Zadie Xa’s Child of Magohalmi and the Echoes of Creation is part of the group exhibition Interior Infinite, showing through September 5 at the Polygon Gallery
We like a little culture, too, you know. Spanning public art, retrospectives and contemporary group efforts, these exhibitions will keep you in galleries through the fall
With B.C. in Step 3 of its restart, it’s a great time to plan a bit of culture into your summer. Whether you grab some friends or go solo, these local exhibitions include work by a wide variety of artists from B.C. and farther afield, providing some much-needed food for your soul after months of COVID restrictions. From drawings and photography to ceramics and public art, they inspire thought, creativity and conversation.
Audain Art Museum
Itee Pootoogook: Hymns to the Silence
Louie Palu: Distant Early Warning
Hymns to the Silence offers a glimpse of contemporary Inuit life and the landscape of Nunavut by the late Itee Pootoogook, a key member of the third generation of Inuit artists from Kinngait (Cape Dorset). Through some 60 coloured pencil and graphite drawings on display at the Whistler gallery, Pootoogook takes viewers on a journey into everyday life through his eyes, inspiring an intrigue similar to people-watching on a park bench.
Louie Palu: Distant Early Warning explores the political and environmental threats to the North American Arctic, through a collection of photographs by award-winning Canadian photographer Palu. Through September 6
Burnaby Art Gallery
Lyse Lemieux: Trespassers/Intrus
This survey focuses on how Vancouver-based interdisciplinary artist Lyse Lemieux engages with the human figure. Besides drawings in ink, paint and fabric, Trespassers/Intrus includes The Classroom, an installation of suspended school tunics made from glass. “Based on a formative memory and a dream-like experience from childhood, the work evokes the thrill of rebellion and the promise of transformation,” the host gallery notes.Through September 19; by appointment only
Contemporary Art Gallery
Archival – for Rosario Cooper and my 10-year-old self
Muddled Mirage of Memories Escaping Encapsulation
Archival, an installation by Christine Howard Sandoval, a Vancouver-based Obispeño Chumash and Hispanic artist, reflects the belief that photography and colonialism are inseparable. In other words, “taking” and archiving pictures of Indigenous Peoples has helped to perpetuate the violent extraction of their land, labour and resources. With that in mind, Sandoval has wrapped a downtown Canada Line Station in a collage consisting of archival documents and images, layered with schematic maps comparing Spanish Mission and ancient Indigenous architecture. Offsite at Yaletown-Roundhouse Station; through August 22
In Muddled Mirage of Memories Escaping Encapsulation, Nicole Kelly Westman examines how light can influence the way we perceive, recall and assign meaning to memory. The exhibition’s three works, presented across the CAG’s façade windows, reference the photographic process for creating “ideal” images, the gallery explains. Through August 22
Installation photo of The Poetic Process by Glenn Lewis, whose ceramics appear in Imperfect Offerings at the Richmond Art Gallery through August 22
Artist Vincent Trasov’s 1974 run for mayor of Vancouver as Mr. Peanut is one of the works explored in this nostalgic collection of films, photographs, drawings, collages and other material. Image Bank takes its name from an eight-year project launched by Trasov, Michael Morris and Gary Lee-Nova in 1970, when they were associated with local artist-run centre Intermedia. “The exhibition reflects on a period of optimism where artists envisioned a non-hierarchical alternative to the world of art galleries and museums, where images and ideas could be freely exchanged through the international postal system,” the Belkin says, arguing that their efforts presaged social media. Through August 22
A Future for Memory
To mark the 10th anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake, or 3.11, Fuyubi Nakamura curates a MoA exhibition reminding us of the power of nature and asking how we deal with memory after dramatic changes to our physical surroundings. Works on display include the “Lost Homes” Scale Model Restoration Project—a pre-disaster diorama of the affected towns and villages—and Art and Life After the Great East Japan Earthquake, which shows photos of resilient flora and fauna that thrived after the crisis. Through September 5
Interior Infinite is part of the Polygon series New Perspectives: Revealing diverse perspectives, untold stories and new voices in visual art. At a time when diversity is finally getting its due, assistant curator Justin Ramsey has assembled an exhibit that reflects individuality and tests the limits imposed by society. Emphasizing self-portraits, with a focus on costume and masquerade as a way to reveal rather than obscure identity, it challenges the belief that as humans, we are stagnant in our evolution. “Every single person is a work in progress, with the potential and courage to change and be changed,” Ramsey says. The several Canadian and international artists whose work encompasses photography, video, performance and sculpture. Through September 5
Courtesy of School District 35. Photo: Blaine Campbell
Red hawk, salmon and spindle whorl by Xwalacktun (Rick Harry) is one of the works in Balanced Forms: Xwalacktun, James Harry and Austin Harry, opening July 28 at the West Vancouver Art Museum
