Anthropomorphic play things, potatoes and turnips — here are five art shows to check out now.
SEAN ALWARD | The art equivalent of a speakeasy? Here’s the password: go to Pulpfiction Books and ask for the key to CSA Space. Let yourself into the gallery and see Sean Alward’s exhibition, Dark Salon. The show features over two dozen small, still-life paintings of things like potatoes, turnips, butter, pretzels, wooden sticks, and a sculpture. Alward is an artist based in Vancouver. His paintings explore the intersection of materials and historical consciousness.
SALTSPRING NATIONAL ART PRIZE EXHIBITION | The biennial competition and touring exhibition makes a stop at Pendulum Gallery in downtown Vancouver. Artist Kriss Munsya, known for his striking, photographic portraits, where figures’ faces are obscured by elaborate, colourful florals, took home the top prize, the Salt Spring Prize, which includes a residency on Salt Spring Island and a $20,000 award. Visit SSNAP’s website to view the artwork submitted by all 52 finalists or pop in to the gallery to see the Award Winners works in person. Pendulum Gallery, located across from the Vancouver Art Gallery, hosts regular exhibitions, and has a gigantic pendulum by artist Alan Storey swinging through its atrium, also neat to check out.
ALISON YIP, ALEX MORRISON | Two must-see exhibitions are on at the CAG right now. Soma Topika is a new body of work by Alison Yip, comprising two sets of detailed oil paintings on unusual surfaces, installed in a gallery under renovation. In a quest to envision alternate futures, Yip engaged a neo-shaman and a psychic, posing them the same set of questions about her life, relationships and desires. (‘What will cause me great embarrassment?’, ‘What new skill will I develop?’, ‘Where will I live?’) Each painting depicts their readings to her, the neo-shaman’s ‘somatic’ responses painted on laminate floor tile and the psychic’s ‘auratic’ responses painted on scrap metal. In the opposite, larger gallery space is Alex Morrison’s Nooks and Corners, an exhibition of meticulously detailed paintings of interior spaces and slab-built ceramic sculptures. Morrison, who paints from digital renderings, achieves a uniquely flat painting style, juxtaposing incongruous decor and architectural styles. In the monumental Stumbling Block in the Vestibule (2021-2022), Art Deco-style wallpaper is contrasted with mid-century ceramic tile flooring, and pink features— a pink door, pink window, pink baseboards, pink arched doorway. To one side, is a rendering of one of his ceramic sculptures. Both exhibitions are on until May 1st, don’t miss!
PER DIEM: GERD METZDORFF COLLECTION | Ever wonder how to start an art collection? Head on over to Griffin Art Projects in North Van where nearly 100 pieces from the collection of the late Gerd Metzdorff (1948-2020) are on view. A flight attendant with Canadian Airlines and Air Canada for over 40 years, Metzdorff saved up his per diems to buy art, beginning in the 1970s. His flights brought him to contemporary art capitals Düsseldorf, Cologne, and New York, at a time when artists like Joseph Beuys and Gerhard Richter were gaining renown internationally.. Highlights include Andy Warhol, Louise Bourgeois, Cindy Sherman, and Lee Ufan. On view is only a portion of Metzdorff’s vast collection, with a focus on German contemporary photography, American pop art, minimalism and post-minimalism. Griffin Art Projects is a non-profit art residency and gallery, founded by art collectors Brigitte and Henning Freybe, and one of the gallery’s mandates is to make private art collections accessible to the public. Check the website for upcoming talks on collecting art.
ALEX GIBSON + PM | Subscribe for Number 3 Gallery’s SPAM, an email-based art series, and receive something fun and unique in your inbox each month. Play Thing is the latest SPAM and features a collaborative work by visual artist Alex Gibson and drag/performance artist Desi Rekrut (PM). From the gallery:
“The resultant project is a catalog of images featuring painted body parts, found objects and costumes, all of which explore body, gender, drag, and camp through the transformative potential of newly generated forms.”
When I first hit “click for more”, I was directed to a rendering of a leafy green plant with a hand and arm sticking out of it. You can click, rotate, zoom in and zoom out to experience the ‘play thing’. Subscribe to receive February’s edition delivered to your inbox at the end of the month, or contact the gallery to catch up on past SPAM.
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