555 Hamilton St.
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Gallery hours 12 - 5PM
ExhibitionAdel Abidin, Abbas Akhavan, A.S. Dhillon, Josephine Meckseper, Martha Rosler, Gail Wight and Retort
December 6, 2008 - January 24, 2008
Reception Friday, December 5, 2008 8PM
Curated by Alison Rajah
shrink-wrapped considers how a group of artists and intellectuals have responded to images of war and the image-world leading up to and since the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Sourced from the flow of media imagery, much of the work in the exhibition isolates and re-contextualizes content. Images which are not intended to be looked at closely are paused. Through their work, the artists disrupt imagery which replaces that of defeat with victory, creates desires with promises of newfangled fulfillment, and teaches acceptance rather than assessment.
In the works in the exhibition, representations of the occupation and previous wars are conflated in varying ways with those of archival and current protest footage as well as those from the commodity and luxury culture industry. Through the surfaces of travel brochures, montages, photomontages, and broadsides, the works communicate boldly and graphically, like those of agitprop. Functioning also as objects in circulation, each work actively engages with issues of dissemination, distribution, and display.
Included in the exhibition are Adel Abidin’s brochure installation from Abidin Travels (2006); Josephine Meckseper’s two video works March for Peace, Justice and Democracy, 4/29/06, New York City (2007) and 0% Down (2008); a selection of photomontages from Martha Rosler’s Bringing the War Home: House Beautiful, new series (2004); Gail Wight and Retort’s Afflicted Powers project (2006); and new works by local artists Abbas Akhavan and A.S. Dhillon.
The publication accompanying the exhibition additionally features an essay by Sara Mameni. Following the strategy of using extant information as material, Mameni reuses the footnotes from Retort’s “Modernity and Terror” to generate a new text.
This exhibition is curated by Alison Rajah, a candidate to the Masters Degree in Critical Curatorial Studies at The University of British Columbia, with support from the Killy Foundation, the Alvin Balkind Fund for Student Curatorial Initiatives, the Department of Art History, Visual Art and Theory, the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, the Program in Canadian Studies, and the Finance Commission and the Alma Mater Society at The University of British Columbia.
November 28 - November 30, 2008
Reception Friday, November 28, 2008 7-9PM
The Canadian Photographic Portfolio Society invites the public to a preview and sale of a newly released edition by acclaimed artist Rodney Graham.
Rodney Graham’s two portfolio images are the artist’s favourites from his Black Squares (My Top 100) monochromes that were exhibited at the 50th Venice Biennale in 2003.
The series is composed of record albums that are overpainted with India ink; the visibility of underlying image is dictated by the ink’s adherence to the surface finish.
This diptych was originally designated as the front and back cover for the artist’s second rock album, to be called Cast A Pall. The project evolved into Rock Is Hard, a double LP of original songs, which was ultimately released with a revised cover.
The Canadian Photographic Portfolio Society publishes limited edition photographic portfolios of work by Canadian artists. Formed in 1986, the non-profit society is operated by a volunteer board of arts professionals, and commissions works from established artists who have made an important contribution to contemporary art.
For additional information, please visit http://www.cppsonline.com
ExhibitionMat Bushell, Guido Molinari, Monique Mouton, Richard Tuttle
October 17 - November 22, 2008
Reception Thursday, October 16, 2008 8PM
Curated by Eli Bornowsky
There is an uncanny, subjective experience of art, which in general terms, is the presence of an artwork, concomitant with the experience of experience: a relation of sensing and thinking. The aesthetic and poetic dimension of art uniquely facilitates this experience with works outside our familiar sensorium. In this way, it is silly to imagine that art has no purpose or function, as the relation of sensing and thinking is fundamental to human existence. While philosophy thinks human being as a universal but generic abstraction, it is art and poetry that have the ability to flavor this abstraction, to nuance and vary it, and traverse its limits. What this exhibition explores is how it is not enough to admire the isness of being, but to show the expanse of being itself. Not the opening of being onto the multiplicity of subjects and discourses, but the field of being, the field of its sensibilities. Not only the touch of isness as a single point, but rather a gradation. Not simply the exposure of being, but the resonation of this, and that, and these exposures, timbres and intonations, their coming and going and the delight of their colors.
