custodian for over 3000 collected works, many dating from the early to mid 1970s when the bulk of the collection was assembled.

The history of this important collection of art, of the Artists’ Gallery, and of the early years of the community that shaped what would become the Contemporary Art Gallery will be showcased this summer in an exhibition featuring works from the collection.

Project Organizers: Reid Shier and Shawn Preuss

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L.I.P. Service, CAG 30th Aniversary: The Collection 1973-1983


Scott McFarland is a photographer whose images are highlighted by meticulous staging and high-production values. McFarland documents a discrete range of subjects in ongoing suites, and his close attention to the minutia of his subjects allows for an empathetic yet critical viewpoint. The exhibition at the Contemporary Art Gallery concentrated on one of these projects: a large body of photographs documenting a rural cabin on the Sunshine Coast of BC. The series combines portraits of individuals with close familial ties to the cabin, an exterior shot of the cabin at night and a number of interior details, including rich and uncanny depictions of the cabin’s accretion of furnishings.

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Scott McFarland - Coastal Cabin


The work of Jemima Stehli explores issues relating to the performative self and identity in photography. Using the studio as the site of production and part of the central image, Stehli positions her own nude body as the subject and object simultaneously. The creative process the artist privately undertakes in her studio is revealed and suggests the intricate systems at play in making herself over into the object. She employs a complex strategy that introduces ambiguity in an attempt to affirm her own identity as a female artist and as a subject in the contemporary context. The exhibition at the Contemporary Art Gallery presented new work by Jemima Stehli that continue her use of the performative process of image making to investigate notions of female subjectivity. At once highly constructed and random, Stehli makes use of various stagings to offer important questions about the degree of control she has over her own image. Stehli’s images are somewhere between performance and object, still-life and action painting.

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Jemima Stehli - mm/Studio


Toronto artist James Carl likes to mix things up – to confound references and test limits and then step back and watch things get funny. He combines a precise examination of the lexicon of sculpture with an abiding interest in the artifacts of public social life, filtered through the ubiquitous technologies and materials of contemporary industrialism. Plot, the installation that he prepared for the Contemporary Art Gallery, could be a story, a secret conspiracy, or a piece of real estate. Or perhaps the title refers to the activity of plotting the coordinates of the digital renderings that adorn various surfaces of artworks as well as the gallery and its exterior. Combining sculpture with graphic work, Plot demonstrates Carl’s contrary approach to traditional artistic methods and materials, and the ways these things are both conditioned and altered by expectation and use.

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James Carl - PLOT


Lucy Pullen’s work is marked by its conceptual curiosity and disparate, wide-ranging form. Her work has developed from an interest in performative and collaborative practices, and often takes the form of documents or remnants of staged actions. A video produced in collaboration with Sandy Plotnikoff, for example, documents a 1997 sculptural performance in which the two overturned pails full of rubber balls onto a street in Halifax from the roof of a two story car park. Pullen’s meticulous double-line drawings which were showcased I this exhibition, are composed on metallic paper. From a distance, the intricate patterns of the drawings appear computer or machine-made, but on close inspection are seen to be laboriously rendered in free hand.

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Lucy Pullen - A Thousand Miles of Dust and Ashes


In Our Love is Like the Earth, the Sun, the Trees and the Birth Martin Boyce created an environment that formed a quiet, poetic sensibility. The title is taken from a verse of a song by the seminal 1980’s Manchester band New Order. Sculptures reminiscent of a modernist day bed are used in both exhibitions, as is a series of fluorescent light sculptures that evoke young tree-like saplings. Ventilation Grills for an Apartment Building (2002) is interspersed along the gallery walls, etched with words from a poem by John Donne. The stanza reads: “License my roving hands, and let them go, Before, behind, between, above, below”. The three suspended objects in In Dreams (2002), an Alexander Calder-like mobile, are from a cut up and reworked leg splint designed by Charles and Ray Eames for the US Navy in 1942.

 

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Martin Boyce - Our Love is Like the Earth, the Sun, the Trees and the Birth


Isabelle Pauwels is a Vancouver artist with an abiding concern about the effect of architecture on social relation. In collaboration with Vancouver’s Trapp Editions, the Contemporary Art Gallery published an artist’s bookwork by Pauwels. Unfinished Apartment for Rent details, in seven screenplays, the interaction between a series of fictitious apartment dwellers. Forced through financial constraints to assemble furniture from the walls of their individual accommodations, these renters sacrifice more and more privacy as they cannibalize their dwellings for creature comforts. Pauwel’s bookwork was displayed in an installation designed by the artist.

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Isabelle Pauwels - Unfurnished Apartment for Rent


Ian Skedd is an artist interested in the dynamics of light as they intersect with architectural space. For the Contemporary Art Gallery’s window vitrines, Skedd built large wooden enclosures, with lateral incisions at intervals that mimic window slats. The light from the gallery’s fluorescent fixtures illuminated and animated these structures. Skedd’s work explored distinctions between its appearance during evening hours, when light spilled from within the enclosures through the slats, and the more imposing structural qualities evident during the day; when it may appear as a hoarding around a building under construction.

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Ian Skedd - Wood Slat Screen


Satan, oscillate my metallic sonatas brought together a variety of works by artists whose creative methods “showed” violence, implicated danger or threatened retribution. Michelle Normoyle’s provocative and ongoing series of photographs documented the chaos of her child’s room after play. Peter Lojewski’s occupation as a licensed practical nurse provided subjects for a series of roughly drawn but eloquent paintings depicting hospital wards, others that invoked revenge fantasies against disparate cultural and historic figures. By expanding on these themes, the exhibition located aestheticizing depictions in acts of control, catharsis and elegy. As the palindrome title suggests, the exhibition drew parallels between depictions and suggestions of violence, and the impulses of mastery and aesthetic delight with which they often co-exist.

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Satan, oscillate my metallic sonatas


Hammertown was a touring exhibition that highlighted a young generation of Canadian artists, with a focus on West Coast practice, and on artists who had recently come to prominence. The artists all shared an interest in widely available commodities, cultural products and popular media, and often re-inscribed these materials with personal, politicized meanings. The exhibition‘s engagement with landscape was a touchstone for works that propose a dialogue with social histories and ideas of place.

Location: Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh, Scotland; Bluecoat Gallery, Liverpool, England (April/May, 2003)

October 5 – November 14, 2002

Catalogue with text by participating artists; co-published with The Fruitmarket Gallery, UK

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Hammertown


The Contemporary Art Gallery was pleased to announce the Canadian premiere of Vancouver based artist Stan Douglas’ film work Journey into Fear (2001). Douglas is one Canada’s most internationally acclaimed artists, and this marked his first exhibition in his home town since 1998.

Journey into Fear takes its name from two movies. The 1940 original features Orson Welles’ Mercury Players. A 1975 remake was one of the first motion pictures ever shot in Vancouver by a local crew. It starred Sam Waterston and Vincent Price in a shipbound suspense thriller. Douglas’ work is a DVD video installation that stages an antagonistic exchange between a woman and man in a cyclical, ever mutating loop, a formal device characteristic of Douglas’ recent practice. Set on a container ship en route to Vancouver, the work examines the 1970s as an historical moment of flux between internationalism and globalism, to which the ship acts as stage and metaphor. The DVD was accompanied by a suite of photographs of Vancouver set locations, including Douglas’ 16 foot long depiction of the south side of the 100 Block of West Hastings Street.

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Stan Douglas - Journey into Fear


Geoffrey Farmer’s installation The Blacking Factory was comprised of three interrelated works: a prop newspaper box, a sculptural installation in the form of a large truck trailer and a film work depicting a window of the Contemporary Art Gallery shattering from an explosive concussion. With these works Farmer utilized the technological expertise of the film industry to create analogies between increasingly sophisticated mechanics of display and the artifice behind the social production of meaning and value. The truck trailer was fabricated in mimicry of those used by movie production companies—an increasingly common sight on the streets of Vancouver—and alluded to the transportation of such necessities as props, lighting systems and costumes necessary to the creation of illusions. The film work rehearsed a set piece found in a wide spectrum of Hollywood films—from action-adventure to thriller—and utilized the unexpectedness of this violent genre staple within and about the gallery to prompt reflection about the context of our perception.

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Geoffrey Farmer - The Blacking Factory


Judy Radul’s performance works engage and investigate the nuances of public life, in particular the broad etiquette of social interaction. Radul installed a series of costumes based on her observation of Vancouver street fashions in the windows of the Contemporary Art Gallery. The project stemmed from Radul’s extensive research into the methods actors use to ‘get into character’ while preparing for a particular performance. Vancouver Costume synthesized the idea of the ‘theatrical rehearsal’ with the artist’s development of characters drawn from local observation. Accompanying the clothing arrayed in the gallery’s street front display was a video drawn from Radul’s voyeuristic public interrogation.

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Judy Radul - Vancouver Costume


Pae White made particular reference to the space-defining mobiles of Alexander Calder, and to the Vera designs for Marrimekko fabrics from the 1960’s, in order to exploit the history of biomorphic abstraction and its role in the transformation of “high art” concepts into “disposable” stylistic trends. Her colour and light-infused sculptures are often disposable, constructed of paper and string, while at other times her work might be realized in ephemeral forms, as magazine advertisements or shopping bags. This was the first exhibition of her work in Vancouver.

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Pae White - a grotto, some nightfish and a second city


Dream Home consisted of a suite of small paintings and a pair of constructed architectural models based on images and plans taken from Vancouver real estate advertisements. The models depict the interiors of two residences, one the largest, the other the smallest, which were on the market on a given day last year. Van Halm’s gouache paintings illustrated the exteriors of a number of other houses for recent sale.

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Renée Van Halm - Dream Home


Secular Practice was part of a multi-disciplinary; multiple venue project entitled Moving Ideas – Hoopoe Curatorial Presents an India-Canada Dialogue. Versions of this project have been presented in Toronto and Montréal. Participating organizations in Vancouver included Charles H. Scott Gallery, Western Front, Presentation House Gallery, Vancouver Art Gallery, The Roundhouse and others. The visual art component of the project focused on issue-based work that has emerged in India in recent years.

 

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Secular Practice: Recent Art from India


One of Canada’s most respected photo-based artists, Grauerholz’ recent series of Giclée prints were digitally output images of books damaged in a fire in the home of the artist several years ago. Reproduced in a large scale, the images had an eerie sculptural depth and vivid colour, which monumentalized and memorialized the destruction of a lifetime’s collection.

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Angela Grauerholz - Privation


Monumental in scale and civic ambition at its inception, the architectural installation of Le Corbusier’s at Firminy, an old French mining town, was never finished due to local industrial decline. In recent years it has suffered from political manipulation and physical neglect. The juxtaposition of historical importance against an aura of failed modernist utopianism was documented in this large-scale photographic series.

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Arni Haraldsson - Firminy


In both over-sized wall-drawings and miniature sculptures, Scottish-born, New York-based artist Jill Henderson’s funky bog creatures ooze through the seams of ordinary architectural space. Her installation in the gallery’s street level windows, Highwideshallow, both described the physical dimensions of the windows and repopulated the neighborhood with her colorful homunculi.

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Jill Henderson - Highwideshallow


The eight artists who participated in Promises all made work that seemed to be somewhere in between one thing and another, presenting a potential of continually becoming something else. Chris Hanson and Hendrika Sonnenberg’s Fruit Bowls resided somewhere between sculpture and photography, while Joe Scanlan’s work, Coffer, was both a practical, functional object and the realization of more formally motivated ideas. Daniel Olson’s short performances collected in Philosophical Moments punctured the film noir ambience of the video with a kind of quizzical prankishness that underscored the provisional nature of expectations, and experience. The promise of these works was in their potential for just such unexpected outcomes.

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Promises


Brian Jungen transforms everyday commodities into convincing sculptural objects, often with references to First Nations art and culture. At the CAG, Jungen created two new works: One recast the lowly and ubiquitous shipping palette in precious and symbol-rich polished red cedar. Jungen also erected a construction hoarding outside the gallery, with cut-outs looking out to the city skyline and toward the city’s rapid re-development.

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Brian Jungen


In collaboration with the Charles H. Scott Gallery, CAG presented an exhibition of Cai Guo-Qiang, one of China’s most internationally recognized artists. His works insert traditional Chinese ideas and materials into contemporary Western idioms, contrasting the values of these disparate cultural systems. His work for the CAG began with a four-day performance in Vancouver’s Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Garden, an authentic full-scale classical Chinese garden. Fog machines were installed in this garden, creating a misty landscape that was painted on site by four traditional ink-brush painters. The paintings were displayed subsequently in the Binning Gallery, alongside an additional work created collaboratively by all five artists.

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Cai Guo Qiang - Performing Chinese Ink Painting


The work of Germaine Koh marries conceptual strategies with mundane everyday motifs and actions. For her first solo exhibition in Vancouver she produced two works. Prayers [2000], translated keyboard strokes from the CAG’s office computers into smoke signals outside the gallery. … [2000] rained thousands of ball bearings onto the floor of the Balkind Gallery from tracks slung across its ceiling.

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Germaine Koh


This was one of the exhibitions featured at the opening of the CAG in its new facility at 555 Nelson Street. Vancouver artist Ken Lum is internationally recognized for his photo/text reworking of contemporary advertising and signage. His new work for the CAG simulated outdoor signs for ‘Mom & Pop’ businesses such as restaurants and muffler shops, combining stereotypical advertising language with personal, political and socially charged declarations.

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Ken Lum


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.

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Ed Pien - Beyond Here


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.

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Visual Stimulants


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.

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An-Te Liu - Pathology


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.

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Documents & Lies


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.

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Kelly Mark


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.

 

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Liz Magor - Stores


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.

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Eleanor Bond - Quick aging pivoting city


The Contemporary Art Gallery presents the first solo exhibition in Canada of work by acclaimed German artist Jürgen Partenheimer. Reflecting the diversity of the artist’s practice, the exhibition comprises works on paper, text, printmaking, ceramics and sculpture, much of it produced in Vancouver in spring 2014 during his recent residency as the Audain Distinguished Artist-in-Residence, hosted by Emily Carr University of Art + Design .

 

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Exhibition Opening - Jürgen Partenheimer: The Archive – The Raven Diaries


Jürgen Partenheimer
Saturday, September 13, 4pm
Join the artist on a walk through tour of his exhibition.

Jürgen Partenheimer
The Archive – The Raven Diaries
September 12 to November 9, 2014

The Contemporary Art Gallery presents the first solo exhibition in Canada of work by acclaimed German artist Jürgen Partenheimer. Reflecting the diversity of the artist’s practice, the exhibition comprises works on paper, text, printmaking, ceramics and sculpture, much of it produced in Vancouver in spring 2014 during his recent residency as the Audain Distinguished Artist-in-Residence, hosted by Emily Carr University of Art + Design.

Partenheimer’s work is essentially abstract; his drawings and paintings, caught seemingly on the verge of dissolution, are remarkable for their fragile beauty, whilst sculpture and ceramic work, suggesting some usefulness, remain elusive with respect to any specific function. His artistic proposition is philosophical, encouraging us to challenge the distinction normally made between reality and imagination. Drawing is used as a means to suggest new pictorial space, linking our experience of place through mapping and gesture, through mark-making. His visual language, the particular form of poetic abstraction, creates a system of open, meditative boundaries. As such this conceptual approach, his life-long interest in notions of representation and his thoughtful, meticulous consideration of locality, space and place, suggest a key resonance with artistic practice in the city, asserting continuity between these forms and an experience of daily life.

- See more at: http://www.contemporaryartgallery.ca/exhibitions/jurgen-partenheimer-the-archive-the-raven-diaries/#sthash.q3xbRuZC.dpuf

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Jürgen Partenheimer - Artist talk and walk through


State of the Practice
Roundhouse Community Arts & Recreation Centre
Opening reception: Thursday, September 18, 5pm

The CAG is participating in an exhibition of the Vancouver Parks
Board Field House residents. Documentation of projects from
our artists-in-residence Raymond Boisjoly, Broken City Lab,
Marie Lorenz and Brendan Fernandes will be on display.

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State of the Practice - Field House Residencies Exhibition Opening


A guided visit of the exhibitions on display in French led by UBC Theatre Studies PhD student Lindsay Lachance.

 

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Guided Visit in French | Lindsay Lachance


Join us for free drop-in art making events for families. All ages are welcome!

Presented in collaboration with ArtStarts on Saturdays http://artstarts.com/free-weekend-workshops.

