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.MORE
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.MORE
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.
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.
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.MORE
Documents and Lies was an exhibition organized and circulated by Optica in Montréal. The exhibition presented the work of artists living in the UK. Although not photographic, the works pointed towards a number of photographic notions about truth and reality. Their particular use of traces – reproduced, modified or simply invented – allowed for the transition from a universal history to another, more personal one. By generating doubt, these projects produced a displacement of what is commonly understood by “document.” The exhibition included drawing, painting, sculpture and an installation. Curated by artist André Martin, this exhibition provided an artist’s perspective.MORE
Eleanor Bond is recognized internationally for her large-scale oil paintings of urban landscapes in which a labyrinth of forms include both the actual and the imaginary. Although Bond’s paintings do not represent a specific built environment, their starting point is a specific urban place, space and landscape. This exhibition presented 2 works produced from research undertaken in Vancouver during February of 1999. Bond spent ten days walking and driving throughout Vancouver and its environs making photographic and video documentation which influenced the painting of Glass City and Tent City. - Curator, Petra Watson.MORE
Lisa Schmidt is a curator at Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin. She worked previously at K21 Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf and with Ute Eskildsen at Museum Folkwang, Essen.
Her talk focused on her most recent exhibition, Das Kind, die Stadt und die Kunst (The Child, the City, and the Art), on view at the Schmela Haus of the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen until 15 September, 2013 which examines the social and aesthetic implications of playgrounds by the Dutch architect Aldo van Eyck, with contemporary responses by artists Yto Barrada, Nils Norman and Gareth Moore.MORE
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.MORE
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.MORE
This book was produced on the occasion of the exhibition Quick aging pivoting city, curated by Petra Watson for the Contemporary Art Gallery at January 8 to February 19, 2000. It contains the essay Imaginary Displacement and the Facts of Metaphor by Petra Watson.MORE
This publication was produced on the occasion of the exhibition Nations in Urban Landscapes held at the Contemporary Art Gallery, October 28 to December 9, 1995 and at Oboro, Montreal in 1994. It includes texts by Marcia Crosby "Nations in Urban Landscapes" and "Lines, Lineage and Lies, or Borders, Boundaries and Bullshit" and Paul Chaat Smith "From Lake Geneva to the Finland Station" and includes a preface by Keith Wallace.MORE