However, the poetry of being is not delivered through art to passive vessels. The truth is not a spectacle in the gallery for viewers to see and devour. This exhibition presents abstract images, but the capability of these images is only available through the engagement of the viewer. However, this engagement is not contractual; it is without imperative. Rather the works are simply available, appearing through each artist’s conviction. One does not decipher abstract pictures; one does with them, experiences them, senses and thinks alongside them. It is a focus on this doing and what this activity reveals about oneself to oneself that is interesting to the exhibition at hand, how one’s perceptions cohere, or presuppositions distort. Again, it is not simply a generic relation between being and truth, or nature and art, but a sensitive opening of this relation, an extension of it, a characterizing or seasoning, if only for an instant, a sensibility created in part by those who witness it.
Magic has been described as making ones imagination real. However, since the birth of modern science, it is difficult to imagine magic differently than the folklore and legends of spell-casters and love potions. The will to manifest into reality what one imagines, registers the power of magic. However, if we understand magic as resulting from an awareness of the embroilment of sensation and intellect, we can see that magic opens a territory for perception and experience rich in nuance, a practical and very real form of wizardry. Whether the artists chosen for this exhibition can be named magicians and sorcerers is less important than the fact that the works exhibited here are instruments for subjective exercise, and if one allows, mystical experimentation. While science cannot verify the experience of these works, or the merit of the exercises, there is a necessity for art to make real, to afford and make available the experience of reality.
ExhibitionMiguel da Conceicao, Devon Knowles, Claude Zervas
In the diagram below, line AB and line GH intersect at point D
September 6 - October 11, 2008
Reception Friday, September 5, 8PM in conjunction with SWARM 2008
In this exhibition three west coast artists examine visual perception, the transformation of the physical and social landscape, and the experiential memories that influence the interpretation of our surroundings. References to utopic topographies and mapping are reflected in the usage of modernist geometric forms. By experimenting with shifts between two-dimensional and three-dimensional space, these three artists investigate the physicality of light and colour.
Skagit (2005), by Seattle-based artist Claude Zervas renders the lower Skagit river drainage basin at the point where the river splits into two forks and flows into Puget Sound. Zervas’ adaptation of this section of the 150-mile-long river uses glowing green cold cathode fluorescent (CCFL) lamps, thin steel rods, and dangling wires and inverters that resemble a river’s tributaries. Raised in rural Washington, Zervas is greatly influenced by physical landscape, social topology, and the transformation of regions. He has particular interest in how places evoke emotion, the manner in which emotions affect memory, and how memory consequently affects perception.
The installation String Cave (2008), by Vancouver artist Miguel da Conceicao, takes its influences from the writings of Canadian architect Daniel Libeskind, a found photograph of a black-light string art ‘pavilion’ circa the 1960s or 1970s, and Marcel Duchamp’s installation, Mile of String, produced for the 1942 First Papers New York retrospective of Surrealist art curated by Andre Breton. Illuminated by a black light, String Cave is a geometric drawing made of white yarn that protrudes from the walls to encompass a darkened gallery space. The installation resembles a computer wire-frame model of a cave interior, employing Op Art techniques to give the illusion of depth beyond the gallery walls.
Vancouver-based Devon Knowles’ works – Invertible Leaner #4 (2007) and Rock the Stone (2008) are sculptures that explore light, optical perception, and architectural space. Rising from the ground at acute angles, the tall and narrow hexagonal beams in Invertible Leaner resemble both monochromatic skyscrapers and light beams, creating an unusual overturned skyline. Using mirrors, Knowles plays with the viewer’s sense of depth perception while simultaneously challenging the relationship between the space of the viewer and the space of the artwork. Rock the Stone is a three-dimensional extrapolation of earlier (two-dimensional) drawings of gemstones conducted by the artist. This twice-translated work, fabricated primarily from a series of triangular stained glass panels, gives particular emphasis to the chromatic effect of refracted light, while encouraging new permutations as the panels reflect one another and cast light on the sculpture’s white base.