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Free Family Days at the Gallery


SFU Philosophers Café: Art Salons

In the spirit of social gatherings that provide forums for discussion, SFU Philosophers’ Café will run two art salons in collaboration with the Contemporary Art Gallery. Each café will start with a guided tour of current exhibitions with Director Nigel Prince, followed by a discussion with Shaun Dacey, Curator, Learning and Public Programs and special guests.

Jürgen Partenheimer: The Archive — The Raven Diaries
Saturday, September 27, 3–5pm

Gunilla Klingberg
Saturday, November 1, 3–5pm

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SFU Philosophers Café: Art Salons - Partenheimer + Klingberg


Jaclyn Bruneau

CAG Visitor Assistant, Jaclyn Bruneau leads a tour of current exhibitions.

 

 

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Guided Visit | Jaclyn Bruneau


Vancouver Electronic Ensemble
Alternative Energies
Monday, October 6, 7pm
In response to the exhibition by Jürgen Partenheimer, VEE
will create a special improvised performance as part of the
Vancouver New Music Festival. Players will be scattered across
the gallery rooms, as sound, light and colour flow throughout the
building creating an abstract sonic environment. Places are free
but space is limited. Please contact the gallery for further details.

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Vancouver Electronic Ensemble - Alternative Energies


Gunilla Klingberg
Wednesday, October 8, 7pm
Klingberg will give an overview of her practice including
discussion of her new commission at the gallery and off-site.

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Artist talk - Gunilla Klingberg


Gunilla Klingberg
Brand New View (Vancouver)

Opening reception: Thursday, October 9, 7–10pm

Join us to celebrate the opening of our new gallery façade and off-site commission.

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Exhibition Opening - Gunilla Klingberg: Brand New View (Vancouver)


Feedback talk – Alec Bălășescu

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Feedback talk - Alec Bălășescu


A tour of the exhibitions on display in Spanish led by photographer Avelina Crespo.

 

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Guided Visit in Spanish | Avelina Crespo


Kimberly Phillips
Tuesday, November 4, 7pm
Director/Curator at Access Gallery, Phillips holds a doctorate
in art history from the University of British Columbia, where
she focused on the complexity of German collective memory
as negotiated through ephemeral artistic interventions in the
public realm of post-1989 Berlin. She is a sessional instructor
at Emily Carr University of Art + Design and the University of
British Columbia, where she teaches courses on the history of
visual culture, cultural theory and curatorial practice. During her
recent residency at 221A, she collaborated with Vanessa Kwan to
present a solo exhibition of work by Kara Uzelman accompanied
by the publication Unknown Objects, featuring a text by the poet
and essayist Lisa Robertson.

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Feedback talk - Kimberly Phillips


CAG Curator of Learning and Public Programs Shaun Dacey will lead a tour of current exhibitions on display.

 

 

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Guided Visit | Shaun Dacey


Screenings and reception at Western Front, 303 E 8th Avenue, Vancouver

Reception: Thursday, June 26, 7-9pm.
Screenings: Friday, June 27 – Sunday, June 29, 12 -5pm.

The Contemporary Art Gallery (CAG), Western Front and Dim Cinema present a weekend-long screening in the Grand Luxe Hall of 2014 Turner Prize nominee, Duncan Campbell’s film Bernadette, as part of the CAG exhibition The Act of Seeing with One’s Own Eyes. Bernadette presents an open and indirect account of Irish dissident and political activist Bernadette Devlin, constructed out of archival footage from the 1960s and early 1970s. Campbell approaches documentary as form of fiction, revealing the complex relationship between author, subject and audience.

Duncan Campbell, born 1972 in Dublin, lives and works in Glasgow. His solo exhibitions include: Duncan Campbell, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh (2012);  Arbeit, Hotel, London (2011); Duncan Campbell, Belfast Exposed, Belfast (2011); Make It New John, Artist Space, New York and Tramway, Glasgow (2010); Duncan Campbell, Kunstverein Munich, Munich (2009); Bernadette, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh (2009); Bernadette and Sigmar, MUMOK, Vienna (2009); Art Now Lightbox: Duncan Campbell, Tate Britain, London (2009); 0-60, ICA, London (2008); Art Statements, Art Basel 38, Basel (2008); The Unnameable, Lux at Lounge, London (2006); Something in Nothing, TART Contemporary, San Francisco (2005); Falls Burns Malone Fiddles, Luis Campaña, Cologne (2004). His group exhibitions include: The Big Society, Galerie Vallois, Paris (2011); British Art Show 7,  Nottingham and Hayward Gallery, London  (2010); Critical Fetishes, Centro de Arte Dos de Mayo, Madrid (2010); Asking Not Telling, Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia (2009);  Fight the Power, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid (2009); After October, Elizabeth Dee Gallery, New York (2008); Art Now, Tate Britain, London (2006); The Need to Document, Halle für Kunst, Lueneburg (2005); Manifesta 5, European Biennial of Contemporary Art, San Sebastian (2004); Advertence, festival of documentary film , Belfast and Dublin (2003); Fresh and Upcoming, Frankfurter Kunstverein, Frankfurt (2003); Shadazz, Royal College of Art, London (2002). He had been nominated for the 2014 Turner Prize.

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Bernadette - Duncan Campbell


Maryam Jafri
Thursday, June 26, 7pm
Please join us for a talk by artist Maryam Jafri, one of the artists included in The Act of Seeing with One’s Own Eyes.

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Artist Talk - Maryam Jafri


CAG volunteer Kay Slater gives a tour in French of the current exhibitions on display.

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Downtown Gallery Tours: Audain Gallery, Satellite Gallery & Contemporary Art Gallery


Please join us to celebrate the opening of the exhibitions:

The Act of Seeing with One’s Own Eyes

Stefan Brüggemann
Headlines and Last Lines in the Movies
Opening reception: Thursday, June 12, 7–10pm

 

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New Exhibitions Open - The Act of Seeing with One's Own Eyes & Stefan Brüggemann


Broken City Lab
Flagged For Review
Burrard Marina Field House Studio
1655 Whyte Avenue
Every Tuesday evening:

March 18 to April 29, 7- 8.30pm

NEXT: Tuesday, April 8, 7-8.30pm

The Trouble is…

Bring your questions, suspicions, and inspirations for art in public spaces to an open conversation on art as troublemaking and troublemaking as art.

Broken City Lab (BCL) are currently artists-in-residence at the Burrard Marina Field House. Their four month project, Flagged for Review examines the surrounding site and its relation to current perceptions of the city through a series of initiated conversations. Every Tuesday until the end of April, the collective will host public games, temporary installations and conversations concerning social and political issues present in Vancouver. These will culminate in the production of a series of flags to be installed at the Field House and throughout the city during the last two months of their residency.

The Field House Studio Residency Program is generously supported by the Vancouver Park Board and the City of Vancouver.

For this residency we gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Province of British Columbia through the BC Creative Communities Award.

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Broken City Lab - Flagged For Review


Brendan Fernandes
Tuesday, June 10, 7pm
Please join us for a talk introducing Fernandes’ residency, he will discuss his recent projects.

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Artist Talk - Brendan Fernandes


Marilyn Brakhage
Tuesday, June 17, 7pm

Marilyn Brakhage is a graduate of the Motion Picture Studies and Art History departments of Ryerson and York Universities, Toronto. She has worked as a film distributor, programmer, freelance writer and home educator, and is currently consulting on and managing the estate of her late husband, filmmaker and theoretician, Stan Brakhage (1933–2003). She will respond to the work of her late husband.

This series invites cultural and critical producers to present thoughts and ideas rooted in their own interests and practices, and invites audiences to join in the conversations that will explore relevant contemporary issues, theories, ideas and culture.

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Feedback Talk | Marilyn Brakhage


Shama Khanna
Tuesday, April 8, 7pm

London-based curator Shama Khanna’s current research project Flatness engages screen based images and immaterial culture in relation to the internet. Launched at the Oberhausen Short Film Festival Flatness currently operates across multiple platforms including www.flatness.eu featuring contributions by artists, writers and technologists who engage with the web as a creative site and a space for viewing. Khanna is undertaking a residency at Western Front (March 17 – April 14, 2014) and will respond to the work of Kevin Schmidt.

This series invites cultural and critical producers to present thoughts and ideas rooted in their own interests and practices, and invites audiences to join in the conversations that will explore relevant contemporary issues, theories, ideas and culture.

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Feedback Talk | Shama Khanna


Michael Turner
Tuesday, May 6, 7pm

Michael Turner is a Vancouver-based writer of fiction, criticism and song. His published multi-genre literary titles include Hard Core Logo, The Pornographer’s Poem and 8 × 10. He has also
written essays on the work of artists Julia Feyrer, Brian Jungen, Ken Lum, Christina Mackie and Michael Morris, whose 2012 exhibition Letters: Michael Morris and Concrete Poetry was co-curated by Turner and Scott Watson at the Morris and Helen Belkin Gallery, UBC. A frequent collaborator, he has written scripts with Stan Douglas, poems with Geoffrey Farmer and songs with Andrea Young. His writing can be found online at Canadian Art and on his blog at www.mtwebsit.blogspot.ca. Turner will respond to Kevin Schmidt’s exhibition.

This series invites cultural and critical producers to present thoughts and ideas rooted in their own interests and practices, and invites audiences to join in the conversations that will explore relevant contemporary issues, theories, ideas and culture.

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Feedback Talk | Michael Turner


Margaret Dragu
Tuesday, March 11, 7pm

Margaret Dragu is a key figure in Vancouver’s art community, with a practice encompassing video, installation, web-based projects, publications and performance. Dragu is integral to the development of performance art in Canada and was the first subject of FADO’s Performance Art Legends series in 2000. In 2012 she was awarded the Governor General award for Visual Art & Media. Her performances are relational, durational, interventionist and community-based often enacting various personae to explore history, memory and performance in the everyday. Most recently Richmond Art Gallery presented Dragu’s first Gallery-based solo exhibition, VERB WOMAN: the wall is in my head/a dance of forgetting. Dragu will respond to the performance work of Tim Etchells.

This series invites cultural and critical producers to present thoughts and ideas rooted in their own interests and practices, and invites audiences to join in the conversations that will explore relevant contemporary issues, theories, ideas and culture.

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Feedback Talk | Margaret Dragu


Marie-Hélène Tessier
Tuesday, March 4, 7pm

This feedback talk will be presented in French.

Marie-Hélène Tessier is a visual artist and writer based in Vancouver. Her work is site-specific and migrates freely between fiction, philosophy, fashion and art. Preoccupied with the infinite slicing of reality and the construction of meaning, her research seeks to collapse hierarchies of knowing. She has a degree in French Literature from University of Montreal, a visual arts diploma from Emerson College, a philosophy diploma from Sunbridge College, Columbia University and she graduated in visual arts from Emily Carr University of Art + Design in 2001. Tessier will respond to Aurélien Froment’s exhibition.

This series invites cultural and critical producers to present thoughts and ideas rooted in their own interests and practices, and invites audiences to join in the conversations that will explore relevant contemporary issues, theories, ideas and culture.

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Feedback Talk | Marie-Hélène Tessier- Froment Fromented


Adele Diamond
Tuesday, February 18, 7pm

Adele Diamond, Ph.D., is the Canada Research Chair Professor of Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of British Columbia. Her work integrates developmental, cognitive, neuroscience and molecular genetic approaches to examine fundamental questions about the development of the cognitive control abilities that rely on a region of the brain known as ‘prefrontal cortex’. Her recent work, including a paper in the journal Science is affecting early education practices around the world. Diamond will respond to Aurélien Froment’s exhibition.

This series invites cultural and critical producers to present thoughts and ideas rooted in their own interests and practices, and invites audiences to join in the conversations that will explore relevant contemporary issues, theories, ideas and culture.

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Feedback Talk | Adele Diamond


Florence Derieux
Thursday, March 13, 7pm
Emily Carr University of Art + Design
Room 301, 1399 Johnston Street, Granville Island

Director of Frac Champagne-Ardenne, Florence Derieux will discuss her recent projects.

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Curator Talk - Florence Derieux


Jürgen Partenheimer
Thursday, May 8, 6pm
Emily Carr University of Art + Design
Room 301, 1399 Johnston Street, Granville Island

In partnership with ECUAD and in conjunction with his residency, Partenheimer will discuss recent projects as part of his forthcoming solo exhibition at the CAG in September 2014.

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Artist Talk | Renga: Dimensions of Abstraction - Jürgen Partenheimer


Please join us to celebrate the launch of our new book shop at the CAG with a special talk and book signing with Jürgen Partenheimer

Saturday April 5, 1.30–2.30pm.

Audain Distinguished Artist-in-Residence
Emily Carr University of Art + Design
February to May, 2014

In partnership with ECUAD, German artist Jürgen Partenheimer will be living and working in Vancouver for three months, work produced during this residency forming part of his forthcoming solo exhibition at the CAG in September 2014. There will be a series of associated events as part of the residency. Please visit our website for further details.

An accompanying book DAS ARCHIV/THE ARCHIVE published by Distanz Verlag, Germany in partnership with CAG, Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich; Gemeente Museum Den Haag and Deichtorhellen Hamburg Sammlung Falckenberg is available from the CAG Bookshop and online at the special price $50.

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Publication launch and signing - Jürgen Partenhiemer


Tim Etchells
Sight Is The Sense That Dying People Tend To Lose First
Monday, January 20  , 7 pm, by donation
The Fox Cabaret,  ‚2321  Main Street

Sight Is The Sense That Dying People Tend To Lose First, written and directed by Tim Etchells, is a long free-associating
monologue that tumbles from topic to topic to create a vast, failing iteration and explanation of the world. Comical in its apparent naivety and preposterously encyclopedic in scope, the piece explores the absurdity and horror of consciousness as it tries and fails to seize and define everything that it encounters. Performed by Jim Fletcher, legendary New York actor, best known for his work with Richard Maxwell’s New York City Players and Elevator Repair Service’s Gatz, the monumental, word-for- word, eight hour staging of Fitzgerald’s prose masterwork. Join us post-performance for a drink and a conversation with Jim Fletcher and Tim Etchells, hosted by Norman Armour, Artistic and Executive Director of PuSh, in the newly renovated Fox Cabaret.

Presented with PuSh International Performing Arts Festival.

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Sight Is The Sense That Dying People Tend To Lose First - Tim Etchells


Ant Hampton and Tim Etchells
The Quiet Volume
January 17–19,  24­–26€, 31‚, February 1– 2
12–ƒ5 pm (€…60 minutes, no intermission)
Performances every 20 minutes, last performance 4­:…ƒ05pm
Vancouver Public Library, Central Branch
3‚rd Floor, ‚ƒ… 350 West Georgia Street

In The Quiet Volume — set at the library, designed for two at a time — recorded instructions and a stack of carefully selected books direct you through this contemplative, self-generated performance. The Quiet Volume takes what is considered a deeply personal and internal process and pushes it out into the surrounding environment so that one reader’s sphere collides with another’s. It exposes the particular tension common to libraries worldwide: a combination of silence and concentration within which different peoples’ experiences of reading unfold. In this performance, you and your co-reader/fellow audience member study printed words, conjure mental images, examine the act of reading in a new light in this surprising piece of ‘autoteatro.’ For the bibliophile and reluctant reader alike, The Quiet Volume exposes the strange magic at the heart of the reading experience.

Presented with PuSh International Performing Arts Festival and supported by Vancouver Public Library.

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The Quiet Volume - Ant Hampton & Tim Etchells


Tim Etchells
Tuesday, January 21, 4 .30 ‚…pm
Djavad Mowafaghian Cinema
SFU’s Goldcorp Centre for the Arts
149 West Hastings Street

In conjunction with the exhibition Who Knows, we join forces with PuSh to host Tim Etchells as a PuSh Festival   artist-in-residence and embrace the full scope of his practice. Whether, on stage or off, Etchells is concerned with liveness and presence and with the unfolding of events in time and place. At the centre of many of his projects, produced solely or with Forced Entertainment, there is a fascination with rules and systems in language, and in culture, and the way these systems are both productive and constraining. This artist talk forms a keynote
address as part of PuSh Assembly. Presented with PuSh International Performing Festival.

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Tim Etchells - Keynote Speech


Interludes: Aurélien Froment
Monday, January 20 , 7.30 pm
Tickets $9 – $11– (plus $3 Cinematheque membership)
The Cinematheque, 1131 Howe Street

DIM Cinema, an ongoing series at The Cinematheque, presents videos by the French artist Aurélien Froment, to complement his first Canadian solo exhibition, at the Contemporary Art Gallery.

