The CAG Book Shop, located in the gallery lobby, is filled with various publications and editions which accompany past and present CAG exhibitions. Half of the space has been reserved as a Resource Room containing various reference materials (binders, note cards, and videos) that provide context for the artists who are in the current exhibitions or residency program.
Alongside Andrew Dadson’s exhibition Site For Still Life (October 13 – December 31, 2017), a video screened in the Resource Room, sourced from Emily Carr University, presents Dadson’s reflections on his career and practice. He talks about his experimentation with various media at Emily Carr University, including performance, video, installation, and painting. Dadson touches upon how he treats his studio and practice as a regular 9-5 job. He doesn’t believe that creativity can come naturally constantly, and finds it important to give himself the time and space to experiment with ideas. While reiterating his interest in the dynamic movement of landscapes and cities, Dadson also provides a sneak peak of his recent work.
This video is available for viewing in the Resource Room during the CAG’s regular opening hours, or can be viewed at Emily Carr University’s Vimeo page.MORE
Hi! My name is Brianna Anderson and I am the current School Programs Intern at CAG this fall. Thus far I have been researching Andrew Dadson’s work from the current exhibition Site For Still Life, to create an elementary school program for the show. In addition and to engage with the public, CAG offers Family Days on the last Saturday of every month, where the public is invited into the gallery to participate in art-making activities in response to the current exhibitions. Being responsible for two of these Family Days is a treat! During the October Family Day participants got the chance to paint potted plants white, responding to Dadson’s House Plants, while for the November activity we will be making felt drawings inspired by Lyse Lemieux’s exhibition FULL FRONTAL, currently covering the gallery façade.
At present I am in my third year of the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with a major in visual arts at UBC, with my art practice mainly involving drawing, printmaking and painting. Having grown up on a dairy farm in Langley and now attending school at UBC, I am particularly interested in the relationship between rural and urban spaces, and the misunderstandings and misconceptions that exist in those areas.
I have been fortunate to participate in this internship through the Artists in Society course offered at UBC, which has given me the opportunity to gain experience in the workings of a public art gallery, while meeting many awesome people. Interning at CAG for over a month now has already given me insight into how the art world works and has exposed me to contemporary artwork that is quite often outside of my sphere of knowledge, making this experience invaluable to me. In addition to this I now have my foot in the door of educational programming, something which I might be interested in pursuing after graduation due to my love of art, children, and education.
I look forward to seeing you at the November Family Day activity!MORE
Canadian artist Lyse Lemieux currently has two large-scale outdoor works on the façade of CAG and at our off-site location at Yaletown-Roundhouse Station. Lemieux’s work is usually executed indoors, using tactile materials such as felt or paint. Her cut-works in felt are often described as drawings, emphasizing the way her practice evokes a balance between figuration and abstraction. For the two public works in FULL FRONTAL she had the opportunity to work with vinyl on the exterior windows of both structures.
Curatorial Intern Whitney Brennan caught up with Lyse Lemieux to talk about her experience working both with vinyl and outdoors.
WB: This is the first time you’ve worked with vinyl on a glass surface. Can you talk a little about what that transition was like? Was there anything unexpected about working with the medium?
LL: This is the first time I have worked with vinyl. My work has always been on interior walls with fabric and/or ink on paper. This outdoor drawing project had to survive the fall and winter – vinyl seemed a logical choice.
The most challenging aspect of the project was that once I’d found and sketched out the idea I quite literally no longer had to use my hands. Having to depend on others to do virtually everything, from printing to final architectural drawings to of course the installation itself, was a little frustrating.
Not handling the materials for me, takes away that opportunity to discover something new about the material and/or the process I’m involved and engaged with. Having such an opportunity often leads to learning something new about how I think, how I work, what I think I know about my materials, etc. It’s something I look forward to. With this project what I ended up with was pretty much what I conceived of on paper and on my computer- that’s not a bad thing of course but an unusual one for me.
WB: So much of your work is tactile and intimately hand cut, but the works at CAG and Yaletown are made by a printer. Did this process change your relationship to the works?
LL: In the studio I build drawings directly on the wall using strips, and/or, large sheets of felt wool. I draw the same way I would were I using paper except now using more of my body. The wall becomes the sheet of paper, the strips and flat sheets of wool become the ink and my body, becomes the paintbrush or pencil.
For my Oakville Galleries exhibition (Talking Out of Both Sides of her Mouth, 2015) I made many of the components in my studio. The eyes and stems as well as the hundreds of felt wool strips that made up the mouth were brought from my studio to the gallery in Oakville and then the work was rebuilt in situ. Some adjustments had to be made and that’s what kept the process alive and vibrant.
I often take photographs of the space or site then add and rework digitally in Photoshop the shapes and images I want to use (in this case the B/W fabric and the ellipses). I also paste the shapes or drawings directly onto the architectural plans if they’re available.
For the Yaletown-Roundhouse Canada Line Station the concept of reshaping and playing with a scanned section of fabric meant working digitally, whereas for the CAG façade I worked a lot of the ideas out by making the windows out of fabric and wool and fitting them into the architectural plan. The final files used for printing were prepared by a graphic designer.
I don’t much like working with architectural drawings – numbers and perfect lines make me nervous, so architectural drawings have to be simple for me to understand and use. When I do use them I blow them up then cut, draw and paste directly onto them.
WB: Does this open up a new trajectory in your practice?
LL: I’ve been involved in working on public art projects for close to two years and in some ways the CAG project had echoes of how I work on these public realm projects.