The Or Gallery is currently celebrating its 25th anniversary, and this exhibition marks the beginning of its fall season in its new home at 555 Hamilton St.
August 8 - August 23, 2008
Reception August 23, 6-9PM
The Or Gallery, in conjunction with the Vancouver Queer Film Festival, is proud to present Loose Work, an exhibition by Vancouver-based artist Laiwan.
The exhibition has been organized as part of the Vancouver Queer Film Festival’s 20th Anniversary Award, which recognizes an artist who has made a significant contribution to queer media art in BC. We are delighted to honour the work of this extraordinary artist, writer and activist, whose many contributions include organizing the first Vancouver Lesbian Film Festival in 1988 and founding the Or Gallery in 1983.
Consisting of new and older works, the exhibition will highlight Laiwan’s interdisciplinary art practice, and will include her video works Automatopoeia and Remotely in Touch, as well as the Vancouver premiere of her multi-media installation DUET: ÉTUDE FOR SOLITUDEs.
The exhibition also marks the Or Gallery’s 25th Anniversary and move to its new home at 555 Hamilton Street.
Running concurrently with the exhibition will be a series of 24-hour window displays of Laiwan’s work at ONMAIN.
The Or Gallery gratefully acknowledges the support of Canada Council for the Arts, the British Columbia Arts Council, the City of Vancouver, and our members and volunteers.
Vancouver Queer Film Festival
T: +1 604 872 7713 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting +1 604 872 7713 end_of_the_skype_highlighting
Ear to Ear
July 4 - July 6, 2008
Curated by Jeff Khonsary
Conversations: Saturday, July 5th, 3pm
The Or Gallery and Cornershop Projects present Ear to Ear, a community-based, ad hoc archive of contemporary popular music and music ephemera.
Despite a clear antagonism, the relationship between the legal and the illegal distribution of popular music in the West has been formed through a dialectic process. Recently, as major music labels have begun to adapt in response to market pressures, mainstream interest in the illegal distribution of music has become increasingly acute — focussed almost exclusively on emerging peer to peer technologies. While rooted in older, less formal systems of distribution, these now pervasive, illicit distribution networks differ considerably from their predecessors in that they enforce a strict distance (both physical and emotional) between contributing users.
With all this in mind, Ear To Ear hopes to establish a temporary, non-virtual community interested in popular music. Through a collection of visual, auditory, and printed materials, the project focusses on informal and/or illegal networks of distribution and communication within various music subcultures. Taking cues from exhibition based projects such as Christoph Keller’s Kiosk: Modes of Multiplication as well as mix tape and fanzine culture, Ear to Ear was developed as a hypothetical framework rather then a fully realized archive — and as such it is expansive and open ended.
Ear to Ear: Mixes
Ear to Ear: Conversations, Saturday, July 5th, 5-7pm
ExhibitionAaron Carpenter, Steven Hubert, Kathy Slade
June 6 - July 13, 2008
Reception Friday, June 6, 8PM
Hold On features the works of three Vancouver artists exploring stasis, pauses, and revolution as both literal and figurative motifs.
Kathy Slade’s film Tugboat (2007) pictures a tugboat “wrapping doughnuts” in Vancouver’s industrial harbour. The 16mm film loop is both playful and melancholic, as it is unclear whether this workhorse of BC’s resource and shipping economies is caught in playful abandon or if the boat is revolving in a momentary lapse of agency.
Reminicent of David Hockney’s 1967 painting A Bigger Splash, Steven Hubert’s photograph The Dive (2006) features the artist diving headfirst into a large swimming pool. Contrary to Hockney’s image, however, Hubert’s photograph depicts the moment just as his head touches the pool, with no evident disruption to the water’s surface. Rigid as a board and fully clothed, the artist’s body seems stuck there, propped at an uncomfortable angle. The unnatural circumstances of Hubert’s dive challenges an otherwise simple and anticipatory reading of the image, suggesting that time itself may be in question.