Often using the format of instructional videos, Froment examines the semantic power of images and their elusive relationship to words. Viewers will emerge from the screening having learned more about the production of paper, the life cycle of the medusa, the ergonomics of sitting, the invention of kindergarten, the tying of knots and the palace of memory, than they ever thought possible in the space of 90 minutes. Each one of these analytical, self-reflexive studies works in its own way as a witty or poetic reminder that interpretation is subjective, meaning is never fixed and what one sees is not what others see.

Presented in association with The Cinematheque and PuSh International Performing Arts Festival.

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Screening - Interludes: Aurélien Froment


Join us for an afternoon of unconventional drawing at the Contemporary Art Gallery as part of the city-wide initiative DRAW DOWN.
Responding to the current CAG exhibitions by Erin Shirreff and Nancy Holt, visitors will develop their own drawn-on-film animations and flipbooks.
The CAG has invited Cineworksto present collaborative drawing-on-film and flipbook drop-in workshops for all ages. Working with filmmakers Zoe and Ariel Kirk-Gushowaty, participants will create their own simple animations on film, projected live in the gallery.Zoe Kirk-Gushowaty is a Vancouver based interdisciplinary artist working with photography, experimental filmmaking, video and sound. She received her BFA in 2008 from Concordia University in Montreal and currently manages the Cineworks analog darkroom and experimental lab with her sister Ariel by offering open darkroom nights, hands on workshops and performance/screening events. Zoe’s work has been shown in Canada, U.S. and Japan, her solo recording project Night Sides was released in April 2013 by Fixture Records.

Ariel Kirk-Gushowaty is a photo-based artist and film-maker living in Vancouver. Along with her sister Zoe, she manages the Cineworks Analogue darkroom and experimental lab space, and was a co-organizer of the Vancouver Darkroom Co-op from 2009-2011. Ariel has a BA in Philosophy and Cinema Studies from the University of Toronto, and a Photography Certificate from Langara College. She has worked with many types of alternative process photography and filmmaking, and also teaches digital storytelling. Ariel is currently completing a short film shot on 16mm film, and producing an event at the Cineworks Annex in collaboration with Art Waste. Her work has been shown in Canada and internationally.

Cineworks Independent Filmmakers Society is an artist-run production and exhibition centre that supports independent filmmakers and media artists. Through initiatives that foster dialogue and experimentation with cinematic practices.

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Drawing Experiments on film | Draw Down 2013


Join us at the CAG and the False Creek Community Centre for free hands-on drawing activities with CAG artist-in-residence Raymond Boisjoly as part of the city wide event DRAW DOWN. Join artist Raymond Boisjoly to invent new tools for drawing and create new, experimental drawings.

WHERE:
False Creek Community Centre
Granville Island, 1318 Cartwright Street

WHEN:
Saturday June 15, 1 – 4 pm, free

Raymond Boisjoly is the Contemporary Art Gallery Artist in Residence at Burrard Marina Fieldhouse beneath the Burrard Bridge. A Vancouver based aboriginal artist of Haida and Quebecois descent Raymond combines contemporary craft, pop culture and street art with traditional Northwest Coast imagery in his work.

Draw Down 2013: On Saturday June 15, 2013, twenty-three different arts and cultural organizations across Vancouver will host a wide array of diverse, hands-on drawing workshops in community centres, museums, art galleries and on the street!

http://www.vancouverdrawdown.com/

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Re-inventing Drawing | Draw Down 2013


Please join us for a special one night film screening of four film works by Nancy Holt and Robert Smithson. Nancy Holt is one of the leading artists of her generation and a pioneer in conceptual, site-specific art and film and video work. She is one of a group of important international artists who initiated the Land art movement in the late 1960s. The Contemporary Art Gallery brings together a selection of photographs from 1967 onwards, many seen for the first time in public, alongside pivotal text and film works.

Nancy Holt
The Cinematheque
June 10, 2013, 7pm
Duration: approximately 83 minutes

Mono Lake (1968–2004)
Nancy Holt and Robert Smithson
19:54 minutes, color, sound 16 mm film transferred to video

Swamp (1971)
Nancy Holt and Robert Smithson
6:00 minutes, colour, sound 16 mm film transferred to video

Pine Barrens (1975)
30:24 minutes, colour, sound 16 mm film transferred to video

Sun Tunnels (1978)
26:31 minutes, colour, sound 16 mm film transferred to video

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Film Screening | Nancy Holt


In-conversation: James Welling and Dominic McIver Lopes
Wednesday, November 13, 7pm
Emily Carr University of Art + Design
Room 301, 1399 Johnston Street, Granville Island

Dominic McIver Lopes, Professor in the Department of Philosophy at UBC, and President of the American Society for Aesthetics, joins artist James Welling for a public conversation considering Welling’s practice.

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In-conversation: James Welling and Dominic McIver Lopes


Please join us to celebrate the opening of exhibitions by James Welling and Meriç Algün Ringborg, Thursday November 14, 7-10 pm.

The Contemporary Art Gallery presents a major solo exhibition of early work by American artist James Welling. Welling emerged as a seminal figure in the “Pictures Generation”, an influential group of artists including Sherrie Levine, Cindy Sherman and Richard Prince. Working in New York in the late 1970s and early 1980s, they were acclaimed for their pioneering use of photography and for opening up a new set of questions about art and the nature of representation. This exhibition, and the publication that accompanies it, are titled The Mind on Fire to evoke a febrile time of energy, thought and production from that period.

At the Contemporary Art Gallery we present a solo exhibition by Turkish artist Meriç Algün Ringborg, her first in a museum in North America, comprising a new large-scale commission sited across the façade of our building. Visitors are invited to ‘read’ the gallery, the work wrapping around the outside as individual phrases envelope the physical structure.

 

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Exhibition Opening | James Welling and Meriç Algün Ringborg


William Wood is an art historian and critic concentrating on the history of conceptual art and contemporary Canadian and international work in photography, moving pictures and installation. Starting as a critic and editor with C Magazine, Vanguard, Parachute and Public, Wood went on to a doctorate at the University of Sussex and has taught at universities in the United Kingdom, Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario. Recent publications include essays for Ian Wallace: At the Intersection of Painting and Photography and Traffic: Conceptual Art in Canada 1965–1980. Forthcoming are writings on The Piano, an exhibition held at the Art Gallery of Alberta this past summer, and Michael Morris: Letters for the Helen and Morris Belkin Art Gallery. For his Feedback talk Wood will address his remarks to the theme of the para-photographic as it relates to the James Welling exhibition and other artists working with photography.

This series invites cultural and critical producers to present thoughts and ideas rooted in their own interests and practices, and invites audiences to join in the conversations that will explore relevant contemporary issues, theories, ideas and culture.

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Feedback Talk | William Wood


Kathy Slade works with embroidery, sound, sculpture, books, film and video. Recent exhibitions include: It was a strange apartment full of books …, Galerie Au rue 8 saint bon, Paris; IS EVERYTHING GOING TO BE ALRIGHT?, Audain Gallery, Vancouver; Cue: Artists’ Video, Vancouver Art Gallery; and Die Perfekte Ausstellung, Heidelberger Kunstverein. Additionally Slade collaborates with Brady Cranfield on two ongoing projects The Music Appreciation Society, and a music group that has produced two concept albums 12 Sun Songs (2009, Or Gallery and Christoph Keller Editions, Zürich) and 10 Riot Songs (2011, Presentation House Gallery, North Vancouver). She will be responding to the work of Kay Rosen.

This series invites cultural and critical producers to present thoughts and ideas rooted in their own interests and practices, and invites audiences to join in the conversations that will explore relevant contemporary issues, theories, ideas and culture.

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Feedback Talk | Kathy Slade


Jem Noble’s practice encompasses digital image-making, sound, sculpture, performance and text and is concerned with questions of framing, indeterminacy and co-production. Among recent projects he has given a performance-lecture for the European Arts Research Network at dOCUMENTA (13); created image, text and audio work in conjunction with Bruce Nauman’s Days at the ICA, London; made structural edits of 1988 feature films Ghosts of the Civil Dead and They Live, screened at Arnolfini, Bristol, UK and The Engine Room, Wellington, New Zealand; and painstakingly recorded music from the internet in real-time over three months to DJ at Manifesta 7 in Trentino in collaboration with Swedish anti-copyright activists Piratbyrån. He has also undertaken several commissioned collaborations with Turner Prize 2012 winner, Elizabeth Price, producing sound and music for her large-scale video installations. Noble is founding member of the Blackout Arts expanded-cinema collective (2002–2010) and was co-director of Venn Festival of new and exploratory music and sound between 2004 and 2008.

This series invites cultural and critical producers to present thoughts and ideas rooted in their own interests and practices, and invites audiences to join in the conversations that will explore relevant contemporary issues, theories, ideas and culture.

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Feedback Talk | Jem Noble


Krisztina Laszlo holds a cross-appointment at the University of British Columbia as the archivist for the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery and the Museum of Anthropology. Her research interests include artist’s archives, curatorial and artistic interpretations of the archive, cultural property and preservation of media art. She received a Master of Archival Studies from the University of British Columbia and also holds a Certificate in Public History and a Bachelor of General Studies from Simon Fraser University. Laszlo will discuss a series of slides produced by archeologist and anthropologist Wilson Duff now held in the MOA collection referenced by Mike Nelson in his new commission Eighty Circles through Canada (The Last Possessions of an Orcadian Mountain Man), 2013. Commissioned in partnership with Walter Phillips Gallery, Banff Centre.

This series invites cultural and critical producers to present thoughts and ideas rooted in their own interests and practices, and invites audiences to join in the conversations that will explore relevant contemporary issues, theories, ideas and culture.

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Feedback Talk | Krisztina Laszlo


This series invites cultural and critical producers to present thoughts and ideas rooted in their own interests and practices, and invites audiences to join in the conversations that will explore relevant contemporary issues, theories, ideas and culture.

In response to the exhibition Itee Pootoogook, Buildings and Land, Crosby will discuss some aspects of her PhD research, which focuses on the formation of Aboriginal cultural production in urban spaces in Vancouver, B.C., for Native and non-Native publics; these include diverse forms of performativity, the display and sale of Aboriginally produced objects, and urban community supports by well-known First Nations artists through their association with new Aboriginal social organizations.

Marcia Crosby is currently completing her PhD in the Department of Art History and Visual Culture, UBC, and also works as an independent scholar. Crosby has a BFA in Fine Arts and English Literature, and an MA in Art History, UBC (1993), her MA thesis focused on the tension between representations of Aboriginal cultures and peoples in the public sphere, the work of Indigenous art and artists, and representations of Aboriginal title in B.C.

In addition to teaching literature and Native Studies at Vancouver Island University for 16 years, she has worked as a researcher, reviewing Aboriginal programs in public institutions. Her current work as a PhD candidate at UBC, builds on the curatorial work completed for the exhibition and accompanying publication, Nations in Urban Landscapes (Contemporary Art Gallery in 1994 and which toured to Oboro, Montréal, 1996), and the more recent exhibition: Aboriginal art in the city: Fine and Popular (2008), which is one of several web projects produced through the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, as part of Ruins in Progress: Vancouver Art in the Sixties. More recently in 2012, she co-curated with Karen Duffek, The Paintings of Henry Speck: Udz’stalis at the Belkin Satellite Gallery, Vancouver.

Next in the Feedback series:

Kathy Slade
Tuesday, July 23, 7pm

Karol Sienkiewicz
Tuesday, August 20, 7pm

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Feedback Talk | Marcia Crosby


Sosnowska discusses her practice drawing on a range of key recent projects.The Contemporary Art Gallery presents the first exhibition of work by Polish artist Monika Sosnowska in Canada. Best known for her ambitious architectural and sculptural installations which simultaneously embrace and resist the spaces they occupy, Sosnowska’s exhibition will obliquely reference her hometown of Warsaw and the economic shift that has occurred since the collapse of communism in 1989 to the present day.The Monika Sosnowska exhibition opens on Thursday June 27 and continues until August 25.
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Artist talk | Monika Sosnowska


Join us over the summer at the Field House Studio for free drop-in art activities for all ages responding to the work of Raymond Boisjoly and our current CAG exhibitions: Monika Sosnowska, Itee Pootoogook and Kay Rosen.

Saturday, July 27, 1–4pm
Saturday, August 24, 1–4pm

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Field House Studio | Saturday Family Days


The Field House Studio is an off-site artist residency space and community hub organized by the Contemporary Art Gallery. This initiative seeks to support and nurture artists whose practice moves beyond conventional exhibition making, echoing the founding origins of the gallery where artists were offered support toward the production of new work. Our goal in presenting art outside of the boundaries of our exhibition spaces is to reach out to communities, offering new ways for individuals to encounter and connect with art and artists, expanding audiences as well as strengthening our commitment to nurturing artists through example, context and commissioning. Running parallel to the residency program are an ongoing series of public events for all ages.

Speaker Series: Artists in Public
This summer the CAG launches a new series inviting creative and cultural producers to share their theories, thoughts, and experiences of developing projects in the public realm.

Zoe Kreye and Catherine Grau
Saturday, June 22, 4pm
Field House Studio at Burrard Marina
The first talk presents collaborators Zoe Kreye and Catherine Grau who are currently working on a public project throughout Vancouver entitled Unlearning Weekender, (A project by Goethe Satellite @ Vancouver, in cooperation with Dance Troupe Practice, Windsor House School, Public Dreams and Revised Projects). They will discuss this series of workshops which invite the public to create rituals as a means of challenging invisible social structures aiming to strengthen community bonds.

Justin A. Langlois
Saturday, August 17, 4pm
Field House Studio at Burrard Marina
Langlois will discuss his work as co-founder and research director of Broken City Lab, an artist-led interdisciplinary creative research collective and non-profit organization working to explore locality, infrastructures and creative practice leading towards civic change. He is currently an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Windsor. In the fall of 2013, he will join the Faculty of Culture + Community at Emily Carr University of Art & Design.

Family Days at the Field House Studio

Join us on the Field House Studio balcony for free drop-in art activities for all ages responding to the work of Raymond Boisjoly and our current CAG exhibitions.

Saturday, June 29, 1–4pm
Saturday, July 27, 1–4pm
Saturday, August 24, 1–4pm

The Field House Studio Residency Program is generously supported by the Vancouver Park Board and the City of Vancouver. The inaugural residency with Raymond Boisjoly is supported by the Province of British Columbia through the Ministry of Advanced Education, Innovation and Technology.

Raymond Boisjoly, As It Comes continues until June 16 and is located in the window spaces at the CAG and off-site at Yaletown-Roundhouse Station, Canada Line and The Burrard Marina Field House Studio Residency Program.

As It Comes at Yaletown-Roundhouse Station, Canada Line is presented in partnership with the Canada Line Public Art Program — IntransitBC.

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Field House Studio - Summer Programs


Join us to celebrate the launch CAPTURE a new photography festival for Vancouver, including projects and exhibitions by Mungo Thomson and James Welling at the Contemporary Art Gallery during October and November.

For more information on CAPTURE Photo Festival go here: http://capturephotofest.com/

The opening  launch event will be held at The Museum of Vancouver, 1100 Chestnut Street, Vancouver, BC V6J 3J9, Canada.

on: Tuesday October 1, 7-10pm

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Opening | Capture launch - Mungo Thomson & James Welling


Jürgen Partenheimer
Thursday, May 8, 6pm
Emily Carr University of Art + Design
Room 301, 1399 Johnston Street, Granville Island

This special event involves multiple voices approaching notions of abstraction from a variety of poetic, philosophical and theoretical standpoints by Audain Distinguished Artist-in-Residence Jürgen Partenheimer. Born in Munich in 1947, Partenheimer studied the theory and practice of art in Germany, the USA, Mexico and France. As a representative of a subjective abstraction, he is considered one of the most important contemporary artists of Germany. With theory, poetry and prose as his referential grammar for artistic expression, Partenheimer’s work encompasses painting, drawing, sculpture and text. Marked by a post-minimalist background and a poetic intensity, his art has been referred to as metaphysical realism. He became internationally renowned following his participation in the Paris, Venice and São Paulo Biennials, and in 2000 became the first contemporary German artist to have a retrospective in China at the National Museum of Art in Beijing. His work has been part of major exhibitions including The Museum of Modern Art in New York and San Francisco, the Miró Foundation in Barcelona and the Museum Ludwig in Cologne.

Featuring guest appearances by Nigel Prince, Nicholas Lea, Mayko Nguyen and Aoife MacNamara.

