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Exhibitions

John Wood and Paul Harrison
I DIDN’T KNOW I DIDN’T KNOW IT
February 12 to April 24, 2016
B.C. Binning Gallery and windows

The Contemporary Art Gallery presents the first solo exhibition in Canada by British duo John Wood and Paul Harrison. Their practice unfolds as a way of observing the human condition, an ongoing investigation into the world that surrounds us, the objects we encounter and use daily, and our fundamental engagement with the physical universe in all its sometime or seemingly futile existence.

Comprising various everyday objects, drawings, photographs and videos, the exhibition provides a survey detailing recent propositions for the artists where narrative comes seeping in: taste, politics, aspiration, planning, individual and collective dreaming and ambition appear, literally and metaphorically, opening up on to the world outside. Time, as perceived in an action on video, lengthens from seconds into decades within the sculptural forms, and the focus widens from a momentary encounter in a studio to a project in a landscape or a vision of things to come. As viewers we become implicated in their tragicomic world of absurdist humour leading to both simultaneous delight and sombre reflection on the failures of human endeavour.

The installation contains a selection of new sculptures using tools, drawing equipment and other useful items in various media. For example, two propelling pencils share a single lead; another pencil has been sharpened right down to the rubber end and remains housed in its sharpener; a length of string is measured against a ruler; two balls of string, one un-wound then re-wound, the other original, and a single glue stick, stuck head first onto a wall. The humour is dry and the jokes visual; the familiar made strange by altering perceptions.

Connecting these sculptural works is a selection of videos, typical of their practice while sharing a pared-down set of qualities. 10×10 (2011) and Semi Automatic Painting Machine (2014) deconstruct the very nature of the moving image and its means of presentation, investigating narrative structure, representation, transformation and the history of cinematic worlds through various devices that reference both digital and analogue production. Their most recent video Erdkunde (2015) playfully connects out from the studio into the “real” world. By encompassing a world of things it causes us to reconsider the sculptures on show and the geography these suggest, an essential optimism within the futility of ongoing attempts, a testament to our ability to overcome obstacles, to forge ahead for a better world.

Long has Wood and Harrison’s work being concerned with the body, characteristically employing a vocabulary that connects into the spatial concerns and material world of choreography and contemporary dance, and is a practice that engages with attributes such as trust, cause and effect, action and reaction, and the physical arena and dimensions in which movement and gesture occurs. To this end, alongside the exhibition we will premiere a major new live performance later this year, a first for Wood and Harrison, who are  working with Ballet BC to develop an ambitious joint commission, a new dance work, complete with movement, direction, costumes and staging.

The art-dance commission is produced in collaboration with Ballet BC with support in part from the Kickstarter community in partnership with Art Basel Crowdfunding Initiative.

John Wood and Paul Harrison live and work in Bristol, UK. They have many notable solo exhibitions including Von Bartha, Basel; NTT InterCommunication Center, Tokyo; Carroll/Fletcher, London (2015); Museo de Antioquia, Medellin, Columbia (2014); Frist Centre, Nashville, H&R Block Artspace, Kansas and the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston (2011-12); Kunstmuseum Thun, Switzerland; University of California, Santa Barbara (2010); Ikon Gallery, Birmingham (2009); PICA, Perth (2008); Mori Art Museum, Tokyo (2007); Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, UK (2005); Tate Britain, London; MoMA, New York; MIT, Boston (2004) and Chisenhale Gallery, London (2002). They have also participated in group exhibitions worldwide: Kunstmuseum Luzern, Switzerland (2015); OK Centre for Contemporary Art, Linz, Austria; Tokyo Station Gallery; Itami City Museum of Art; Kochi Museum of Art; Okayama Museum of Art (2014); Museum of Modern Art, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil (2013); MOBY, Israel; Zacheta National Gallery of Art, Warsaw (2011); Centre d’Art Santa Mònica, Barcelona (2010); Ludwig Museum, Budapest (2008); Centre d’Art Contemporain, Geneva (2007); Hayward Gallery, London; Centre Pompidou, Paris (2006); Carnegie Museum, Pittsburgh (2005); Gwangju Biennale, Korea (2002); Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne (2003); Philadelphia Museum of Art (1998) among others. Work is held in various public collections including Centre Pompidou, Paris; MoMA, New York; Ludwig Collection, Aachen; Tel Aviv Museum; Kadist Foundation, Paris and Tate, London. John Wood and Paul Harrison are represented by Carroll/Fletcher, London; Von Bartha, Basel; Martine Aboucaya, Paris and Vera Cortes, Lisbon.

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John Wood and Paul Harrison - I DIDN'T KNOW I DIDN'T KNOW IT


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

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

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Off-site: Re-Visions - Telus Garden Building


Patrick Staff
The Foundation
February 12 to April 24, 2016
Alvin Balkind Gallery and off-site

The Contemporary Art Gallery presents The Foundation, a new and expansive body of work by artist Patrick Staff, their first solo exhibition in Canada. The project, which centres around a major film installation but also comprises sculpture, print, and text, explores queer intergenerational relationships as they are negotiated through a body of historical materials. The film combines footage shot at the Tom of Finland Foundation in Los Angeles—home to the archive of the erotic artist and gay icon and a community of people that care for it—with choreographic sequences shot within a specially constructed set.