Aaron Carpenter presents Rerememberer (2008), a large fabric banner with REREMEMBER written in large coloured letters. Reminiscent of home-made banners used in public demonstrations, Carpenter’s work plays on the formal construction and etymological roots of the word remember, suggesting that ‘re’ as a prefix in the contemporary sense might be repeatable ad infinitum, that one might rereremember, and so on. As a banner, the word takes on a political importance, making imperative not only the remembrance of history, but also its continual re-examination.
UM, ER, and UH (2008) are a series of drawings that continue Carpenter’s interest in language. The words are classic examples of speech disfluency, parts of speech generally thought to be without purpose, though occasionally used for dramatic tension or effect. Some linguistic experiments, however, have suggested that these utterances may facilitate language, as their removal from speech led to significant decreases in listener comprehension. Carpenter exalts these under-privileged words, rendering them in coloured pencil-crayon as a further means democratisation and as a general reaction to the authoritarianism of much text-based art.
This exhibition is the second in a two-part collaborative series between the The Or Gallery and Morris and Helen Belkin Gallery, marking Or’s move to the Del Mar Inn, a space which has housed both the Contemporary Art Gallery and, more recently, the Belkin Satellite. The exhibition’s title makes conscious reference to the building owner’s commitment to maintaining the building in spite of pressures from nearby developers to sell.
decentre:concerning artist-run culture
June 6th, 2008 8pm, 2008
Reception June 6th 2008
decentre is a book about artist-run culture that hopes to describe the breadth and quality of artist-initiated programs, projects and events, the issues we face in this milieu and how effectively we deal with them, that aims to both celebrate artist-run culture and demonstrate the vital role artist-initiated activity plays in the larger cultural scene.
ExhibitionAlejandro Cesarco, Germaine Koh, Micah Lexier
This Particular Day of June
May 9 - June 14, 2008
Reception May 8, 8pm
This Particular Day of June explores the genre of self-portraiture in relation to time, featuring three artists known for a conceptual approach to their work, and strong interest in language and seriality.
New York artist Alejandro Cesarco presents The Ramones (An Autobiography) (2008), a text work featuring a song list, organized in chronological order, of every Ramones song that begins with the pronoun I, revealing a hidden narrative expressed by the legendary punk ensemble. In this chronological form, viewers are left to form relationships between the stark and economic titles, which at times seem to flow as a logical statement (I Just Want To Have Something To Do, I Wanted Everything) and at other times seem contradictory or non-sequential (I Won’t Let It Happen, I Can’t Control Myself; I’m Affected, I Can’t Make It On Time).
Germaine Koh’s Self-portrait is an ongoing project started in 1994. The work exists as a single oil painting that she updates periodically. Painting directly over the previous image, Koh creates a new image each time, while recording the painting’s history through photographs displayed next to the painting on a clipboard. Both modest in scale and monumental in time, the work undoes itself with each progressive gesture.
Micah Lexier’s Self Portrait as a wall divided proportionally between this black type representing life lived and the remaining white space representing life to come, based on statistical life expectancy is likewise ongoing, first exhibited in 1998. The text that comprises work itself is sized differently each time it is installed, as determined by the physical dimensions of the gallery space. Contrary to expectation, the ratio between the black text and the white wall do not change but rather continue to reflect the age of the artist at the time the work was first conceived.
While works in the exhibition contrast in scale and material, the conceptual similarities between them resonate within contemporary art practices that often privilege serial forms of production over the making of a unique object while simultaneously disrupting traditional expectations of self-portraiture.
This exhibition is made possible with the generous additional support of Emily Carr University of Art & Design and the Kelowna Art Gallery. Special thanks to Carlos Mendes, David MacWilliam, Liz Wylie and Sarah Campbell.
ExhibitionChristian Nguyen, Nhan Duc Nguyen, Pipo Nguyen-duy and Khanh Vo
Everything is Not Lost
April 19 - May 18, 2008
Reception Saturday, April 19, 8 — 10 pm
Curated by Kim Nguyen
Everything Is Not Lost features the work of Christian Nguyen, Nhan Duc Nguyen, Pipo Nguyen-duy, and Khanh Vo, four contemporary artists who address themes of family, loss, and the intricacies of memory. These artists interpret the thirty-year influence of the Vietnam War through autobiographical experiences, narratives, and postmemories. Working in a variety of mediums, these four artists confront the socio-political and emotional complexities of warfare and the events that consequently define who they are today.