Partenheimer’s work has received many national and international prizes and awards, among others the Art Critics’ Prize of Madrid, Spain; the NEA Grant, National Endowment of the Arts, New York; Canada Council Grant, Montréal and the Federal Cross of Merit of Germany for outstanding international achievement. Partenheimer has taught as Professor, Distinguished Visiting Professor and Visiting artist among others at San Francisco Art Institute; Academy of Fine Arts, Düsseldorf, University of California at Davis; Rijks Academy in Amsterdam; Royal College of Art, Edinburgh; Rhode Island School of Design and WITS School of Arts in Johannesburg.

Partenheimer’s residency at Emily Carr takes place from February – May, 2014 in preparation for an exhibition at the Contemporary Art Gallery in the fall of 2014. The exhibition in Vancouver forms part of an open cooperation with the Pinakothek der Moderne München (The Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Munich); Falckenberg Collection, Deichtorhallen, Hamburg and the Gemeentemuseum The Hague, exploring site and space-related installation concepts. Parallel to the different exhibitions, all of which will be held in 2014, the participating institutions closely worked on a publication with the artist that aims at commenting on and integrating the various aspects of his work as an additional ‘fifth room’. International authors from a variety of different disciplines, including Anne Carson, Lebogang Mashile, Carla Schulz-Hoffmann, Antje v. Graevenitz, John Burnside, Oswald Egger and Rudi Fuchs, have taken up the invitation to write contributions and become involved in this project. Published by Distanz Publishers, Berlin, 2014.

Established in 2012, the Audain Distinguished Artist in Residence Program has a mandate to bring nationally and internationally renowned contemporary artists to Vancouver, create curriculum specific to each individual visiting artist, and support the creation of new works. Adopting a flexible model that encourages experimentation, collaboration, dialogue and engagement, the program will benefit artists, the academic community, the Vancouver art community at large, and will greatly contribute to Vancouver’s stature within the international art world. The Program, housed within the Audain School of Visual Arts encompassing the Faculty of Visual Arts + Material Practice, provides support for two artists per year to live and work in Vancouver for a one to three month period, and includes living and travel expenses, support for production costs, exhibitions and honoraria.

Please note that Aoife MacNamara’s reading has been removed due to technical difficulties. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenient.

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Video | Jürgen Partenheimer - Renga: Dimensions of Abstraction


CJSF interns Ana Costa + Anh Dang interview New York visual and video artist Maryam Jafri about her work AVALON (2011), which is Contemporary Art Gallery’s June 2014 exhibition The Act Of Seeing With One’s Own Eyes.

Jafri weaves themes of production, representation and role playing throughout her work.

Aired originally on CJSF’s Spoken Word Surprise July 1st (Tuesday 4pm)

Includes notes from CAG curator and excerpts from the June 26th artist talk.

www.maryamjafri.net/

Talk info + audio: www.contemporaryartgallery.ca/learning/a…yam-jafri/

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CJSF Radio interview with Maryam Jafri


Maryam Jafri
Thursday, June 26, 7pm

Please join us for a talk by artist Maryam Jafri. Her video work Avalon (2011) is included in The Act of Seeing with One’s Own Eyes.

In her moving image works, Jafri blurs the distinction between scripted films and unscripted documentaries. In Avalon (2011), Jafri seamlessly weaves together stories from real life workers in an unnamed leather company in an unspecified Asian country, with a script that she wrote herself. The workers in this factory are not told that they are making fetish products to be sold to the masses in the United States, and this selective disclosure can be seen in the disconnect between the production process and the final product itself. Parallels can be made between the secretive nature within the leather factory, the viewer’s unsurety of who is an actor and who is not, as well as to the overall editing process which yields a carefully restrained video work about the complex topics of overseas factories and the world of fetish paraphernalia.

Jafri’s solo exhibitions include: Mouthfeel, Gasworks, London (2014); Backdrop, Bielefelder kustverein, Bielefeld, Germany (2013); Stages, WYSPA Institute of Art, Gdansk (2012); Geographies, Museum of Contemporary Art, Roskilde (2012); Headlines and Small Print (with Anderas Fogarasi), Galerie Nova/WHW Zagreb (2012); Global Slum, Beirut, Cairo (2012) and Shanghai Biennial and Taipei Biennial (2012). She has also exhibited in group exhibitions including: Fassbinder Jetzt – Fassbinder and Contemporary Art, Deutsches Filmmuseum, Frankfurt (2013); Past is Present (Murals), Museum of Contemporary Art, Detroit (2013); Ten Thousand Wiles, Hundred Thousand Tricks, MuKHA, Antwerp (2013); When Attitudes Became Forms Become Attitudes, Museum of Contemporary Art, Detroit (2013); Manifesta 9, Genk (2012). Maryam Jafri lives and works in New York and Copenhagen. She holds a BA in Literature from Brown University, an MA from NYU/Tisch School of The Arts and is a graduate of the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program.

www.maryamjafri.net/avalon.htm

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Artist Talk | Maryam Jafri


Y-CAG

New Y-CAG starts in November – still time to sign up!

Program Runs – Two Wednesdays each month from November, 2013 – May, 2014
Cost – $350

Y-CAG 2013/2014 Information Sheet

Y-CAG 2013/2014 Application Form

Y-CAG offers youth interested in contemporary art, visual culture and exhibition-making the opportunity to work closely with leading artists, curators, gallery staff and educators. Co-hosted by the Contemporary Art Gallery and Emily Carr University of Art + Design, Y-CAG will offer a behind-the-scenes look into both institutions, through gallery and facility visits.

Students will engage in discussions focusing on contemporary cultural issues; participate in the production of publications, events and presentations; and gain experience producing, installing and documenting artwork. Work produced in the program will culminate in a student-initiated ‘exhibition in print’.

  • Meet bi-weekly and build relationships with other creative teens, Contemporary Art Gallery and Emily Carr University of Art + Design staff, and visiting museum professionals and artists;
  • Identify interests and questions and use these to explore art through a variety of means, from looking, researching, and discussing to art making;
  • Place contemporary art within the context of what is going on in the larger world; and
  • Work with a variety of people and teen peers to create a public art exhibition or event.

Cost

The cost of the program is $350 for the entire six months and includes refreshments at each session.

Schedule

Teens will meet twice a month from 4:00 – 7:00 PM two Wednesdays of every month for afterschool meetings facilitated by educators and art professionals. Meetings will alternate between the CAG and Emily Carr.

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Y-CAG Program with ECUAD


Emerging Dance Summer Intensive:

Call for participants ages 17 to 25yrs old

July 3 – September 4, 2014

(Every Tuesday and Thursday for three hour sessions)

Free

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Deadline June 25 | Emerging Dance Summer Intensive: Call for participants aged 17 to 25yrs old


Erin Shirreff on Art 21, New York.

 

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Video | Erin Shirreff


Nancy Holt and Ben Tufnell discuss Holt’s major exhibition ‘Photoworks’ at Haunch of Venison London.

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Video | Nancy Holt


Artist Josephine Meckseper discusses her work and her exhbition American Leg at the Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver, May 2012.

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Video | Josephine Meckseper


American artist Sharon Hayes discusses her exhibition In The Near Future at the CAG, April 8 – June 5, 2011.

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Video | Sharon Hayes


Federico Herrero discusses his CAG exhibition “Vibrantes”, September 9, 2011 to January 15, 2012.
Video production by Adrian Buitenhuis.

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Video | Federico Herrero


Roy Arden discusses his exhibition UNDERTHESUN at the Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver Canada.

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Video | Roy Arden


This video, Roy Arden: UNDERTHESUN was made to coincide with the exhibtion of the same name at the Contemporary Art Gallery from January 28 to March 27, 2011.

Video by Adrian Buitenhuis

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Video | Roy Arden - UNDERTHESUN


Eli Bornowsky Interviews Elizabeth McIntosh (Part 1 of 2)

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Video | Eli Bornowsky & Elizabeth McIntosh (Part 1)


Eli Bornowsky interviews Elizabeth McIntosh on the occasion of the exhibition – Eli Bornowsky: Walking, Square, Cylinder, Plane - November 26 – January 22, 2011
© Contemporary Art Gallery, The Western Front and The Artists, 2011.

 

 

 

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Video | Elizabeth McIntosh & Eli Bornowsky (Part 2)


Artist Alex Morrison discusses his work and the group exhibition Following A Line at the Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver, September 2010.

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Video | Alex Morrison


Artist Brad Phillips discusses his work in the exhibition Triumphant Carrot: The Persistence of Still Life, June 2010.

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Video | Brad Phillips


Artist collective bgl discuss their work and their exhibition Marshmallow + Cauldron + Fire = at the Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver, April 2009.

Congratulations to bgl who will represent Canada at the 2015 Venice Biennale.

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Video | bgl - To represent Canada in the 2015 Venice Biennale


Dexter Sinister discuss the exhibition An Invitation to An Infiltration, 2010. An ideal context for an examination of the competitive nature of group exhibitions was during the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. Organized by guest curator Eric Fredericksen, An Invitation to An Infiltration was a group exhibition of local and international artists ranging from emerging to established.

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Video | Dexter Sinister


Holly Ward discusses her work in the group exhibition An Invitation to An Infiltration, 2010. An ideal context for an examination of the competitive nature of group exhibitions was during the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. Organized by guest curator Eric Fredericksen, An Invitation to An Infiltration was a group exhibition of local and international artists ranging from emerging to established.

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Video | Holly Ward


Urtzi Grau talks about the touring exhibition ‘Clip/Stamp/Fold’ and the exhibition ‘Clip/Stamp/Fold 6′ at the Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver.

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Video | Clip/Stamp/Fold 6 - Urtzi Grau


Words and phrases in the English language can function in many different ways. Certain words have multiple meanings depending on their context, while the context of a certain phrase can completely change how we understand it. Many contemporary artists have turned to the use of language and text in their practice for this reason; they allow the evocation of multivalent messages.

Currently, Stefan Brüggemann’s Headlines and Last Lines in the Movies covers the façade of the CAG. This piece, which has become a popular conversation topic around the city, takes found phrases and places them in a very different context than their origins. Looking at these Hollywood movie quotes and recent news headlines next to each other causes one to think about them in a completely new way. Their large size and bold colours impose them onto the viewer and into the built environment of the city, rather than their traditional positions as mere utterances or words on paper.

A short look back through the CAG archives brought me to another fascinating textual installation. There have been many over the years, including those by Meriç Algün Ringborg, Tim Etchells and Raymond Boisjoly among others. A particular piece by Nathan Coley, however, struck me.

As part of his wide-ranging practice, the Glasgow artist takes found phrases, enlarges, illuminates and erects them on scaffolding in specific locations. When I encountered his piece There Will Be No Miracles Here (2006) earlier this year in Edinburgh, Scotland, I was taken aback. Placed outside the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, which holds many things that I personally consider “miraculous,” I was both offended and intrigued by this statement. At the time I was not familiar with his work, as I assume is the case with many people who stumble upon his pieces that are placed in public space.

Part of his CAG exhibition in 2012, Coley’s installation in the Downtown East Side of Vancouver featured the phrase We Must Cultivate Our Garden (2006), perched atop the roof of the Pennsylvania Hotel. This line, taken from Voltaire’s Candide, took on a new role in this context. The built environment used by Coley was altered by the introduction of this sculpture into the architecture of the neighbourhood. Similarly, the meaning of the phrase itself changed; many are aware of the ongoing and various issues in the Downtown East Side community, and this sculpture addressed the need to fix these in an almost forceful manner.

Nathan Coley’s outstanding monograph spanning the last 10 years, A Place Beyond Belief, can be purchased in the CAG book shop. Make sure you visit Bruggemann’s installation before it comes down on September 7th, and check out his publication in our book shop as well. Our summer book sale is happening now in the CAG book shop and online; use the coupon code CAGSUMMER on check out for a special discount of 40%!

- Kelli Sturkenboom

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From the Archives | Text in Context


Kicking off our new series of blog posts featuring CAG staff, board members, interns and volunteers writing book recommendations selecting from the CAG’s thirty year history of publishing, Jaclyn Bruneau, CAG Visitor Assistant,  picks one of her favourite CAG publications from back in the late 1990′s: French Kiss.

 

French Kiss
Ghada Amer, Jean-Sylvain Bieth, Bernard Lallemand, Dany Leriche & Patrick Reynaud
Exhibition: December 13, 1997 – January 31, 1998
$12

This exhibition presented works by five French artists around nuanced notions of sex and sexuality. Far from the tedium of ready-made erotica, these works extend into realms of psychological complexity, esotericism and France’s rich philosophical history of desire. French Kiss is soft to the touch, the colours saturated, and the images immense.

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French Kiss can be purchased in the CAG book shop or online, with the special Summer discount of 40%, use the coupon code CAGSUMMER on check out. Purchase here.

 

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Jaclyn Bruneau recommends…French Kiss


Continuing our new series of blog posts featuring CAG staff, board members, interns and volunteers writing book recommendations selecting from the CAG’s thirty year history of publishing, Kelli Sturkenboom, CAG Communications intern, picks her two most favourite CAG publications:

Summerland
Shannon Oksanen
Exhibition: Nov 21, 2008 to Jan 18, 2009
$25, sale price $15 + tax

This compact CAG publication gives a look into Shannon Oksanen’s work. CAG Curator, Jenifer Papararo writes a charming and engaging essay for Summerland. Although part of the exhibition was a film installation, the way this book is laid out gives the reader a very clear idea of how the exhibition looked, and would have been experienced. The overall theme of nostalgia coupled with the colour palette of Oksanen’s paintings and video work makes this a joy to flip through.

An Invitation to An Infiltration
Contemporary Art Gallery
Exhibition dates: January 21 – February 28, 2010
$30, sale price $18 + tax

This publication is an interesting, behind-the-scenes look at the issues and controversies underlying the exhibition process by including content like e-mails between curators, artists, and donors. The exhibition was part of the Cultural Olympiad Vancouver 2010 and co-presented by VANOC, which had huge implications for its meaning and makes this book a must-read to find out more. I also love how the cover and half-title pages were cut from the wallpaper and posters that were actually displayed in the exhibition; purchasing the publication is like purchasing a piece from the show.

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Both titles can be purchased in the CAG book shop or online, with the special summer discount of 40%, use the coupon code CAGSUMMER on check out. Summerland: Purchase here. An Invitation to An Infiltration: Purchase here.

 

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Kelli Sturkenboom recommends…top two CAG books!


CAG Curator Jenifer Papararo joins our series of CAG book recommendations with a short review of the popular 2004 publication SUPERNATURAL.

SUPERNATURAL: Neil Campbell & Beau Dick
Curated by Roy Arden
Exhibition: March 12 to April 25, 2004

When I began working at the CAG in late 2004 this exhibition catalogue was well under production, in its final stages of proofing and colour correction. Unfortunately, I missed the exhibition SUPERNATURAL curated by Roy Arden, but feel the catalogue captures the radical and reflective drive behind pairing the wall and collage work of abstract painter Neil Campbell next to the masks of master carver Beau Dick.

The slim hardcover book which respectively features an image of each artist’s work on the front and back covers, immediately sets a formal opposition between the two artists practices: Campbell’s as a cool white and Dick’s bathed in dramatic black. The numerous installation shots throughout the publication establishes this divide, showing Campbell’s work presented in the typical starkness of a white cube while Dick’s work is suspended in darkness.

The aligning of these two artists is mysterious, but also seems to make perfect sense. Arden states, “Supernatural aims … to entertain the similarities of intention, means, and effect in their work without losing sight of their significant differences.”

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SUPERNATURAL can be purchased, with a special discount of 40% during August, either online (click on the titles above – on check out use the coupon code CAGSUMMER) or in person at the CAG bookshop.

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Jenifer Papararo recommends…SUPERNATURAL


This past Saturday, the CAG held its monthly Family Day. Participants crafted landscape collages in response to Kelly Richardson’s Legion. A few of the volunteers and I decided to have a little fun and create our own! From the beginning of my piece’s construction, I had a vague idea of what I wanted my collage to look like. Halfway through, however, I realized it had completely changed as I sorted through the materials we had and gained new inspiration.

Experiencing this process myself got me thinking about the art-making process in general. Artists may start with a certain idea about how they want a piece to look, but the finished product is often very different from the initial plan.

On looking through the CAG exhibition archives, an exhibition in 2010 by artist Elizabeth McIntosh, Violet’s Hair, explicitly seems to address the artistic process. Vancouver based, McIntosh is known for her abstract paintings. When one looks closely at many of her canvasses, faint clues to how the paintings have evolved can be seen. As well as a selection of paintings McIntosh also transformed a gallery room into a collage itself. Colours From a Story (2010) overlaid large, colourful pieces of paper in various sizes creating a sculptural representation of her art-making process. This piece addressed how McIntosh approaches painting; various colours overlapping creating new shapes and the painting itself revealing process and change.

