Capture Photography Festival is now in full swing. The city is bursting with exhibitions, public art, virtual artist talks, documentaries on The Knowledge Network and more, all with a focus on lens-based art.
Before the official launch of the Festival, Capture garnered a ton of press over its Arbutus Greenway billboard project. The work, Untitled, by renowned Canadian artist Steven Shearer comprised seven images of individuals sleeping. Eliciting strong reactions of discomfort from visitors along the Greenway from the day the images went up, the project was dismantled only two days later. What a pity! (The billboards have since been covered up with pretty, inoffensive landscape paintings. Interestingly, these are images used on unsold Pattison billboards, painted by the company’s national creative director, and can be found across the country.)
The Greenway is a great spot for seeing art while out for a stroll or bicycle ride. There’s enough time to see, pause, and think about an artwork. There are various locations for viewing Capture’s public art, mainly on the exterior of transit stations and on more billboards. Some are, frankly, in awkward locations, unlikely for a chance encounter, while others are best viewed at a fleeting glance, from a car. These are advertising billboards, afterall. But here’s how to make them a destination or at the least, a stop along the way.
Two installations at Canada Line stations in Richmond are a gateway to good eats and city parks. Both on view until September 30th.
BRENDAN FERNANDES | The east entrance to Lansdowne Station has been dazzled in a mash-up of red and blue patterns by Brendan Fernandes (pictured above), whose solo exhibition at Richmond Art Gallery recently ended. Emulating dazzle camouflage, a tactic applied to warships to confuse the enemy, Fernandes’ work is a collage of gingham, stripes, the shape of a dancer, and in contrast, a cut-out in the shape of an ellipse, peering into the station. The work is taken from a custom Zoom backdrop used in an online performance, The Left Space, by the artist, presented by the Art Gallery of Ontario in 2020.
CHUN HUA CATHERINE DONG | Over at Aberdeen Station, in Chun Hua Catherine Dong’s diptych The Misfits, a dragon and a phoenix flank the entrance to the station. The ornate imagery is inspired by Chinese textiles and plays on the cultural significance of these symbols of masculinity, the dragon, and femininity, the phoenix. Know before you go: There’s an augmented reality component! Download the Artivive app on your smartphone to see The Misfits come to life.
While at Lansdowne Centre, grab a jianbing from T&T Supermarket. The made-to-order savoury crepe, filled with anything from fried doughnut, scallions, sausage, and egg, makes for a great snack any time of day. Inside T&T is a Xing Fu Tang, the bubble tea chain from Taiwan, famous for their Brown Sugar Pearl Milk. Get the Brown Sugar Pearl Milk Tea for actual tea in the drink. It’s caramelly, sugary, iced goodness and highly caffeinated. Or, visit R&H inside the food court to fill up on XLB, aka xiao long bao or soup dumplings, beef noodle soup and chili wontons. Good stuff!
For a nearby walk, visit Garden City Lands: Community Farm and Bog Conservation Area. While still in development, the park boasts a perimeter path with mountain and city views. For more art nearby, there’s one of my all-time favourite installations, Instant Coffee’s Perpetual Sunset from 2012, a shimmery wall of giant purple, pink, blue, red, orange, and yellow sequins. Wedged behind a former strip mall Money Mart, this is best viewed from onboard the actual Canada Line, preferably at golden hour. As well, there’s the Richmond Art Gallery, located in the lovely Minoru Park. For more treats to-go, stop in at Kam Do Bakery near Aberdeen Station for egg tarts (all variations are good — the shortbread-like crust, the flaky pastry crust, and the Portuguese style) or to the Hong Kong style cafe, Lido Restaurant, for one of their famous, soft, pillowy pineapple buns with butter and a Hong Kong milk tea (again, highly caffeinated!).
LANSDOWNE CANADA LINE STATION
No. 3 & Lansdowne Rd, Richmond
ABERDEEN CANADA LINE STATION
No. 3 & Cambie Rd, Richmond
T&T SUPERMARKET & XING FU TANG
8311 Lansdowne Rd, Richmond
R&H CHINESE FOOD
5300 No. 3 Rd, Richmond
GARDEN CITY LANDS
Garden City & Lansdowne Rd, Richmond
PERPETUAL SUNSET BY INSTANT COFFEE
Money Mart, 6020 No. 3 Rd, #102, Richmond
RICHMOND ART GALLERY & MINORU PARK
7700 Minoru Gate #180, Richmond
KAM DO BAKERY
4328 No. 3 Road, Richmond
4231 Hazelbridge Way, Richmond
More Capture-curated public art projects can be seen in and around Downtown Vancouver, like Meryl McMaster’s From A Still Unquiet Place at Vancouver City Center Station and Anique Jordan’s Darkie series along Expo Boulevard (pictured above). These are complex, compelling images that require more than a passing glance to appreciate.
JORDAN BENNETT | A striking installation is Mi’kmaq artist Jordan Bennett’s al’taqiaq: it spirals on the exterior of the BC Hydro Dal Grauer Substation on Burrard at Smithe. The inspiration behind the work comes from a photograph of a Mi’kmaq porcupine quill basket held in the Museum of Vancouver Archives. Bennet’s photograph is of a moose skull painted in neon pink, with patterns taken from the designs found on a porcupine basket, then photographed on Mi’kma’ki land. Capture describes: “Bennett reconnects the spirit of the displaced basket back to its origin and home territory.” The location of this work, best view in full from across the street, allows you to feel the large scale of the piece.
EVANN SIEBENS + KEITH DOYLE | Though not a part of Capture, while Downtown, take a walk through the latest commission for the Vancouver Art Gallery Offsite, Pedestrian Protest by Evann Siebens and Keith Doyle. The excellent, multimedia installation considers themes of gathering and protest along Georgia Street through the voices of 24 artists, dancers, and activists, all on view in larger-than-life size. Choosing a site along Georgia Street, each collaborator was invited to create an action, choreography or performance, to be documented through media and photography. A screening of the performances is on view, while photographs of the project’s participants are printed on large banners held up by scaffolding meant to reference Vancouver’s constantly changing built environment. The work is on view until October 9th.
DAL GRAUER SUBSTATION
944 Burrard St, Vancouver
VANCOUVER GALLERY OFFSITE
1100 West Georgia St, Vancouver
Capture Photography Festival runs until April 30, but many of the selected exhibitions are on through the month of May, or longer for most of the public art projects. Visit the website to explore the extensive programs on offer.