With a nod to post-pandemic social gatherings and simple pleasures, these new and past works by B.C. ceramicists Jesse Birch, Naoko Fukumaru and Glenn Lewis embody function and beauty, the RAG notes. “As summer emerges, there is a renewed sense of optimism for things we’ve lost in the past year: shared meals, gatherings with friends and family, moments of human connection,” says gallery director Shaun Dacey. “This exhibition brings together objects that serve as conduits for intimate care and aesthetic play.” Through August 22
Vancouver Special: Disorientations and Echo
The second instalment of a planned a series of exhibitions that the VAG says will take an expansive look at contemporary art in Greater Vancouver, this show features recent work from 32 local artists. Organized by five co-curators and spanning a range of media, scale and modes of presentation, it explores themes such as cultural resilience, articulating suppressed histories and imagining emancipated futures, according to the gallery. Through January 2
The Biennale’s two-year Re-IMAGE-n program was set to continue until 2020, but organizers literally had to reimagine it thanks to the pandemic, which prompted the cancelling of installations by 40 artists. Besides new public art, this year’s extension includes BIKEennale/WALKennale, consisting of 40 art-infused tours, with new instalments released each week. The tours, suitable for people of all abilities, cover public art and points of cultural, historical and architectural significance. Also ongoing: We Are Ocean Vancouver, which explores ocean literacy based on Indigenous knowledge and storytelling through online videos and accompanying activity guides.
Balanced Forms: Xwalacktun, James Harry and Austin Harry
Besides producing commissions, Coast Salish artist Xwalacktun (Rick Harry) has been a cultural instructor at schools throughout the Lower Mainland, where he’s created carvings with students who include his sons, James and Austin Harry. Xwalacktun regards that work as a learning opportunity that supports his efforts at reconciliation, according to the West Vancouver Art Museum. Balanced Forms includes a selection of such projects, plus materials showing the design process. July 28 through October 2
Art Meets Poetry – FAD magazine
Poetry was good in lockdown, being better suited to the screen than most literature or art. That makes it timely that two ambitious London shows currently combine art with poetry, even if they were necessarily in planning well before we learned the language of covid. They have prominent local partners: Shoreditch Library with PEER, The Poetry School with Southwark Park Galleries. Both PEER’s Swirl of Words / Swirl of Worlds and Southwark Park Galleries’ A Fine Day for Seeing combine an exhibition, a programme of events and workshops, and a publication. And both strike me as excellent in all three respects – though as I curated the latter with the poet Tamar Yoseloff, half of that assessment may be biased!
At Southwark Park Galleries (to 29 Aug), the focus is on partnerships between poets and artists: ten poets respond to ten artists, allowing the visitor to read or listen to each through the catalogue, online or via QR code in the gallery. The relationships vary greatly, from mother and daughter to long term collaborators to newly-mets. Perhaps the most unusual dialogue is between Basil Beattie and Maitreyabandhu. The former taught the latter at Goldsmiths Art College in the 1980s, but they hadn’t met since – the pupil is now a Buddhist, ordained into the Triratna Buddhist Order in 1990 – and has swapped painting for poetry, publishing three collections with Bloodaxe Books. He chose the huge and hugely impressive ‘Cause & Effect’ from 1980, and wrote about the time when he was an art student before he stepped across…
the threshold into the present tense: Thatcher
gives way to Grindr, Brexit and XR
as Basil, who has hardly changed, makes tea.
We prop his pictures up against the wall
and talk about the dead – Hoyland gone
and Albert Irvin “a new joke everyday”
dying at the average age, in the average way,
as if that made a difference. The paintings stand
in working studio light and measured calm
as tribute to the eye and heart and hand,
mute surfaces of know-how, marking time.
PEER’s show (to 14 Aug) considers the relationship between language and cultural identity, notably represented by publication of a free book containing 94 poems in each of 94 languages identified as being spoken in Hackney, all with English translations. The poet Stephen Watts selected these, and while you might suspect the quality of the work would be subsidiary to its concept, it turns out to be a consistently strong collection. Watts will reads his own poems at the closing event. Meanwhile the extensive exhibition brings together classic fusions of art and language (by, for example, Kurt Schwitters, Susan Hiller and John Smith) with less-known but equally fascinating works. I was taken with half a dozen of Pete Smith’s ‘National Geographic Yellow Collages’ from a series ongoing since 2009. They consist of words and phrases removed from National Geographic magazine and pasted onto a magazine-sized background of horizontal yellow or gold strips themselves cut from the publication’s iconic front-cover border. That makes them visually striking, but they also operate wonderfully as semi-found poems of surreal conjunction.