This idea can also be applied to how we view art ourselves. Approaching art that we have never before seen, we often do so with uncertainty. One can never know how the experience will be until we are in front of it and letting our imagination run wild. Sometimes it is useful to wait to read about an exhibition until after you go through it for the first time, allowing yourself to creatively contemplate what it means to you at first glance.

We hope that you will visit us at the CAG for the next family day on Saturday, August, 30 (12-3pm) to enjoy the making and the experience of art.

- Kelli Sturkenboom, Communications intern

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From the Archives | Art-Making & Artistic Process


Looking back on past CAG exhibitions, a particular performative piece caught my eye; one that seemed to involve a simple, wooden chair. Max Dean’s 2008 exhibition Robotic Chair took a familiar household object and transformed it into a shocking and thought-provoking piece. With the help of robotic technology, the chair would move, fall apart—and then pull itself back together.

It is exciting how technological developments have allowed artists to create pieces that express ideas in completely new ways. The great thing about this exhibition, for me, was the fact that the meaning behind this piece was left for the spectator to contemplate. A common theme drawn from it was the idea of hope and picking oneself up after a tragedy. However, as the curator suggested, it also pointed to our human attraction to failure.

I couldn’t help but draw a similarity between this exhibition and Kelly Richardson’s current exhibition at the CAG, Legion.  Through the use of technology, Richardson is able to create extraordinary moving images that transform real, photographed landscapes into completely different worlds; Orion Tide (2013) and Leviathan (2011). These images are presented in a way that invites visitors to sit down and become immersed in the landscapes, drawing their own meaning from their personal experience with them.

I have led several friends through this exhibition and all have had completely different responses; some seeing the projections as beautiful and enchanting, and others experiencing an uncomfortable and suspenseful sensation.

Stop by the CAG to encounter Kelly Richardson’s Legion for yourself, and tweet us @CAGVancouver with your thoughts! Also—snag a copy of her publication The Last Frontier, for sale in our bookshop for a special exhibition price of $40.

- Kelly Sturkenboom, Communications intern

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From the Archives | Technology & Landscape


Burrard Marina Field House Artist in Residence, Brendan Fernandes and Vancouver-based choreographer Justine Chambers led a workshop for the Summer intensive program this week that explored collaboration, conceptualization and authorship. Brendan and Justine are very generous instructors and really encouraged the participants to express themselves through an embodied practice and collaboration.

Justine and Brendan led exercises that brought the participants and their interests together through embodied practice. The participants were asked to write a performance choreography score in five minutes that would have a five minute performance time. After writing their pieces, they put them in the middle and everyone chose someone else’s choreography to perform. We saw people working with their bodies, with the spectators bodies, with the room, with chairs, with shoes… with whatever was in sight! Through this work the participants learned how to conceptualize, create and rehearse a full piece. The group will create their own performance at the end of this program so this work was a great start in helping them learn to share, create and perform ideas.

- Lindsay Lachance

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Conceptualizing and Authorship with Brendan Fernandes and Justine Chambers


A few months ago, the Governor General’s Awards in Visual and Media Arts were announced, and several of the eight winners had previously exhibited at the CAG. Jayce Salloum, one of the recipients, is a successful Canadian-born media artist who has lived and worked in a variety of locations in Canada, the US, and elsewhere. Continuing to move around and experience new spaces and environments, his “nomadic practice” significantly informs his work, which raises questions of identity and historical, social, and cultural contexts of place.

I came across untitled in our library archives. This book was co-published by the CAG and the Agnes Etherington Art Centre on the occasion of the exhibitions NEUTRAL/BRAKE/STEERING at the latter institution from November 12 to December 24, 1998 and 22 OZ. THUNDERBOLT which was presented here from March 27 to May 8, 1999. These photo-installations by Salloum consisted of an archive of street photography featuring images of storefront displays in what the curators called the “overlooked corners” of the urban environment. The installations drew their names from phrases on various items and signs in these displays.

Salloum’s photographs took otherwise banal scenes and transformed them into an intriguing subjective record of his travels; augmenting their meaning by arranging them in certain ways. He challenged the conventional ordering of photographs in a documentary format; presenting an appropriation of these images which forces the viewer to create their own narrative. Looking through some of his images as they were arranged in the book, I was left wondering whether they were taken in the same locale, whether these stores were even open for business, and if there was any human activity occurring around these scenes.

This idea of ordering and configuring is important in contemporary art; the way in which an artist organizes components or pieces in an installation has implications for how the audience derives meaning from and experiences them. Our current façade installation by Stefan Brüggemann, Headlines and Last Lines in the Movies, exemplifies this as well. The phrases painted here can be interpreted in very distinct ways when contemplated next to each other rather than alone, or next to a different phrase. For me, it is essential to think about the way exhibitions and installations are presented by their artists and curators when we encounter them.

Jayce Salloum was also part of a group exhibition at the CAG in 2010, The Triumphant Carrot: The Persistence of Still Life, which explored the practice of the traditional still life genre in the context of contemporary art. More of his work can be found here.

Check out untitled in the CAG Bookshop to find out more, and keep these ideas in mind when you come to see the current shows at the CAG and elsewhere! Tweet us @CAGVancouver with your thoughts on the exhibitions to join the conversation.

- Kelli Sturkenboom

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From the Archives | Jayce Salloum, untitled


As you may have noticed, the CAG is currently closed in preparation for Kelly Richardson’sLegion, exciting new installations which open next Thursday. I have really been looking forward to this one! Flipping through Richardson’s recent publication The Last Frontier, I’ve begun to get an idea of what this exhibition has in store. For her projection and photographic works, Richardson digitally alters her own photographs and video to create environments which raise questions about our relationship with the natural world. As an art history student, I have definitely studied my fair share of landscape-themed pieces, mainly traditional oil paintings from earlier centuries. Looking through past exhibitions and CAG publications, I have found it interesting how this theme of “landscape” has been tackled in other exhibitions here at the CAG in very unique and innovative ways.

In 2000, the CAG published Quick aging pivoting city to accompany artist Eleanor Bond’s exhibition. Bond’s paintings approached a different type of environment; the urban landscape. These large-scale paintings were not meant to represent existing and specific places, rather, they incorporated both actual and imaginary forms. Exploring Vancouver for ten days, the artist took photographs and made videos, and used these as the source to create her own constructed environments on canvas. For me, the knowledge of this process creates uncertainty when looking at these pieces about what is “actual” and what is not.

Cai Guo Qiang’s Performing Chinese Ink Painting was a performance made at the CAG in 2001 involving three different artists, each rendering their own versions of the same site in the same medium. Not only did this bring together the Eastern tradition of ink drawing with the more recent rise of Western performance art, it also posed questions about the “reality” of landscape painting. Although the artists were using the same specific landscape as inspiration, they each constructed their own distinct interpretations. Like Richardson’s installations which feature modified landscapes, the artists used this single landscape as a starting point to create works with augmented and altered meaning.

Sentimental Journey at the CAG in 2009 invited a group of artists from British Columbia to engage with ideas of the personal journey based on eighteenth and nineteenth century Romanticism. In this exhibition, it was not necessarily “landscapes” that were put on view. Instead, the artists went on their own expeditions, gathering information from the spaces they experienced to create their own individual pieces. The resulting works did not necessarily picture the landscapes themselves. While much of the work produced would be seen by many as completely different to the traditional idea of landscape in art history, when you think about it, both these and more conventional styles of landscape painting are based on an artist’s own experience looking at, or journeying through, a specific space.

The CAG’s LANDSCAPE publication examines even more of this subject and is available in our bookshop. Come check out Kelly Richardson’s Legion next week to experience for yourself her awesome and immersive pieces—the opening is on Thursday July 10 from 7-10pm and the exhibition is on until August 31!

- Kelli Sturkenboom

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From the Archives | Exploring the Landscapes of the CAG


This post written by Kelli Sturkenboom is the first in a series titled ‘From the Archives’ which will highlight and explore moments in CAG history related to current programming and events. Look for new posts every Thursday.

I was looking through publications from past CAG exhibitions and stumbled upon a catalogue for Tendencies: New Art From Mexico City, an exhibition displayed here in 1996. Guest curated by Rubén Gallo and Terence Gower, this exhibition featured eight artists from Mexico and touched on notions of the difficulty of explicitly defining “Mexican culture” and “Mexican identity.” The artists were; Rodrigo Aldana, Marco Arce, Aurora Boreal, Eduardo Cervantes, Silvia Gruner, Yishai Jusidman, Daniela Rossell and Saúl Villa. Gallo discussed how, rather than being an exhibition of “Mexican art,” this collection challenges us to think about the limitations of categorizing these works as such.

Currently, the CAG is presenting an installation by Mexican artist Stefan Brüggemann; Headlines and Last Lines in the Movies and the CAG Shop has copies of his limited edition bookwork of the same name.  Although Brüggemann’s first language is Spanish, the installation features a collection of news story headlines and quotes from movies spray-painted in English on the gallery’s boarded-up façade. The headlines are collected from both local and global sources; some even referencing Vancouver.

What I like most about this work is the fact that it creates conversation. I’ve seen many people posting on social media questioning whether it is “for real” or vandalism, identifying their favourite phrases, and guessing what sources some of the lines come from. Like Tendencies, it also addresses the idea of the artist’s identity and whether Headlines and Last Lines in the Movies, with references to Canadian news stories and Hollywood films, can be described as “Mexican art.”

Join the conversation–come visit us at 555 Nelson Street before September 7 to see Brüggemann’s installation and check out Tendencies: New Art From Mexico City and Headlines and Last Lines in the Movies in the CAG bookshop!

Visit the CAG then tweet or post your pics of the mural to @CAGVancouver  #headlinesandlastlines

- Kelli Sturkenboom

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From the Archives | Tendencies: New Art From Mexico City


My name is Kelli Sturkenboom and this summer I will be working as the Communications Intern at the Contemporary Art Gallery. I have just completed my third year of study towards a B.A.Hons. in Art History with a minor in Management at McGill University in Montreal. For the past nine months I have been on exchange at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, and having returned only two weeks ago, I’m still adjusting to this completely different pace of life (and time zone).

I am really looking forward to gaining hands-on experience at the gallery this summer. I have always been interested in working in a space like this, but until now I have only been given the opportunity to experience similar institutions as a visitor. I am excited to be involved in the production of the gallery’s functions for its enthusiastic guests, as well as contribute to spreading information and creating buzz about the awesome exhibitions, programs and events that the Contemporary Art Gallery puts on for those who may be unfamiliar with it. So far, I have been working on research related to social and online media and how use of certain platforms can benefit the gallery.

Stay tuned to the CAG Blog for updates about my projects throughout the summer.

PS: I can’t wait for the upcoming exhibition at the CAG; Legion by Kelly Richardson which opens on Thursday July 10, 7-10pm. Join me for the opening!

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Hello from Kelli!


A Vancouver Draw Down report…

On Saturday June 14 I spent the afternoon at the Yaletown-Roundhouse Station with CAG Development Assistant, Olivia and CAG volunteer, Alex as a part of Vancouver Draw Down: the annual city-wide event that invites Vancouverites of all ages to take part in various drawing activities.

The CAG’s contribution to the day-long event was Boulevard Station a drawing workshop that saw participants trace over the top of Marian Penner Bancroft’s installation Boulevard  at the Canada Line’s Yaletown-Roundhouse Station.

Boulevard, a work of mirrored and kaleidoscoped Golden Elms and Sequoias trees, was a perfect venue for our tracing activity. All afternoon we traced different areas of Bancroft’s mural with charcoal, conte, pencils, markers or whatever else people wanted to work with! We got some amazing, creative and beautiful images! Even if the same spot was retraced, they still turned out looking unique and captivating. After each trace was finished we added them to a piece of plywood and created our own hybrid kaleidoscope community tree. It was amazing to see all the different styles, colours and lines that make up one abstract tree, see above for pics from the day and of the drawings made.

We had a great time and I can’t wait to be a part of more public program events at the CAG!

 

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Rounding up Yaletown at the Yaletown-Roundhouse Station for Draw Down


We are very pleased to welcome Sofia and Eva as Curatorial Interns at the gallery, please read on as they introduce themselves:

Hi, my name is Eva Tweedie, the UBC CCST Curatorial Intern. I am halfway through my first year in the Curatorial and Critical Studies (CCST) program at the University of British Columbia and am looking forward to getting some hands-on gallery experience this summer. So far during my time at the CAG I have been working with artists in our upcoming summer exhibition The Act of Seeing with One’s Own Eyes to prepare for the installation of their works. I have also been doing research on other artists who will be exhibiting here at the CAG later this year, and in 2015.

My name is Sofia Stalner and I am a Curatorial Intern and recent graduate from the Critical and Curatorial Studies Program at the University of British Columbia. I have been working on the collection which helped establish the CAG and is owned by the City of Vancouver, updating the database and registry, as well as receiving artworks from the collection that have been displayed throughout Vancouver, primarily on office walls. I am currently compiling information as research toward a hopeful and necessary move of the collection to a larger storage facility.  Here is a little bit of a background on the unique collection we have:

Established in 1971 as the Greater Vancouver Artist’s Gallery, through federal employment programs for artists, the Contemporary Art Gallery (CAG) was incorporated as a non-profit charitable society in 1976. From 1971 to 1978, artists were hired for six month periods to produce art for exhibition which was then accessioned into the City of Vancouver Art Collection. The City of Vancouver Art Collection of 3,000 works of art which are circulated in public spaces throughout City buildings and loaned for exhibition to museums and galleries.

- Stay tuned to the CAG blog for updates from Eva and Sofia on their projects and upcoming exhibitions.

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A big hello from Sofia and Eva – CAG Curatorial Interns


You are invited to visit the brand new CAG Bookshop!

The CAG Book Shop is launching this Saturday (1.30pm-2.30pm) with the first book launch and signing in the newly renovated space:
DAS ARCHIVE / THE ARCHIVE by Jürgen Partenheimer

The transformation is complete, with a new look, new shelving and increased space for many many more titles. Visitors can now browse and purchase publications from over 80 titles from our 30 year publishing history.

The bookshop features the CAG’s exhibition catalogues and artist’s book works from as far back as 1986, the shop is a great resource for anyone wanting to get a better idea of the CAG’s exhibition history including notable and pivotial publications by Stan Douglas, Christopher Williams, Damian Moppett, Hans-Peter Feldman and Frances Stark.

We are also proud to present new CAG publications on Erin Shirreff, Mungo Thomson, Nathan Coley and Jürgen Partenheimer, all available for sale in the shop.

We also carry additional publications on artists exhibited at the gallery with select books on Nancy Holt, James Welling, Mike Nelson, and Kay Rosen to name a few.

In addition to buying books and catalogues, visitors can also find information on upcoming talks and events and use the space to sit down and leaf through information binders on our exhibitions and projects, currently Kevin Schmidt, Marian Penner Bancroft, Tim Etchells and Broken City Lab.

Please visit the shop section of our website for detailed information on all our publications. Click here for the CAG online SHOP.

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New CAG Book Shop: Come see the new look!


 

 

It is with deep sadness we at the Contemporary Art Gallery learn of the death of Itee Pootoogook. His exhibition here last year proved a highlight of our program, it success seen in the positive reception from critics and visitors alike. We remember him fondly through his work which lives on.

The CAG exhibited Itee Pootoogook in 2013 with the solo exhibition Buildings and Land and an off-site commission Sky At Night  at the Yaletown-Roundhouse Station, Canada Line. A selection of images from the exhibitions are seen above.
“His drawings of vernacular architecture in the North are daring in their simplicity, and his portraits of everyday activities, such as watching TV and fixing skidoos, are similarly unsettling in their apparent modesty and their claims about the sources and nature of Inuit art.”

- Lisa Gregoire, Nunatsiaq online

http://www.nunatsiaqonline.ca/stories/article/65674canada_loses_a_nunavut_master_of_contemporary_inuit_art/

http://blogs.vancouversun.com/2014/03/20/itee-pootoogook-innovative-nunavut-artist-dead-at-63/

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Remembering Itee Pootoogook


On Thursday, December 12th, the Point Grey Secondary grade twelve, Art Careers class visited the Contemporary Art Gallery for a full day workshop. 

They spent the day exploring James Welling’s exhibition The Mind On Fire with a focus on studying curatorial practice and conceptual art practices.  As part of the investigation they undertook an experiential response to Welling’s working methods, by conducting a photo-shoot in which students were asked to explore in-camera abstraction techniques. They spent their lunch hours creating images while exploring downtown Vancouver. 