These artists unravel generational memories in an attempt to form an understanding of their own disrupted sense of historical continuity. By compiling fragments of public, collective, and personal memory, the artists formulate a new narrative unique to the Vietnamese diasporic condition.
Christian Nguyen is a New York-based artist whose work examines how images, upon entering public consciousness, are connected to a specific time and can expire. In his series of drawings, Nguyen uses iconic images of the Vietnam War that are engrained in public memory but evacuates them of human presence.
Nhan Duc Nguyen compiles interviews with Vietnamese restaurateurs and restaurant employees in Vancouver, discussing topics that range from favourite foods and their careers in the food and service industry to their experiences as boat people. Nguyen’s work composes the story of the Vietnamese in Vancouver through the rise of its cuisine. A portion of his installation will be exhibited off-site at the Le Do Vietnamese Restaurant.
Pipo Nguyen-duy’s photographic work analyzes cultural displacement within the contexts of immigration and emigration. He investigates the liminal space that exists between Vietnam and the United States. Nguyen-duy’s current work draws inspiration from traditional landscape painting and his memories of childhood in Vietnam during the war. He currently resides in Ashland, Oregon.
Khanh Vo’s installation is an exploration of sociological time that references both the past and future of Vietnamese refugees in America. In his work, the New York-based Vo considers the idea of the “refugee space”, a concept he created to consider the displacement experienced by the Vietnamese in America.
Everything Is Not Lost looks into the profound relationship the artists have to a Vietnam they may have little or no recollection of. While an apparent cultural connection fuels the artists to directly engage with remembrances of the War, their work argues that the memory of Vietnam belongs to us all in varying ways, regardless of personal associations.
This exhibition is curated by Kim Nguyen, a candidate to the Master’s Degree in Critical and Curatorial studies at The University of British Columbia.
We gratefully acknowledge the support of the Alvin Balkind Fund for Student Curatorial Initiatives, the Department of Art History, Visual Art, and Theory, and the Faculty of Arts at The University of British Columbia.
A portion of Nhan Duc Nguyen’s installation will be exhibited at the Le Do Vietnamese Restaurant:
ExhibitionChris Campbell Gardiner
dia-bollein and sym-bollein abracadabra
March 21 - April 26, 2008
Reception Thursday, March 20, 8PM
Curated by Michèle Faguet
Gardiner’s boxes, minimal in appearance, yet elaborately and painstakingly fabricated, draw both from a Duchampian interest in the unseen and ephemeral as well as a totemic mysticism. The containers are meant to house secret objects, and intangibles such as ideas and emotions – most particularly anxiety. Gardiner’s works are laboured over, almost obsessively. Exteriors are stitched and later painted, and the interiors are often lined with lead, as an “anti-espionage measure”, preventing the use of x-ray photography to discover the contents.
Chris Campbell Gardiner is based in rural Saskatchewan.
Conceptual Paradise: There Is a Place for Sophistication
Reception Wednesday, March 5, 7.30PM
Co-presented with Pacific Cinémathèque, Simon Fraser University, and University of British Columbia
In three years of filmic research, the artist and author Stefan Römer has interviewed numerous outstanding international artists with his film team. In engaging in intellectual exchanges before the camera, Stefan Römer is able to develop a special filmic mode of reflecting on the state of international contemporary art.
The film essay Conceptual Paradise: There Is a Place for Sophistication traces out the debates that allowed the intellectual art movement of Conceptual art to emerge in the 1960s and led to the most relevant questions in art today. The artists speak about their own artistic practices and the socio-historical development of the various conceptual movements. In so doing, it becomes clear that there can be no one valid definition of conceptual art, since a permanent engagement also makes up its theoretical and philosophical complexity, including for example the question of whether there can be art without an object.