Art writer and curator Paul Carey-Kent sees a lot of shows: we asked him to jot down whatever came into his head
New Public Art Installation to pay homage to Midland's history – Barrie 360 – Barrie 360
from the Town of Midland
The corner of King Street and Bayshore Drive in Midland will soon be the home to a new public art installation.
“Sown,” an artwork conceived by local artists Holly Archer and Camille Myles, will be placed in its new home in downtown Midland this summer. The piece is being fabricated by Lafontaine Iron Werks with Toque Innovations of Midland as the technical designer. The inspiration behind “Sown” is the rich industrial history of Midland, with elements of the design representing the five fingers that built this community (logging, shipping, the railway, agriculture, and manufacturing) as well as the five bays from the foundational Indigenous legend of Kitchikewana.
“Developing vibrant public spaces and promoting a beautiful Midland is one of Council’s current strategic priorities,” said Mayor Stewart Strathearn. “This installation will complete the work on King Street, and we thank the Rural Economic Development program for their grant to assist with this project’s streetscaping, including the commissioning of this new work of art. I also want to thank the local artist and fabricators for crafting this piece to pay homage to the unnamed, unsung community members who have been instrumental in building Midland to where it is today.”
The artist team responded to a call for proposals that the Town issued in early 2021. “Sown” was selected based on the Town of Midland’s Public Art Policy, criteria outlined in the request for proposals, and the installation site.
“The Town of Midland recognizes that art and culture have been and will always be integral parts of our community,” said David Denault, Midland’s Chief Administrative Officer. “We are very proud of our town and our beautiful new main street and are excited to showcase all that we have to offer to both residents and visitors.”
The artwork is funded by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, through the Rural Economic Development Program, and the public can learn more about this artwork as it’s being created. Visit EngagingMidland.ca/Sown-Public-Art-Installation for artistic descriptions of the artwork, concept boards, and details on the elements of design.
Art, culture and reconciliation | The Star – Toronto Star
SHERBROOKE – A veritable who’s who of Indigenous and political leaders from across Nova Scotia gathered to mark the opening of the fifth annual Indigenous art exhibit at Historic Sherbrooke Village on July 25.
But while new acts of creation may have brought them here to celebrate under sunny skies, something just as durable kept them standing, shoulder-to-shoulder, before a capacity crowd of residents and artists: history and sense of healing was in the air.
“The last three months have been a very difficult time for Indigenous people in Canada,” Canadian Senator Daniel Christmas, a senior advisor to Membertou Mi’kmaw Nation, told the audience.
“Our global image as a defender or protector of basic human rights in the world has been seriously tarnished. But our own perception of ourselves has changed as well, and many Canadians have expressed their shame and their embarrassment,” he said. “The arts are so valuable when it comes to tragedy, to the need for healing and for reconciliation.”
Those gathered were surrounded by original works by Indigenous artists who have been contributing since the first event launched at the living museum’s Indigenous Art Centre under the auspices of the Sherbrooke Restoration Commission in 2017.
Acknowledging Christmas as a “tough act to follow,” Central Nova Member of Parliament Sean Fraser took to the rostrum and spoke about his experience growing up minutes away from Pictou Landing First Nation.
“It’s incredible to me that we have had this history before our eyes and yet we have not been able to see it,” he said, adding: “We see it now. People are looking for ways to help contribute to reconciliation. I have great hope, because I sense that the public has reached a place that, even if politicians wanted to forestall reconciliation, I do not think they can anymore.”
Throughout the gathering – which included MLA Lloyd Hines (Guysborough-Eastern Shore-Tracadie), Nova Scotia Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Houston (Pictou East), Councillor and former Chief of Paqtnkek Mi’kmaw Nation Kerry Prosper – heads nodded in agreement.
“It’s great to see this facility [Indigenous Arts Centre] here because the road to reconciliation has got to include the culture,” Hines said in an interview following the event. “And the culture was probably the piece that was most ignored.”
Indeed, said exhibit organizer Marlis Lade, “Here, the artist can spend time and be proud and we are blessed to work together with them and celebrate. The recent sad news has touched all of us to the core of our being. But, in this beautiful centre will do everything we can to learn more. We directly benefit from that relationship.”
Added Sherbrooke Restoration Commissioner Marg Hartwell: “We wish to thank the artists from across the country that have contributed to this collection. Your work is moving and speaks of cultures. We received comments from visitors expressing appreciation for your work. You clearly make an impression, especially in these times. We wish more you could be with us here today to hear the appreciation yourselves. Our visitors are most reflective after seeing your work.”
Last to address the audience was Prosper. Gesturing to the variety of artworks on display, he said: “When I look at our Indigenous connection, we’ve been here for thousands of years. And through that time, we become a part of everything. Each and every one of you serve Indigenous countries. And you all have the same connection. We just happen to be a part of this land here.”
The Indigenous Art Centre in Sherbrooke is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
Some items on display are for sale.
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