The students were interested in questioning our assumptions of perception and the photographic image, as well as how the inherent ambiguity affected the reading of an image. The students met afterward to discuss and edit the images and categorize them based on the abstraction technique or subject matter of the photographs.  In effect the students curated an exhibition of photography, taking a cue from Welling in grouping images based on intended effect.

The CAG is excited to present a selection images of their work, see above for a slide show. A big thank you to the whole Point Grey HS  Art Careers class and the artists we are presenting here: Kiel Torres, Catherine Wang, Cosette Bote, Aly Slobadov, Nancy Tseng, Forever Young, Kevin McAllum. They’ve posted more images on their Point Grey Art Blog.

The CAG welcome groups of all ages and levels for free guided visits. We also produce guided visits with art-making responses to the exhibitions on display.

Contact s.dacey@contemporaryartgallery.ca for more information.

- Shaun Dacey, Curator of Learning and Public Programs

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Brains ‘A’ flame: Point Grey High School’s response to James Welling’s “Mind on Fire”


Hi everyone, my name is Sojin. I’m a recent Visual Arts graduate from Emily Carr University of Art + Design (ECUAD). During my studies at ECUAD I began to develop my interest in curatorial practice. I’m particularly interested in the idea of space both in its physical and metaphysical (re)presentation. Creating unity out of fractured pieces and coming up with a narrative of my own is what I enjoy the most about curating. Besides my curatorial interest, I also paint and sculpt! For the past two years, I’ve worked with Vancouver’s experimental galleries and artist run centres to study how galleries function. For this year I’ll be working at the Contemporary Art Gallery (CAG) as Program Assistant, assisting the CAG team with the highly anticipated public programs and further learning about galleries in depth.

My first week of work was action-packed. For the first couple of days, I studied the two current exhibitions—Aurélien Froment Fröbel Fröbeled and Tim Etchells Who Knows. I had an opportunity to glimpse at how the exhibitions are organized from scratch by being involved in the process, you will be surprised to know the amount of time and effort it takes to actualize an exhibition. In the last few days of the week I helped staff and volunteers with the packing of Mungo Thomson and Erin Shirreff publications for them to be shipped to the Los Angeles Art Book Fair, which the CAG is participating in.

There always is a bitter emptiness when art works are taken down from gallery walls. The spatial emptiness was particularly evident in the de-install of James Welling’s show since the exhibition itself was quite bodily in its presentation. As you can see from the pictures above, Welling’s works were packed up into crates, leaving only the skeletal structure of the walls that once embodied the energetic volume and rhythm of the corpus. The memory lingered on me for a while.

In no time at all the new crates arrived, walls were painted white, but more importantly, the artist Aurélien Froment arrived. During the conversation I had with Nigel Prince, the Director of the CAG, I was able to imagine the new exhibitions viscerally. For Fröbel Fröbeled, the gallery is divided into two different spaces, one for adults and the other for children; Fröbel’s Gifts will also be displayed on plinths for public interaction. Fröbel, a founder of kindergarten and an inventor of the Play Gifts, will be introduced with photographs. When you come see the show, it is important to understand that these Gifts are not just cylinders, spheres, square blocks and strings, but are creative tools to (re)imagine oneself in relation to the Universe or to something much more expansive. Meanwhile, the building’s façade features a new neon commission by British artist Tim Etchells. The façade is set up with twenty-two phrases of single line block neon letters stating ‘I KNOW, ‘YOU KNOW’, ‘WE KNOW’, ‘THEY KNOW’. The short sinister statements along with vibrant neon colours makes it seem like you are standing in front of someone who is looking deep inside you. Full of character and attitude, Etchell’s neon works bring out an eerie but comical atmosphere to the neighborhood. The display sparks with theatricality in the text with the very act of reading and further investigates the idea of surveillance with humor and wit. The works of both Aurélien Froment and Tim Etchells suggest new ways of understanding identity formation through various interactive approaches.

For this partnership with PuSh International Performing Art Festival, Etchell’s Sight Is The Sense That Dying People Tend to Lose First and The Quiet Volume was also available for public viewing.

I am thrilled to work on these multi-faceted exhibitions, exciting off-site programs and performances. I am sure that the dialogue they create with the public will disseminate well beyond the walls of the gallery.

I look forward to meeting you all!

Sojin

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First week on the job!


The Vancouver Art/Book Fair occurred this month on Oct 5/6, 2013, drawing crowds of varying age groups from the curious to the connoisseur. Exhibitors occupied various rooms, on three different floors, within the annex area at the Vancouver Art Gallery. Exhibitors had on display zines, magazines, books about art, artist books and ephemera were on display to peruse, discuss and purchase.

Exhibitors were local, national and international in scope. Grassroots organizations; distributors and publishers; established galleries; and more set up displays to sell limited editions and/or mass produced publications. I noticed a selection of the Contemporary Art Gallery (CAG) publications gracing the tables of various exhibitors. The subtle salesmanship from seasoned exhibitors (with stacks of their select publications) took place alongside earnest first time exhibitors launching singular publication.

Also taking place were Fair programmed talks and workshops where publishers, galleries and artists spoke about their publishing practices and experiences. Workshops about artist books occurred, with artists and publishers outlining their processes from the initial concept to publishing options.

Artist books seemed prevalent at the fair. For those unfamiliar with the concept of an artist books, I will explain some features to differentiate this form of publication from other art books. I would describe an artist book as an artwork that is primarily conceived of and/or produced by an artist. They can be handmade (from concept to content) or produced by the artist(s) and processed as a limited edition through a printer and/or publisher. In recent months, I’ve encountered artist books at CAG exhibitions by artists such as Ciprian Muresan, Kay Rosen and currently Mike Nelson. Additionally, I’ve had the pleasure of cataloging various artist books, while volunteering at the CAG working in the Abraham Rogatnick Library collection. These art objects can have a tangible permanence in an individual’s life or literary collection beyond an exhibition time frame. By this I mean that limited editions of artist books might circulate as an art object within a collection (public or private) and be handled and seen by a wider audience, than for example, an artist’s painting or installation.

Moreover, artist books have been described as leading to new outlets of development or avenues of production for the artist(s). The work developed in an artist book might be the starting point of a project that is transformed or developed into other means of production and so forth. For example, I sat in on a presentation by a small publishing house, La Silueta Ediciones, based in Bogata, Columbia. The speaker stated that their mandate was to “publish books that [they] believe should exist.” He described how one of the artist books they produced gave rise to its development into an awards winning animated film. Here we saw a book with personal, community and political undertones depicted with the artwork engaging with individual and groups. Other artist books have been seen to have impact in terms of addressing political issues, fostering advocacy work, and more.

Artist books seem to be a sort of bridge to exhibition spaces for both producer and viewer. And according to some exhibitors producers of such work have been finding a surprisingly successful production return. Not only in terms of a viable revenue stream, but also for drawing interest that are non-arts based. One exhibitor described the art world as a “somewhat incestuous group,” but that they have seen interest for artist book from a following that was not the usual arts based suspects. Artist books are garnering interest from a diverse spectrum of the population; individuals from all walks of life and varying interests are engaging with art in their everyday lives in unexpected forms and places. Could this be the humanist perspective at work? The belief that art plays an important part in an individual’s life.

Even so, any art publications and their life beyond or instead of an exhibition, raises questions about the effects on the individual seeing original art work versus reproductions within alternative formats. This is a topic that was raised during Erin Shirreff’s recent exhibition at the CAG with respect to her engagement with the sculptures of Tony Smith in texts versus in person. Does prior knowledge about an artwork alter ones perception, in the reading or researching of work prior to seeing the work itself? I’ve been challenged by this conundrum when researching artists and artwork. Often the only means of viewing work is in some from of reproduction removed form the original form. For me it has been a question about the impact of art work and the journey one takes in engaging with artwork. I consider the possibilities of what might be overridden or misdirected in an initial processing of an artwork due to the filters of others critiques echoing through my own thoughts. However this is a larger discussion this is perhaps best saved for another time or place.

- Jocelyn Statia, CAG library volunteer

 

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Vancouver Art/Book Fair 2013


The rain stopped briefly today to allow for the installation of the very colourful Negative Space by Mungo Thomson, part of CAPTURE Photography Festival which launches tomorrow, Tuesday Oct 1 at the Museum of Vancouver.

Take a look, at some ‘sneak peak’ pics from the installation this afternoon at the Yaletown-Roundhouse Station, Canada Line, or… if you are travelling on the Canada Line, get off at the Yaletown-Roundhouse station and take a look for yourself!

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Installing Rainbows and Negative Space, Mungo Thomson in Yaletown


British artist Mike Nelson continues his scouring of Vancouver and lower mainland beaches for flotsom and jetsam in preparation for his ambitious solo exhibition at the CAG which opens on Friday September 13. Photographs by Phil Dion.

The exhibition includes two brand new commissions, a sculptural work produced in partnership with Toronto’s Power Plant and a new photographic work made in association with the Banff Centre, Walter Phillips Gallery.

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Beach combing with Mike


British artist Mike Nelson arrived in Vancouver last Friday to begin work on his upcoming exhibition at the CAG for which he will present two new works.

With just over a month to the opening Mike is getting right to the task of collecting beach debris off local and regional shores, to build what will be his first solo exhibition in Canada. On Monday he started combing the beaches along the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal and Iona Beach in Richmond.

Here are a few images from his first day’s search and findings!

Posted by Michaela Rife. Photos by Derek Brunnen.

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Mike Nelson begins work on his upcoming exhibition at the CAG


Mike Nelson’s fourth day of beachcombing proves fruitful. Here are a couple of behind-the-scenes photos with a sneak peek at some of his findings!

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Mike Nelson at the mouth of the Fraser River


Today, the CAG (and people across Canada) celebrate Nunavut Day, a day that commemorates the NLCA (the Nunavut Land Claim Agreement). The NLCA is the largest comprehensive claim settlement in Canada, and it marked the first time that the Canadian map has changed since 1949 (with the incorporation of Newfoundland and Labrador).

Nunavut Day is a day to celebrate arctic traditions and the northern way of life. As our current exhibition features Inuit artist Itee Pootoogook, we invite anyone interested in celebrating Nunavut Day in Vancouver to join us and experience his work.

While you might seek out Wikipediato learn more about Nunavut today, the listing doesn’t say much about their fine arts scene. There has been an accelerated change in artistic expression in the past 50 years as many modern Inuit artists react to the present and the wider, more accessible world. Today’s northern nunavut artist is not as isolated, and the work produced is more contemporary, but no less representative.

If you are unable to make it today to the gallery, be sure to visit us on our forthcoming English, French, and Spanish tours of the current CAG exhibitions.

As I was researching more about Nunavut Day, I learned that while the official languages of Nunavut are English and French, 8% of the population speaks neither English, French, nor Inuktitut (the primary language of Nunavut). Unfortunately, my language skills are limited to English and French, so to those remaining 8%, I say: Nunavut Quviahugvik (Happy Times Nunavut in Inuinnagtun!)

***

Aujourd’hui, le CAG (et les personnes à travers le Canada) célèbrent la journée Nunavut qui commémore l’ARTN (Accord sur les revendications territoriales du Nunavut). L’Accord est le plus important règlement de revendications territoriales au Canada, et il a marqué la première fois que le plan canadien a changé depuis 1949 (avec l’incorporation de Terre-Neuve et Labrador).

La journée du Nunavut est une journée pour célébrer les traditions arctiques et la vie nordique. Comme notre exposition actuelle présente l’artiste inuit Itee Pootoogook, nous vous invitons à célébrer la journée du Nunavut à Vancouver avec nous et à découvrir son travail.

Alors que vous pourriez rechercher Wikipedia pour en savoir plus au sujet du Nunavut aujourd’hui, l’article ne dit pas beaucoup à propos de leur beaux-arts. Il y a eu un changement accéléré dans les expressions artistiques dans les 50 dernières années et nombreux artistes inuits modernes réagissent à l’actualité et à le monde plus accessible. Ces artistes d’aujourd’hui n’est pas aussi isolé, et le travail qu’ils produisent est plus contemporain, mais non moins introspective.

Si vous n’arrivez pas à venir aujourd’hui à la galerie, n’hésitez pas à nous rendre visite à nos visites guidées à venir en anglais, français, et espagnol de les expositions au CAG.

Comme je faisais des recherches au sujet de la journée du Nunavut, j’ai appris que même si ses langues officielles sont l’anglais et le français, 8% de la population ne parle ni anglais, ni français, ni l’inuktitut (la langue principale parlé au Nunavut). Malheureusement, mes compétences linguistiques sont limitées à l’anglais et le français (rouillée), donc à ceux qui tombent au 8%, je dis: Nunavut Quviahugvik (temps heureux Nunavut!)

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Happy Nunavut Day | Joyeuse journée du Nunavut


In partnership with the City of Vancouver Field House Studio Residency Program, the Contemporary Art Gallery is pleased to present Canadian artist Raymond Boisjoly as our inaugural resident artist.

For six months he will occupy the Burrard Marina Field House, using it as a studio and a place for community engagement, coinciding with the launch of As It Comes, two new interrelated public works. The title appears at the Yaletown-Roundhouse Station as a discrete piece, humorously foreboding, and more comic than terrifying, presented in brightly coloured vinyl like a credit from a B-list horror film. Linked to the text in the gallery windows, Boisjoly removes all suggestions of the past, not to deny what has become history, but with the intent to restore belief systems that are still intact.

Raymond Boisjoly
As It Comes
February 8 to June 16, 2013
Window Spaces and off-site at Yaletown-Roundhouse Station, Canada Line and Field House Studio Residency Program.

Opening reception: Thursday February 7, 7–10 pm
Please join us to celebrate the opening of our new exhibitions and to launch this new initiative.

The inaugural residency with Raymond Boisjoly is generously supported by the Vancouver Park Board and the City of Vancouver through its Field House Studio Residency Program and by the Province of British Columbia through the Ministry of Advanced Education, Innovation and Technology.

As It Comes at Yaletown-Roundhouse Station, Canada Line is presented in partnership with the Canada Line Public Art Program — Intransit BC.

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Announcing: The Fieldhouse Studio Residency Program partnership


Since mid-July, WAVES by Nicolas Sassoon has been on view at the Yaletown-Roundhouse Skytrain Station. This is the second commission the CAG has produced for this public space. The first was Scott Massey’s poetic blue sky.

Currently Nicolas Sassoon’s graphic mural is installed on the north window of the Station. For this work, Nicolas created a multi-layer Moire pattern to intentional cause an optical effect that gives an impression of movement – so commuters can see WAVES “moving” as they are passing by to catch their train.

The installation seems to evolve during the day with the change of light. WAVES is highlighted in the morning from the inside of the station, because of the rising sun, and from the outside in the late afternoon. The wind also accentuates the pattern by making the layer vibrate gently and when a train passes through the turbulence adds a dramatic tension.

Every day I commute through this station myself, and as I go down the stairs, I can sense the effect’s of the mural.  It catches my field of vision and when I look closer, I notice the coloured screen of WAVES, which not only draws my attention to my own movement but also the trees and the light outside through its pixels.

Nicolas Sassoon’s Off-site project WAVES will remain on view at the Yaletown-Roundhouse Station, Canada Line until January 20, 2013.

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Moving WAVES


On Wednesday July 11 between 1:30 and 4:30 am Nicolas Sassoon with four extension ladders and some expert help installed the first layer of WAVES  at the Yaletown-Roundhouse Canada Line Station.

It was a difficult task  getting to the North windows above the stairs. We tried the morning before with a boom, but couldn’t get the massive machine through the door.

Thanks to Contrada Enterprises LTD for helping us solve the problem. In less than 24 hours they pulled together a great crew who fearlessly climbed the 40 foot extension ladders and clamped on the frame in less than three hours.

The mural was finished the next afternoon by Proper Design who perfectly applied the second layer to the outside windows.

Many thanks to both. The piece looks great. It is on view at the Yaletown-Roundhouse Station, Canada Line until January 20, 2013. We hope you get to see it numerous times.

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Open Your Eyes and Watch Your Step at the Yaletown-Roundhouse Station


Thank you to everyone who came to Sarah Browne’s talk on Saturday July 14th. We were delighted to welcome an excellent attendance to the gallery.

The event was timed to correspond with Sarah Browne’s exhibition, How To Use Fool’s Gold, which opened on Thursday July 12. During her talk, Browne spoke on the economic structures and social relations that are intrinsic to her work. The exhibition is titled after the work,  How to Use Fool’s Gold (Pyrite Radio) (2012), a crystal radio which collects the broadcasts that fill the air around us, a metaphor for those things of value that go unseen, revealed by a mineral mistaken as a precious commodity. The piece is the first work encountered, visitors are able to listen in on headphones.