The legacy of Finnish artist Touko Laaksonen (1920-1991), better known as Tom of Finland, spans multiple generations; his work made a considerable impact on masculine representation and imagery in post-war gay culture. The foundation was established in 1984 by Tom and his friend Durk Dehner to preserve his vast catalogue of homoerotic art, whilst endeavouring to – to quote the organization’s website – ‘educate the public to the cultural merits of erotic art and in promoting healthier, more tolerant attitudes about sexuality.’ Today, Durk runs the organization and lives in the house, along with a handful of other employees and artists.

Rather than focusing on Tom of Finland’s work, Staff’s film evokes the foundation as a set of relations. It explores how a collection is formed and constituted and the communities that produce and are produced by a body of work. Through observational footage of the house, its collections and inhabitants, the foundation is revealed as a domestic environment, a libidinal space, an archive, an office and a community centre; a private space which is also the home of a public-facing organization and the source of a widely dispersed body of images. In the work, Staff foregrounds their own identity and personal dialogue with the different communities of the foundation to consider how ideas of inheritance and exchange are complicated by gender identity and presentation; in this context, of a younger trans person within a context dominated by the overtly masculine, male identity of an older generation. The documentary style footage of the foundation is intercut with a series of scenes, which are shot in a set incorporating aspects of the building’s architecture and technologies and operate within the register of experimental theatre. These sequences, featuring interactions with an older actor, use choreography and prop to explore the body as a site for the construction and deconstruction of subjectivities.

Through a varied, interdisciplinary and often collaborative body of  work comprising film, dance and performance, Staff considers ideas of discipline, dissent, labour and the queer body, frequently drawing on the historical narration of counter-culture, radical activity and alternative forms of community building. This new work is the product of several years’ research and dialogue with the Tom of Finland Foundation and is Staff’s most ambitious and large-scale project to date, bringing together languages of film and live performance with sculptural materiality to explore the body as a political, living archive. The Foundation explores the complexities of cultural artifacts and collective identities, via an examination of ownership, appropriation, responsibility and desire.

For Vancouver CAG has developed a new broadsheet publication and an associated film screening event co-programmed by Staff with Canadian curator and writer Robin Simpson. Continuing the format of Staff’s recent screening-performances Dreams of Travel (2014) and Uniform Smoke (2015), this expanded public programming brings together a number of voices that generate resonances with the politics and interpersonal relationships that constitute the project, rather than describing or fixing the meaning of the work. Grounded within a Canadian context, it seeks to forge a connection among Trans/Queer contexts, production, dialogues and communities. The broadsheet contains specially commissioned texts by Juliet Jacques, Paige Sarlin and Staff and Simpson and will be distributed city wide, in Vancouver, as well as in Toronto via defunct Xtra newspaper boxes.

The Foundation is co-commissioned by Chisenhale Gallery, London; Spike Island, Bristol; Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane; and Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver. Co-produced by Chisenhale Gallery, London and Spike Island, Bristol.

With thanks to the Tom of Finland Foundation.
The Foundation is supported by Arts Council England Grants for the Arts, The Elephant Trust and the Genesis Prize.
The broadsheet publication and screening project is supported by The British Council.

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Patrick Staff - The Foundation


From fall 2015 to Spring 2016, CAG presents a six-month independent study residency with locally based artist, Fabiola Carranza. Considering the intertwining of art practice, community organization and public programing, Carranza is using the Burrard Marina Field House as a studio space from where to conduct her own research and to collaborate with CAG on a series of public programs. The artist’s multi-faceted practice focuses on issues that arise from the historical and cultural specificities of her source materials, be it photographs, poems or found objects, whereby she attempts to draw out humour and pathos through a combination of intuitive experimentation and study.

Using the space as a site to examine open learning and discussion, and as a means to foster her own artistic development, Carranza’s programming extends the use of the field house to the immediate members within her artistic community alongside bi-monthly studio visits with both CAG staff and other artists working with the gallery. Events have seen invitations made to a series of artists, poets and musicians, including for example, poetry workshops for visual artists led by local writer Marguerite Pigeon, and a stream of music/art events coordinated by Sydney Hermant.

Events have included:

Ceramics Workshop with Nathalee Paleonelli.
Thursday, November 26, 2015

Turkish Coffee Readings with Dilara Akay: poster commission by Derya Akay.
Saturday, November 28, 2015

Cochineal Dye Vat Workshop and Napkin Sewing. Cochineal Vat Workshop led by Sydney Hermant.
Thursday, December 17, 2015

Epic Dresses: Where Poetry and Women’s Work interweave.
Seminar with Marguerite Pigeon
Wednesday January 27, 2016

J’ai Faim, J’ai Froid (I’m Hungry, I’m Cold) – Sing for Your Supper  
Open Mic with  MC Casey Wei and special guests Monique Levesque and Nikki Never.
Organised by Sydney Hermant.
Thursday, March 3, 2016

 

 

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Burrard Marina Field House Residency: Fabiola Carranza


Scott is an interdisciplinary artist working across writing, illustration, performance and sculpture. In , he began a comic book series, Wendy, the story of a fictional young woman living in an urban centre, who aspires to global success and art stardom but whose dreams are perpetually derailed. The position of the underdog, outsider and shape shifter is central to this body of work and the influence of feminist icons such as Elle Woods in Legally Blonde or artist, punk poet, experimental novelist and filmmaker Kathy Acker lingers.

