The annual Splash Preview Exhibition, hosted by Pendulum Gallery in downtown Vancouver, is like a cross-section of Canada’s art scene. Close to 100 artworks are on view, with a wide range of artists and art, generously donated to Splash Art Auction. There’s something to appeal to everyone, from the traditional, the abstract, the conceptual genres, across painting, photography, and sculpture, to mixed media and design.
Full disclosure here: I have a unique inside perspective on this exhibition as I work with Arts Umbrella as an art/artist liaison, specifically on Splash Art Auction, the organization’s signature fundraising event. Over the years, I’ve had the chance to get to know many contributing artists -occasionally visiting their studios and asking an oft-dreaded question, “What’s your work about?” — gaining in-depth knowledge into their practice. It’s a great cause that artists and galleries support, with proceeds from the auction going to Arts Umbrella and its mission of providing accessible arts education to young people.
Ninety-six works is a lot of art to navigate! There are big-name artists who have shown in major international museums and art fairs, like, Rebecca Belmore, Dana Claxton, Stan Douglas, Edward Burtynsky— I get goosebumps seeing their work in the exhibition—but I am equally excited by the emerging artists on view. Here are a handful of my top picks, but I encourage you to go to Pendulum Gallery and check out the show.
James Nexw’Kalus-Xwalacktun Harry and Lauren Brevner
James Nexw’Kalus-Xwalacktun Harry and Lauren Brevner | Nathan combines portraiture, done in oil and acrylic by Brevner, and aluminum armour with Salish elements, designed by Harry. The meshing of their artistic practices exemplifies the style that the duo is recognized for. Their collaborative work has been shown in the Vancouver Art Gallery and numerous public murals. They also have a new exhibition, titled The Seventh, that opened at Or Gallery in Chinatown, where you can see more of their incredible work.
Tom Hsu | This photograph was captured while on a bike ride around the artist’s hometown in Taiwan last year, where he noticed many abandoned cars. Hsu describes, “Going back to my hometown, seeing changes, places being developed, things being overgrown, it all felt nostalgic—seeing the familiar and unfamiliar at the same time.” This image was part of Hsu’s exhibition this past summer at Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, titled isthmuses, which explored in-between spaces, something the artist has been curious about through diaspora experiences. This would make an awesome first piece to add to an art collection.
Mira Song | Aaaah—a painting to find psychological rest. This work is a part of Song’s Moon Viewing Platform series, centred around the platform, a design element in Asian gardens and temples to contemplate the moon and to meditate. It’s inspired by architecture, the artist’s own experience as an immigrant straddled between two cultures, but, ultimately, offers a space for the viewer to experience something between the real and surreal.
Jean Paul Langlois
Jean Paul Langlois | Here’s a landscape painting imbued with meaning in Langlois’ signature super flat style, with ultra-saturated colours. This work was created in the summer of 2022 when the artist travelled to the Northwest Territories on a quest to find and paint the locations from the 1962 NFB short film by Donald Wilder, Nahanni. Langlois describes, “This was no walk in the park. You don’t just pull up to the parking lot and go for a hike. It’s massive. The terrain goes on forever, and the river, if you can find it, is known as ‘The River of Death’.” The arduous and expensive journey to get there was just the beginning of what it took to obtain the images for this series of work.
Michael Soltis | A cool piece with a street art feel that shows painterly brushstrokes and pops of bold, collaged elements working in harmony. The artist, who you can find during the upcoming Eastside Culture Crawl in the iconic Parker Street Studios, says: “The idea behind this piece is that life is a mix of dark and light and colour with moments of harshness and moments of tenderness. We can gain perspective when we see these things happening simultaneously where there is no ‘where we’ve been’ and ‘where we’re going’ but just what IS, in THIS moment.”
Brent Comber | Get up close and inhale the scents of fresh cedar. The sculpture is subtly illuminated between the cracks and aims to deepen our connection with the natural world.
Shuvinai Ashoona | From Kinngait, Nunavut, Ashoona’s graphic drawing style fuses fantastical and everyday imagery of Arctic life. Her work was included in the curated section of the 2022 Venice Biennale, where she received special mention; she has exhibited extensively in art institutions worldwide and has her first solo exhibition in New York City at Fort Gansevoort. Also a great choice to add to an art collection from an artist with international renown.
Russna Kaur | An artist on the rise, with a solo show currently on view at W Projects, and a group exhibition at Burnaby Art Gallery, this piece is made up of three panels or surfaces. In person, you see the nuances of the painting: the varied textures and the thickness and thinness of the lines that don’t line up.
Admission at The Pendulum Gallery is free and open to the public during gallery hours, Monday-Wednesday, 9AM-6PM, Thursday-Friday, 9AM-9PM, Saturday, 9AM-5PM.