This survey exhibition is Dublin-based artist Sarah Browne’s first exhibition in North America, the exhibition continues until September 2, 2012.

A full colour publication How To Use Fool’s Gold, accompanies the exhibition for the special exhibition price of $30. It includes essays by Tessa Giblin, Curator of Visual Arts, Project Arts Centre Dublin and artist Jeremy Millar. Also available are three more publications on Sarah Browne, A Model Society: Patterns & Thoughts, Sarah Browne/IrelandVenice and Lebensreform in Leitrim all available for sale at the gallery. For more information on all the publications visit: http://www.contemporaryartgallery.ca/#news

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Artist Talk by Sarah Browne


If you were walking down Nelson Street in the evening between February 3rd and May 16th, you hopefully spied the work Aurorae by Scott Massey in the CAG street front window spaces. During the day, the window spaces appeared to be coated in some kind of nondescript blue paint and visitors would come into the gallery either unaware that there was something on display or perplexed as to what it represented. When on my volunteer shift at the gallery, I would welcome visitors to make a date to come back to the gallery after dark so that they could enjoy the light-show piece, but as the gallery was closed most evenings after 6 pm, I never really saw if anyone came back to satisfy their curiosity.

I was  lucky enough to have a friend live in the building across the street and we made a special tea & art viewing date together, specifically so that we could spend an evening with Aurorae.

But even if you didn’t have a friend living across the street from the gallery, or if you didn’t find the time after dark to see Massey’s light display piece in the window spaces, you’re able to see it here thanks to his time lapse video below.

As the night sky lightens on Massey’s celestial light-show phenomenon, the light takes on a more earthly halogen with Josephine Meckseper’s discussion on consumer culture and the world of advertising. The exhibition American Leg by Josephine Meckseper opens on Thursday, May 24th (7-10 PM). Currently based in New York, this will be Meckseper’s first exhibition in Canada.  Additionally Josephine Meckseper will talk on her work on Wednesday May 23 at 7 pm at SFU Woodwards, Goldcorp Centre for the Arts, 149 West Hastings Street, this talk is free and all are welcome.

Scott Massey’s Off-site project Via Lactea (above Glacier Lake) will remain on view at the Yaletown-Roundhouse Station, Canada Line until July 1st. This piece, also dealing with the night sky, can be seen in the day time (or night time).

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Window Spaces Fade to Black


Tonight at 7pm art historian and writer Catherine Soussloff gives a talk that launches a new round of events at the CAG, titled the “Feedback Series.”

This new series invites cultural and critical producers to present thoughts and ideas rooted in their own interests and practices, and invites audiences to join in the conversations that will explore relevant contemporary issues, theories, ideas and culture.

Catherine Soussloff will respond to Matthew Monahan’s work presenting a talk entitled, “Death, Benjamin and Melancholy.”  She will address disciplines of historiography, theory and philosophy in a conversation with the audience.

Thank you to those who attended the CAG’s opening last Thursday, April 26th for Matthew Monahan’s first exhibition in Canada. The exhibition will be on view until July 1, 2012.

As of today, Tuesday, May 1st, the CAG has extended its hours and is now open from Tuesday – Sunday, 12pm until 6pm. There are now more opportunities to visit and explore Matthew Monahan’s work at the CAG.

Image: Matthew Monahan, installation view at the Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver. Courtesy Anton Kern Gallery and Stuart Shave/Modern Art. Photo: Karina Irvine.

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New Talks at the CAG: Feedback Series – Tonight at 7pm: Catherine Soussloff


Matthew Monahan is interviewed for Life on Mars the Carnegie International in 2008. Matthew Monahan’s first Canadian solo exhibition opens at the Contemporary Art Gallery on Thursday April 26 and continues until July 1, 2012.

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Matthew Monahan opens tonight at the CAG


There are only a few days left to see both Guo Fengyi and Frances Stark’s work at the Contemporary Art Gallery.

Sunday April 15th is your last chance to view the exhibitions Guo Fengyi and Frances Stark My Best Thing.

And YOGA. After a very successful and sold out yoga event on Sunday March 25th at the Contemporary Art Gallery, we have once again partnered with Yoga Outreach to present one last yoga workshop on the closing day of the exhibition, this Sunday from 11am to 1pm.

To accommodate for this special yoga fundraising event we are thrilled to extend our hours on Sunday from 1 pm to 7pm  for a final view of these two extraordinary exhibitions. We look forward to seeing you this weekend at the Contemporary Art Gallery.

Yoga Workshop

Sunday, April 15, 11 am - 1 pm
Participate in a yoga workshop in the gallery surrounded by the large-scale drawings by Chinese artist Guo Fengyi. Master Tantric yoga teacher Mary-Jo Fetterly leads a class held in the context of the solo exhibition of Fengyi’s complex and intricate drawings.

Cost $35
Register here 
Proceeds go to support the work of Yoga Outreach.

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Exhibitions close this Sunday, practice yoga in the gallery and extended hours


On Sunday April 1st at the CAG, Tate Modern curator  Mark Godfrey gave an engaging talk on Frances Stark’s practice in relation to her work My Best Thing to over 100 visitors.  Frances Stark’s My Best Thing is a feature length animation film currently on view until Sunday April 15. Here are some images of the event taken by CAG volunteer Jamie Dolinko.

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A full house for Mark Godfrey’s talk on Frances Stark


Beginning May 25 through September 2 2012, Josephine Meckseper will create eight new works for the window vitrines on the CAG’s exterior. Currently based in New York, this will be Meckseper’s first exhibition in Canada. Utilizing these spaces as a site that mimics a commercial display, her work invites a critique of the aesthetic  and political connotations of the objects presented within. The juxtapositions of materials and objects in her installations compose a kind of narrative that challenge the world of advertising and consumer culture.

Below is an interview with Josephine Meckseper and Flavin Judd from Bomb Magazine speaking about her work and practice.

http://bombsite.com/issues/999/articles/3233

Karina Irvine – Curatorial Intern

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Next on at the CAG: Josephine Meckseper


Endless Renovation, Corin Sworn’s solo exhibition at the Contemporary Art Gallery, incorporated a freshly cut floral bouquet which sat on the floor illuminated by an old school slide projector.   On five mirrored shelves were ten vases, spanning different decades from as early as 1880 to the late 1980s.   Once the flowers started wilting, almost weekly,  a vase was selected from one of the shelves and brought to the local florist, who was asked to design an arrangement according to the era of the vase. Here is a record.

For images of the exhibition visit http://contemporaryartgallery.ca/#exhibitions

Thanks to Divine Vines http://www.divinevines.ca/



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Temporary Arrangement


Stop by the CAG tomorrow at 3pm for a guided visit of the exhibition: Thomas Bewick, Tale-pieces, led by Executive Director Nigel Prince. While you are here you can also visit:  Corita Kent,  To create is to relate, both exhibitions run until October 30th, 2011.

Guided visits occur regularly throughout our programming, they are always free and they provide a great opportunity to develop new skills to interpret the art or to simply take a closer look at the exhibition.

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Guided visit tomorrow!


We’ve had a very eventful week here at the CAG. In Celebration of our 40th anniversary and the opening of our Current Exhibition we’ve held not one, not two, not three, but four fun events! It’s been pretty great (albiet a tad exhausting for some of our dedicated staff).

On Wednesday September 7th we held a donors preview and screen printing workshop. We were lucky enough to have thirteen of Corita Kent’s original screens to combine in any way guests pleased. Everyone was provided with preprinted cloth aprons to protect their fancy wares and Meggan Winsley from Malaspina Printmakers was on hand to help guests pull the  screens. Best of all, everyone who participated got to walk away with their very own Corita Kent inspired print.

Present as well were members of the University of British Columbia Opera. In ode to Corita’s influencial friends (Charles and Ray Eames, Buckminster Fuller, and John Cage to be counted among them), Heather Malloy and Rebecca Paulding performed two of John Cage’s lesser known songs (and by that I mean lesser known than the famous Four minutes, thirty three seconds), Number Sixteen from Song Books and Aria.

The following night welcomed a crowd for the official opening of our current Corita Kent, Thomas Bewick, and Federico Herrero exhibition. What began as a typical art opening (what does that really mean, anyways?) quickly turned into a full blown party.

Members of the UBC Opera performed for a second time, and as the lights dimed everyone loosened their shirt collars to dance to the musical stylings of DJ David Wisdom. The loading bay was tranformed into party central with cupcakes provided by Coco cupcakes, goody bags, a Corita Kent inspired stamp station, personalized crepe paper ‘hats’ for the especially festive guests, and a slideshow showing exhibition documentation from our last 40 years in operation.

The week’s events wrapped up on Saturday with Family Day. We were pleased to welcome children, big and small, to come and see the new exhibition, print t-shirts, and hold a Happening/Parade. With newly minted Corita Kent inspired shirts and banners, guests and musicians took to the streets on one of the warmest days of the summer to celebrate art and life.

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Preview, Opening, Birthday, Family Day, Oh my!


Flesh and Blood, Shary Boyle’s solo exhibition closed yesterday. It was a busy weekend with nearly 100 visitors. Today Phil Dion is fastidiously packing it up and preparing to ship the works back to Toronto. The gallery will be closed for the next two weeks. We will reopen on the  September 8, from 6-9pm with three new exhibitions To create is to relate by Corita Kent, Tale-pieces by Thomas Bewick, and Vibrantes by Federico Herrero, regular gallery hours are Wednesday to Sunday, 12-6 pm. Hope to see you soon!

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flesh and blood packed in crates


Installation – behind the scenes – images from the exhibition by Kirsten Pieroth,  I don’t know if Thomas Edison invented the excuse in 2004.

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BRICKS BRICKS BRICKS


The Contemporary Art Gallery is pleased to welcome returning staff member,  Lisa Fedorak!

Lisa joins us now from her post as the Executive Director of  Malaspina Printmakers to take up the post of  Program Administrator.  Lisa states that; “She is thrilled to be back  and she is looking forward to all the exciting programming in the months to come”. Speaking of which, don’t forget to check out the current Shary Boyle exhibition and Ron Tran off-site before they both close on Sunday August 21st.

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Welcome Back, Lisa!


It is always exciting to retrace the path of an artist you admire.

Today, the gracefulness and lightness of Elspeth Pratt’s work adorns the urban Offsite exhibition space of the VAG. It looks novel and contemporary, seemingly hand-made and whimsical but rendered in a scale that is normally out of proportion to the material.

In this blog entry, I’d like to consider Pratt’s journey towards becoming an important figure in the Vancouver art scene in relation to the CAG.

In several ways the CAG played an important role in her artistic career, being the site of her first solo exhibition. In 1985, Pratt  reflected on social commentary, urban issues, art, architecture and man-made environment through her formal sculptures.

In 1988, Robert Linsley, with assistance from the CAG, curated an exhibition of three Canadian sculptors held at Sala 1 gallery in Rome.  Among them, Elspeth Pratt would travel to Italy to present her abstract yet gestural sculptures to a European audience in an exhibition entitled “Architettura: Astrazione”.

These are not the only instances Pratt has shown work at the CAG. She also exhibited  Bluff in the gallery’s street front windows in 2007. This site-specific work commented on the lack of foresight that characterises downtown Vancouver’s residential-highrise industry.

Currently Pratt’s name is listed among 1000 others in  the windows as a reminder of the gallery’s artistic legacy and in commemoration of their 40th anniversary.

To view a short video of the artist commenting on her work, please follow this link:

http://www.contemporaryartgallery.ca/_content/uploads/f6387c4a-4921-102c-a8fe-25f148930a79/1276800597_elpseth_final_weLg_Prog001.mov

To read a recent article on Elspeth Pratt’s work at the VAG Offsite location, please refer to:

http://www.straight.com/article-404561/vancouver/two-galleries-head-outdoors

Ksenia Cheinman

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From the Archives – Spotlight on Elspeth Pratt: from “Bluff” to “Second Date”


On Saturday July 9th, Ron Tran gave a personal walking tour of his latest project, A Way to Go, which is itself a guided tour. Tran lead the attendees and a pony through alleys, which he named based on his earlier experience. The artist interspersed personal antidotes to elaborate on the prerecorded audio and images of the augmented reality tour.

At “stops” along the way Tran spoke about his interest in using the form of a guided walk to structure and depict his own experience of the city. Its formal characteristics spurred him to traverse places he wouldn’t normally consider, build narrative associations between specific locations, establish relationships with people he encountered and employ new technologies to guide an audience on an unexpected route through Vancouver’s downtown core.

Tran led a pony on his walking tour. This performative gesture was deliberately comic, adding a fantastical element that no doubt caused some double takes and created a degree of surprise. However, the animal also functioned romantically, as a poetic device to conjure a past time, becoming the antithesis of the GPS technology utilized as a guiding tool for this project.

A Way to Go, is the first in a series of projects using interactive technologies which take programming outside of the gallery allowing audiences to experience contemporary art within the wider context of the city. Working with Autobox Media and Hannah Hughes, the Contemporary Art Gallery has designed a program that uses Layar Reality Browser to guide audiences on a journey where they can explore and interact with artwork they encounter along the way. These projects will work on iphone and android smartphone’s. Devices are available at the gallery for visitors wishing to borrow one.

 

For more inforamtion please go to our website:  http://www.contemporaryartgallery.ca/#home

 

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Walking Tour with Ron Tran: Postscript


Hello dear CAG Blog readers,

My name is Kevin Day. I am one of the new curatorial interns who just joined the Contemporary Art Gallery this month. Today I had the privilege of taking Ron Tran’s A Way to Go, an off-site project involving a guided tour of the artist’s earlier experience of walking through the downtown area. The following are some thoughts I had while taking the tour.

As I came to Emery Barnes Park and listened to the interview with the caretaker of the fountain, there was an uncanny doubling as I was confronted with the feeling that the caretaker was right there talking beside me, yet concurrently, with the realization that he is at that very moment, elsewhere, operating the fountain’s machinery.

At numerous times, I made mental notes to myself that what the artist saw and experienced contrasted with what I was experiencing, such as the realization that the section between Richards and Seymour at Drake was closed off today for construction, relieving myself of the dread and danger of crossing the street that was most likely faced by Tran. Other difference included the fact that “Screaming Alley,” for me, exuded not so much screaming as its most evident trait but a strong waft of fresh laundry, and how in that same alley I did not find five dollars like Tran did but instead a red suitcase.

At Davie and Red Scarf Alley where the artist directed us towards the Found Balloon, I followed Tran’s exact point of view and movements as I watched the video of the balloon traversing the streets.

A constant sentiment that occurred to me throughout the walk was how the two distinct times/experiences (between the artist’s idiosyncratic journey and my own) forcefully merge together, simultaneously and paradoxically, even as their distinction is made evident.

The tour came to an end with an accompanying song, highlighting the common contemporary condition of not just looking at one’s phone all the time (as made evident and necessary throughout the tour), but listening to music everywhere as well, giving the semblance of having a perpetual personal soundtrack.

Here is an audio sample of A Way to Go.

9_Abandoned_Jap_auto_cen.wav

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Screaming Alley smelled like fresh laundry: an entry on Tran’s A Way to Go


Come down to the CAG to check out our new street front window display!

Since it was established in 1971, the CAG has exhibited the work of almost one thousand artists. In recognition of our 40th anniversary, we wanted to make this history visible by displaying the names of the artists who have contributed to our exhibition programming.

The impressive list includes local heroes such as Jeff Wall, Liz Magor, Ken Lum and Stan Douglas as well as the names of rising stars like Holly Ward, who currently has a banner of her own hanging in front of the CBC building, and Stephen Shearer who is representing Canada at the Venice Biennial.

Putting the list together was a big job that involved scouring the archive. We think we got everyone, but let us know if you think a name is missing.

We would like to thank our volunteers Ksenia Cheinman and Kitsum Cheung for their work on this project.

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Celebrating 40 Years of Exhibitions


This week is National Volunteer Week and the CAG takes its hat off to our dedicated team of over 50 volunteers. We thank them for their valuable gift of expertise, amazing energy and dedication.

As Gallery Coordinator I consider myself privileged to work alongside volunteers who fulfill so many necessary roles in the organization. It might be a surprise to some to discover the sheer diversity of their backgrounds. This has encompassed occupations ranging from students, artists, teachers, architects, librarians, marketing professionals and designers through to treaty negotiators! In recognition, I would like to share with you a series of profiles that highlight the interests, backgrounds and experiences of these dedicated individuals.

What brought you to volunteer at the CAG?