I really like making work that’s larger scale and bigger than my body but I’m not a fan of the administration that seems to come along with this working publically. I find it distances me from my studio, from my practice, from my hands. It might be that it’s because I’m new at this pubic art business but right now I’m finding that my head-hand balance or relationship is a difficult one to maintain. I’m spending too much time on my computer answering emails…
WB: I particularly like the transparency of the work presented in Yaletown. The folds and pulled back sections allow us to peek through to the commuters and traffic on the other side. Did this aspect play into how you designed the piece?
LL: I wanted the Yaletown-Roundhouse Canada Line Station to be an abstracted series of curtains or drapes that take you from one window to another and, right around the building. Ambiguously opening and closing to the transit riders heading to and from home, the curtain references domesticity while also being a bit of a voyeuristic wink.
The CAG façade unlike the Canada Line Yaletown station invites viewers in, in the same way the Richmond Art Gallery installation created connections – at RAG ellipse figures leaned and caressed each other. Here the CAG façade is more of a fortress. The ellipses are like dark figures standing on their opaque off-white grounds, transgressing the first story onto the second and making us aware of their guardianship. Wrapping the around both sides of the building was essential to this sense of implacability.
At the Yaletown Canada Line Station for safety and security reasons, perforated vinyl has to be used on their windows. The perforated vinyl adds an ephemeral and translucent quality that I really like – a materiality that doesn’t exist with opaque vinyl. The down side is when interior lights are on perforated vinyl means the image disappears completely.
WB: Another aspect I found interesting was the temporality of these two works. They’re not permanent installations; they have a limited duration after which the vinyl, unlike your felt works, cannot be salvaged or stored for reuse.
LL: My work has often dealt with impermanence. In the ‘90s and early 2000s I made dresses from latex rubber knowing with time they would disintegrate. This degeneration was essential and intrinsic to my choice of materials. More recently, with the felt wool drawing installations when an exhibition is over, everything is discarded.
WB: Your work also bridges many aspects of interiority and exteriority. Both the CAG piece and Yaletown are literally wrapped around a structure. Did this affect how you considered the work would be experienced in contrast to a physical sculptural work or cut drawing?
LL: My approach to large scale drawing installations is similar to sketchbook drawing and drawing on loose sheets of paper. I examine where a line could start and where a line could stop. I then try to make some sense of what’s happening in between. There are obviously more challenges and lots more corners to entertain with an architectural site but all of it means carefully examining all the points of view; the interior, the exterior, the sides, the backs… Just as we do when we get dressed.
Lyse’s works are on display until March 25, 2018.
At the Yaletown-Roundhouse Station, work is presented by CAG in partnership with the Canada Line Public Art Program – InTransit BC. Lemieux is grateful for the support of Canada Council for the Arts and BC Arts Council. FULL FRONTAL is also supported by Proper Design.MORE
A vivid, light cerulean blue square catches your eye on the glossy softcover publication Germaine Koh. This exhibition catalogue documents Koh’s artistic practice and exhibition Germaine Koh, which was presented at the CAG in 2001. Essays by Laura U. Marks and Keith Wallace describe Koh’s overarching methodology and interests, interwoven between their own interpretations of the two artworks presented at the time: … (2000) and Prayers (1999).
Detailed readings and coloured photographs of …, Prayers, and earlier works explore the artists’ oeuvre. What at first glance seems like an inconsistent and diverse visual language is explained by Marks and Wallace. Koh strategically highlights the surprisingly predictable quality of supposedly random systems and routines we mindlessly follow and embody every day. By bringing these systems into the gallery space, Marks and Wallace argue that Koh is able to organize, identify and map the patterns in what is seen and thought of as pure chance.
Koh’s interest in the everyday and unnoticed systems provides the notional framework which determines the physical manifestation of her ephemeral experiences. She enjoys using banal but unpredictable materials in ways that differ from their usual purposes. For example, Koh exhibited pachinko balls that dropped from the gallery ceiling and congregated in various areas around the floor in … (2000). She also presented puffs of smoke that were the result of translations of texts found on various computers housed in the gallery in Prayers (1999). Through her conceptual practice, Koh asks the viewer to reconsider and question their usual position and perspectives in relation to art. This question is then further extended, asking the viewer to reconsider their relationship and position in the seemingly static, concrete systems and beliefs outside of the gallery walls.MORE
Hi! My name is Joni Cheung and I am the current Front of House Intern at the Contemporary Art Gallery. I’m in my final year of the Bachelor of Fine Arts, with a focus in visual arts, at Simon Fraser University’s School of Contemporary Arts. During my time at SFU, I’ve had the opportunity to be involved with multiple facets of Vancouver’s art community, including co-curating In Circulation, an exhibition in 2017’s Capture Photography Festival and publishing an interview in Decoy Magazine. I hope by volunteering at various arts organizations I will come to know my next steps for life as a postgrad.
The first few weeks at CAG have been exciting! I assisted with the research for the current exhibitions: Andrew Dadson’s Site For Still Life and Lyse Lemieux’s FULL FRONTAL. Being able to see the installation of both artists’ was a treat! Before December rolls around, I will also be giving a tour about the current exhibitions to CAG volunteers and writing a few blog posts about CAG publications and editions. These will both be firsts for me, but I look forward to the learning experience.
I am excited to work with Assistant Curator Jas Lally, Visitor/Event Coordinator Julia Lamare, Visitor/Publications Coordinator Jocelyn Statia, and the rest of the enthusiastic and upbeat team at CAG!
I applied to the CAG internship because of its commitment to providing diverse programming that gives free opportunities for the community to learn and enjoy contemporary art. I look forward to the rest of my time here and the chance to learn from the CAG team.