In these discussions with the most interesting artists and art theorists alive today, the fiction and ideal of art as political engagement are brought to life. The history of art is a history of struggles around strategies of representation. This makes this film about Conceptual art also a film about filmmaking. Stefan Römer reflects in numerous passages of the film with the well-known German filmmaker Hartmut Bitomsky about the documentary as a genre.
With the documentary essay Conceptual Paradise, Stefan Römer continues his analytic engagement with forms and modes of narrative for artistic documentation. Beside his extensive body of photography, his recent work includes the Super 8 film Corporate Psycho Ambient (235 media Köln on DVD 2004) and The Analysis of Beauty, a short film produced on the basis of single photographic montages (on the DVD Loop Pool by Graw Böckler, commissioned by Internationale Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen 2005). His filmic praxis extends back before the period of video activism in the mid-1990s, including interview videos, for example on the 1993 exhibition Unfair, and numerous multimedia punk performances in the 1980s.
Made possible with the financial support of Kulturstiftung des Bundes.
Or Gallery Editions 1+2
Reception Saturday, February 23, 8PM
The Or Gallery is pleased to announce the launch of its first two limited edition artist prints as a 25th anniversary fundraiser event for the Or Gallery.
Vancouver artists Hadley+Maxwell produced two silkscreen prints for the Or Gallery in late 2007, while finishing their residency at Künstlerhaus Bethanien, in Berlin. The two prints, Sentences on Conceptual Art 1st Draft (Sol Lewitt) and Bungled Open Cube are derived from an envisioned conflation between Sol LeWitt’s 1969 Sentences on Conceptual Art, and the tales of knight errantry read by Miguel de Cervantes’s antihero Don Quixote.
Read Sol Lewitt’s original “Sentences On Conceptual Art” (1968) here
January 11 - February 23, 2008
Reception Thursday January 10, 8PM
Curated by Michèle Faguet
One of the biases of recent conceptual art practice has been a denigration of the labour process in favour of a privileging of ideas that presumably distances the producer from the materiality of a given medium and reinforces a qualitative distinction between art and craft or between media like photography and video (thought to be intrinsically more conceptual) and more traditional media like painting and sculpture. As suggested by the title she has chosen for her exhibition, Johanna Unzueta seeks to valorize the actual process through which she transforms felt—a semi-organic, sensuous, and ‘warm’ material that both alludes to the practice of dressmaking (typically gendered female and thus undervalued) and is also an obvious reference to Beuys—into a series of sculptural objects that may be read against an entire tradition of Marxist aesthetics with its discussions of the emancipatory potential of art, but must also be situated within the biographical concerns of an artist who came of age during a military dictatorship which sought to suppress those very same ideals.
Bernd and Hilla Becher’s typological studies of constructions that function as monuments of the Industrial Revolution are an important reference that runs throughout this exhibition. In a single-channel video piece projected in the front room of the gallery, a female figure dressed in uniform and wearing a felt sculpture that hides her face, mumbles incoherently against the backdrop of the kind of barren industrial wasteland nostalgically associated with the post-industrial urban metropolis. In the main space a series of hand-sewn sculptures based on industrial structures are set against a large wall installation of drawings on cotton of schematic diagrams of tools and machinery that form part of the cultural history of the industrialization and automation of labour that signals a shift from a productive society to a consumer one.
While presumably modern technology has liberated much of the world’s workers from the drudgery of repetitive, subsistence work, the reality of globalization is that this kind of work has simply been displaced onto those populations living outside of the industrialized West.
Johanna Unzueta is a Chilean artist who currently resides in New York City. She has exhibited her work in numerous solo and group exhibitions including: “Algunas Bestias,” Perros Negros, Mexico City (2007); “Linea de Hormigas,” A Gentil Carioca, Rio de Janeiro (2007); “Johanna Unzueta,” Thrust Projects, New York (2007); “Ora y Labora,” Die Ecke Arte Contemporaneo, Santiago (2006); “Trapped by Mutual Affection” a project by Galerie Christian Nagel, Miami Design District (2005) and “Cerberus,” Plant 22, Geneva (2005).