I love contemporary art!  I think that there is nothing that can relay various life experiences and different perspectives better then art.  It really is the best storyteller.  So being an artist since the age of two, I decided to get a post secondary education in art and pursue it as a career.  That meant I was looking for “experience”, but also something fun relating to art which made me want to get involved with the CAG.

 What is your favorite thing about your volunteer position at the CAG?

I like talking with the various gallery visitors.  I have had some interesting  chats.  I also like my position in that I am the first person who people get a chance to talk to after they have seen the exhibit.

What and where was the first Contemporary Art work that you experienced?

It was at the Vancouver Art Gallery on a school field trip.  I was quite young, in early elementary school.  I remember seeing a piece hung on the gallery wall which consisted of a single straight line pointing upwards.  It must have been Barnet Newman or something else like his work.  But I remember I didn’t get it!  I couldn’t see the point for a creation of such simplicity hanging in a museum!  I guess my abstract mind was still developing.  Of course now I understand and enjoy the intricate use of meaning in all disciplines of contemporary art.

 What other creative activities do you do?

I am of course an artist in that I paint and draw with a focus on creativity and experimentation.  I compose and record various genres of music by playing several different instruments, but my main musical focus is playing the guitar.  I also write about art by including my various musings on life as they pertain to a particular art exhibition taking place around town. Check out Dan’s blog here: http://we-all-get-it-in-the-end.blogspot.com/

Thank you Dan for sharing! More profiles coming soon.

- Jill Henderson

Here are some favourite pics of our volunteers in action:

 

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Volunteers rule at the CAG


Our two new exhibitions, In the Near Future by Sharon Hayes and Beyond Guilt – The Trilogy by Ruti Sela & Maayan Amir are opening tomorrow evening, Thursday April 7, 6-9 pm. All of the CAG staff have been working hard in preparation. Ruti and Maayan arrived from Tel Aviv yesterday and Sharon flew in from New York City very early this morning. They were all at the gallery today to help with the installation and to talk to our volunteers and interpretive guides. Please come to the opening reception to meet the artists and view these two great works. The CAG will also present  In-Conversation with Sharon Hayes, Ruti Sela and Maayan Amir moderated by CAG Curator Jenifer Papararo on Friday, April 8, 6 pm.

Here are some photos of the exhibitions in process. See you tomorrow.

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Sneak Peek: New Exhibitions Opening Tomorrow


Roy Arden’s solo exhibition at the CAG is now closed. It was extremely well attended, with 2,479 visitors. On March 19th we celebrated the launch of Arden’s artist publication, UNDERTHESUN, which was available at the gallery free of charge and distributed to various locations around the city. We still have some of the publications left and they will be available at the CAG for the price of $10 once we reopen next week. We also released a special edition of 15 black and white archival pigment prints by Roy Arden. They were a great deal and sold out in a flash!

 

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UNDERTHESUN Goes Down


Despite recently arriving in Vancouver as the new Director, I was already back in the UK in February to install the exhibition Endless façade with artist Robert Orchardson. Orchardson was born in Dundee and now lives in London. Here’s an image of the first room at Ikon Gallery, Birmingham. A version of this ambitious new installation comes to the CAG in November.

The exhibition partially revisits stage sets designed by Isamu Noguchi in 1955 for a Royal Shakespeare Company production of King Lear. His proposals aspired to an other-worldly feeling where abstract, mobile forms created a shifting landscape against which the play unfolded. However, the designs were met with damning criticism and regarded unsympathetic. For Orchardson, who appropriates various forms and reconfigures them as prototypes for ideas, the inherent modernist idealism and eventual redundancy of the designs become carriers for something beyond themselves. Here’s a preview of some more rooms with huge monochrome cement walls acting as backdrops for a series of prop-like forms.

As well as the exhibition we’re working on a catalogue in collaboration with Ikon, the first devoted entirely to the work of Robert Orchardson.

The nature of Orchardson’s work with its references to modernist architecture and theatre design, mean the occasion of his exhibition here will mark an appropriate moment to celebrate Abraham Rogatnick’s ongoing legacy of support for the CAG. We plan to host a number of events in honour of his memory.

More blogs from me soon.

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Looking Forward to Robert Orchardson


Last night we opened Elizabeth McIntosh’s new exhibition Violet’s Hair at the CAG. There was a great turnout and there seemed to be a real excitement.

Here are some of the pictures.

photographs by Melba Dalsin

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Violet’s Hair Opening Reception


Thank you to those who attended last night’s performance, INTERMEZZO by Pablo Bronstein. We had an  incredible turnout.  For those who could not get there, here are some images from the event.

photographs by Hannah Hughes

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Full House for Pablo Bronstein


Last week during a lively guided visit to the exhibition Following A Line, students from Clinton Elementary School, Burnaby and their teacher came up with a long list of ‘deep thinking questions’ about what they saw and heard in the exhibition, here is a list of their top ten questions;

1. Why is the picture two different things ?

2. Why did the artist choose to put these two things together ?

3. Is this a painting or an actual book ?4. Where does this picture take place?

5. Why did the artist chop up the body?

6. Why does it look like some people are frozen?

7. Why are they different colours ?

8. Why is it white inside ?

9. Why is there a hand on his head?

10. What are these things ? They look like ropes and they look like nets.

If you would like to book a group on a guided visit please contact j.henderson@contemporaryartgallery.ca

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10 Questions


Last  Saturday September 25th  at 4 pm,  artist Peter Gazendam took a group of 14 on a well paced walking tour, visiting four downtown public sculptures, the walking tour was an event related to his work in the current CAG exhibition Following A Line, on view until November 7.

“The impetus for Peter Gazendam’s casual walking tour of four of Vancouver’s public sculptures is A Saloon KeeperA Newspaper, Two Wars, A Doorman. This new work, which is a founding part of the group exhibition Following A Line, uses as its base a series of collages made from snapshots of innocuous and modest, yet somewhat odious, public sculptures that the artist encountered in his daily routes through the city.  Like the collages, which Gazendam has cut out of their environment and recomposed, he further fragmented the sculptures by discussing their partial histories and formal properties through a highly subjective lens.”

Following A Line also includes work by Pablo Bronstein, Susanne Kriemann, Kyla Mallett, Alex Morrison, Frances Stark and Paul Sietsema, and runs until November 7, 2010.

Photography: Aquiles Ascencion

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Walking with Peter Gazendam


This selection of photographs of the opening night were taken by CAG volunteer Nafisa, on her ‘film’ camera, her quote about the night “we were swarmed!”

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“we were swarmed”


Last Thursday night was a busy crowded night at the CAG for the opening of Following A Line featuring artists: Pablo Bronstein, Peter Gazendam, Susanne Kriemann, Kyla Mallett, Alex Morrison, Frances Stark and Paul Sietsema. Here are a few shots of the happy visitors taken by Hannah Hughes, CAG volunteer.

Thank you everyone for coming and making it a great night!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Big crowd at the opening of ‘Following A Line’


A new persistent presence is being felt all around the CAG, it has moved in and left its thin ghostlike trace over most surfaces, DUST, Dust and more dust.

Yntil finally, from hard work and new activity, by the opening of the next exhibition it shall all be gone.

The CAG is currently installing the exhibition Following A Line: Pablo Bronstein, Peter Gazendam, Susanne Kriemann, Kyla Mallett, Alex Morrison, Frances Stark and Paul Sietsema.

Please join us for the opening next Thursday Sept 9, 6 – 9 pm.

Links about dust:

http://bit.ly/bEMj8w

http://www.gearfuse.com/slipper-genie-cleans-your-mess-looks-comfy/

http://www.cabinetmagazine.org/issues/35/dillon.php

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D is for….


$40.00

Published:
160 pages

UK based artist Kelly Richardson has won international acclaim for her large scale, multi-channel video installations. This superbly illustrated retrospective of audiovisual installations works is the first retrospective publication featuring an extensive look at the UK-based Canadian born artist's audiovisual installation works of the last fifteen years. The Last Frontier is a comprehensive survey of Richardson’s artistic output, features four beautiful cover options to choose from, and includes essays by Alistair Robinson, Holly E. Hughes and Kelly Gordon and an introduction by Ryan Doherty and Louis Grachos. Designed by Three Legged Dog Design.

This publication is available in a choice of three covers, Orion Tide, Leviathan and Mariner.

*Special exhibition price of $40, only during the exhibition.

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Kelly Richardson - The Last Frontier


$250.00

Published:
pages

To mark the end of Kelly Richardson’s 15 year survey exhibition ‘Legion’ with its final installment this summer at the Contemporary Art Gallery Vancouver (July 11-Sept 7, 2014), a series of new limited edition prints have been produced and are now on offer.

The Erudition (IV & V) are brand new prints adding to the existing large scale video installation and C-prints. As an edition of 100, they can be purchased either singly or as a pair. Editions 1-20 will be sold only as a pair.

Kelly Richardson - The Erudition (IV & V), 2010
C-prints, edition of 100.

For sale as a set of two for $450 or sold individually for $250 each. To order please email contact@contemporaryartgallery.ca, thank you.

These prints are ordered from the artist with an additional shipping cost of $20, shipping from the UK.

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Kelly Richardson - The Erudition (IV & V)


$50.00

Published:
368 pages

With his participation in the biennials of Paris, Venice and São Paulo, Jürgen Partenheimer is one of the most important German artists working today. With critical intelligence, Jürgen Partenheimer measures and maps the free space of art and its practice, which must constantly be redefined. As the artist's physical and psychological "storedom", the "archive" unites memories with the present and the individual with cultural recollection.

This book- designed in close collaboration with the artist - sheds light on various aspects of Partenheimer's multifaceted oeuvre that combines constructive elements of Minimal Art with lyrical intensity.

The publication contains text contributions by authors representing a variety of disciplines, written in German and English, they include Anne Carson, Lebogang Mashile, Carla Schulz-Hoffmann, Rudi Fuchs and Nigel Prince.

In 2014, the Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich, the Falckenberg Collection, Hamburg, the Gemeentemuseum, The Hague, and the Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver will present thematic exhibitions of Jürgen Partenheimer's work.

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Jürgen Partenheimer - Das Archiv / The Archive


$25.00

Published:
86 pages

Headlines And Last Lines In The Movies was published on the occasion of an installation within the exhibition of the same name by Stefan Brüggemann presented at the Yvon Lambert Gallery, New York from February 27th to April 10th, 2010. The publication contains an introduction by Enrique Giner de los Ríos and the essay Beginning Of Writing by Glenn O'Brian. Each copy of this edition - limited to 500 - is numbered and signed by the artist.

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Stefan Brüggemann - Headlines And Last Lines In The Movies


$20.00

Published:
81 pages

This survey of Duncan Campbell’s inventive and provocative practice looks back over a number of arresting, meticulously assembled film works that this Dublin-born, Glasgow-based artist has produced during the last decade, and coincides with the launch of the latest in that series, Make it new John (2009). The publication contains an essay by Martin Herbert and an in-conversation between the artist and critic, Melissa Gronlund.

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Duncan Campbell


$40.00

Published:
730 pages

This publication is based on an online project by renowned UK artist, writer and theater director Tim Etchells.
Throughout 2011, Vacuum Days created online announcements like playbills for a rolling programme of imaginary events. Spelled out in overzealous capitals and small print, the project web site was updated each day in a process of call and response with unfolding political situations and events.
In this published version of Vacuum Days, Etchells’ explores the zone of sensationalist media, news-as-pornography, hyped-up current affairs, Internet spam, twitter gossip and tabloid headlines. Vacuum Days – a Dadaist year book of sorts – conjures a set of caustic, far-fetched, unlikely, absurd and uncomfortable performances, lectures, contests, fights, film screenings and other forms of public display.

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Tim Etchells - Vacuum Days


$30.00

Published:
48 pages

Pulmo Marina is a film and a publication. It is the story of a living creature that was raised for display behind a window in a tank at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, California. Then it has been filmed and projected onto the big screen and now it is fractioned in discrete units printed on paper. It is the story of a living form which is always the same, always different.

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Aurélien Froment - Pulmo Marina


$20.00

Published:
48 pages

Based on an interview between Aurélien Froment and Werner Herzog in Los Angeles in 2008, this publication focuses on the image of the ship on the hill, which symbolises Fitzcarraldo's plot and the myth that has surrounded the film and its production.

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Aurélien Froment - like the cow jumped over the moon


$150.00

Published:
pages

Designed by Åbäke, a limited edition game with a box of 96 colour cards, edition of 146.

Display all the cards face down on a table.
Players take it in turn to flip over two cards at a time until a pairing is found and agreed. Remove the pairs and continue until the table is empty.

Co-published by Dente-De-Leone, UK and Motive Gallery, Brussels.

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Aurélien Froment - Table Of Recall


$70.00

Published:
256 pages

Lauded by photographers, artists and critics for his influence on the contemporary generation of art photographers, James Welling has created beautiful and uncompromising photographs for over thirty-five years. James Welling: Monograph offers an indispensible resource for those who are interested in this artist's remarkable, foundational practice. Published to accompany James Welling: Monograph, a traveling exhibition organized by the Cincinnati Art Museum and curated by James Crump, this large-scale catalogue presents over 250 images, including important early and iconic works from the 1970's to the present and provides the most thorough presentation of the artist's work to date. Among an extensive introductory essay by James Crump, this monograph also includes text contributions by Mark Godfrey and Thomas Seelig, and an interview by Eva Respini, Associate Curator in the Department of Photography at the MoMA.

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James Welling - Monograph


$35.00

Published:
200 pages

TIME PEOPLE MONEY CRICKETS is LA based artist Mungo Thomson's first monograph. The book is published by the Contemporary Art Gallery and SITE Santa FE and accompanies the exhibitions with the same name at SITE Santa Fe in February 23, 2013 to May 19, 2013 and at the Contemporary Art Gallery in 2015. Mungo Thomson has also exhibited at the Contemporary Art Gallery from October 1, 2013 to January 12, 2014 with Negative Space, an off-site work at the Yaletown-Roundhouse Station, Canada Line.

Mungo Thomson works conceptually in various media, such as video, film, sculpture and printed matter, he addresses the voids that exist within culture, the gaps, digressions and mistakes that exist and surround institutional space and everyday life.

TIME PEOPLE MONEY CRICKETS provides an insight into Mungo Thomson's work produced during the past several years. The book illustrates various projects such as Thomson's ongoing project from 2009, TIME, a series of drawings based on the evolution of the logo of Time Magazine and a series of large mirrors based on specific covers of the magazine. Another ongoing project is PEOPLE, Thomson produced a full-glossy magazine based on People Magazine that contains images of visitors looking at art in art exhibitions but with the art removed through Photoshop, these magazines are free takeaways during the exhibition. Lastly, CRICKETS is Thomson's collaboration with composer Michael Webster and consists of a transcription of field recordings of crickets from around the world created into a musical score for a 17-person orchestra.

The publication contains an introduction by Irene Hofmann, Phillips Director and Chief Curator at SITE Santa FE, an interview with the artist and Nigel Prince, Executive Director at the Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver and an essay by Martin Herbert. The publication contains 150 colour images.

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Mungo Thomson - TIME PEOPLE MONEY CRICKETS


$150.00

Published:
1 pages

This limited edition print was produced on the occasion of James Welling: The Mind on Fire, at the Contemporary Art Gallery, November 15, 2013 to January 12, 2014.

B16, 1980
2 29 II, 1980

Inkjet Print (Epson 3880 on Museo Silver Rag paper)
Edition of 62 with 12 APs

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James Welling - 2 29 II/B16


$45.00

Published:
108 pages

This artist bookwork is published on the occasion of the exhibition space that saw (platform for a performance in two parts) by Mike Nelson, a site-specific installation at a former cabaret theatre and dining hall located at Gartenstrasse 6 in the district Berlin-Mitte, which opened in 1905 and closed in 1934.

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Mike Nelson - space that saw (platform for a performance in two parts)


$50.00

Published:
146 pages

This rare now 'out of print' publication was published on the occasion of the exhibition MIKE NELSON : I, IMPOSTOR, created for the British Pavilion at the 54th International Art Exhibition - la Biennale di Venecia, and includes an essay by Dan Cameron. Book concept by Mike Nelson and design by Secondary Modern.

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Mike Nelson - British Pavilion


$30.00

Published:
118 pages

This publication is published by Buchhandlung WaltherKönig, Köln in conjunction with the exhibition Loop at Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein and includes essays by Will Bradley, Adam Dudak, Friedemann Malsch and Jan Verwoert.

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Monika Sosnowska - LOOP


$30.00

Published:
110 pages