Scott’s two panel installation at Yaletown-Roundhouse Station, A Home Underground (Excerpt II) (2015) evolves from a new Wendy volume in which the eponymous character moves to Vancouver. Evoking the malaise of urban life, we see Wendy pictured moving through the city, a foil or reflection of the daily commuter passing through the station. Considering the two possible viewing positions for the work, inside the station descending the stairs or outside walking by, Scott has developed a recto-verso installation referencing the alter-ego/duality Wendy embodies, and the antagonism between mind and body. In this case, Wendy navigates Yaletown on her smart phone, juxtaposed with her inner self drilling head first into Vancouver’s sub terrain — a representation of existential frustration.

Presented in partnership with the Canada Line Public Art Program — Intransit BC.

Scott currently lives and works in Montréal. For the Images Festival 2015, Scott produced Wendy Live! where a cast of English, Japanese and Mohawk-speaking performers enacted the newest Wendy book before its 2016 North American English-language release. Alongside his comic work, Scott produces work involving printmaking and sculpture and is represented by Macaulay & Co. Fine Art, Vancouver. He recently completed a residency at the Koganecho Bazaar, Yokohama, Japan.

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Off-site: Walter K. Scott - A Home Underground (Excerpt II)


Saturday, April 9, 2016, 7pm
Off-site: Pyatt Hall at VSO School of Music, Vancouver

Ticket available at: www.picatic.com/CAGglass

The Contemporary Art Gallery presents a new performative sound work with Norwegian/US artist/musician Camille Norment in collaboration with Victoria’s Experimental Music Unit: Tina Pearson, George Tzanetakis, and Paul Walde.

Norment performs with a glass armonica, a legendary eighteenth century instrument that creates ethereal music from glass and water. Combined with EMU’s reputation for sonic investigations of relationships between the natural world, sound and music, and between notation, improvisation and attention states in music making, Norment and EMU will develop a work that resonates with local history.

Songs for Glass Island will use US visual artist Robert Smithson’s failed 1969 proposal for the Strait of Georgia, Glass Island (or Island of Broken Glass) as point of departure. Granted permission by the Canadian Government, Smithson planned encrusting Miami Islet west of Fraser Point in 100 tons of broken glass. However, as public pressure against the idea mounted from environmentalists and anti-Americanists, it was suspended by a governmental telegram. Aside from drawings, letters, and plans, the only physical artifacts which remain are studies which Smithson called “maps.” What would have been Smithson’s first “permanent” earthwork morphed via the idea’s failure into the famous Spiral Jetty made the following year.

Throughout March and April, Norment will be in residence at the University of Victoria where she will be writing and rehearsing with EMU members. Using glass in various forms as their primary instruments, they will prepare a set of inter-related works including newly developed instrumentation, that imagine the possible sounds, stories, textures and ecologies of Smithson’s fabled island. Reflecting the themes in structure and content, sound will weave viscerally through this glass world, the project residing in realistic and fantasy scenarios provoked by Smithson’s proposal: glass as a material; glass in acoustic and marine ecology; inevitable mounds of post-catastrophe glass shards; and metaphors associated with glass, such as glass ceilings, broken barriers, reflection, transparency and invisibility.

Through the creative process, the juxtaposition of the practices of sound and experimental music performance in glass will create a visually stunning and sonically captivating audiovisual concert-length program that will debut in progress at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria and be followed by its premiere performance in Vancouver presented by CAG at Pyatt Hall. Recordings of these works and performances will be subject to a subsequent audio publication.
CAG will also partner later this year with Norment and the Montreal Biennale.

Camille Norment is a multidisciplinary American artist living in Oslo, Norway. Her work has been the subject of numerous international exhibitions and performances including the Museum of Modern Art, New York (2013) and a commissioned artwork and performance for the Museum of Contemporary Art, Oslo (2012). In 2015 she presented Rapture, a site-specific, sculptural and sonic installation in the Nordic Pavilion for the Venice Biennale. She regularly performs and records with the Camille Norment Trio in which she plays the glass armonica.

EMU is a sound ensemble of LaSaM Music from Victoria, British Columbia featuring performer/composers Tina Pearson, George Tzanetakis, Paul Walde and producer Kirk McNally. During the past four years EMU has developed a reputation for sonic investigations of relationships between the natural world, sound and music, and between notation, improvisation and attention states in music making.

Songs for Glass Island is presented in partnership with LaSaM Music, Victoria and is supported by the Office for Contemporary Art Norway through its program for International Support, The Canada Council for the Arts, The University of Victoria through its Distinguished Women Scholars Fund, the Orion Fund in Fine Arts and the Department of Visual Arts.

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Camille Norment and Experimental Music Unit - Songs for Glass Island


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