Opening reception: Saturday, May 6, 2 – 4 p.m
Artist in Attendance
Exhibition dates: May 4 – June 3, 2017
Living in the Complexity of an Effort* presents the acclaimed Vancouver-based painter Ross Penhall in an exhibition of selected new works. The large-scale paintings describe the West Coast landscapes of British Columbia and California with the blues, yellows, browns and greens that make the artist’s style so recognizable.
In the works, shadows play at the edge of light– illuminating trees, fields, and mountains in a checkerboard fashion. The paintings throw colour over the landscape like a quilt, softening its edges and smoothing out detail. Penhall calls these images a “reminiscence of what you see,” seemingly perceptual memories of passing glances.
Penhall’s works, and the incredible attention they receive, enter into dialogue with Canada’s long tradition of landscape painting. His view presents a curious dilemma: nature is ordered and sculpted, yet devoid of human presence. These landscapes, softened to near abstraction, exist somewhere between the once-wildly primitive West Coast and our urban reality: a nod to humanity’s ever-changing relationship to the natural environment.
*quote from Janna Malamud Smith’s book An Absorbing Errand
James Nizam/ Photo by Tristan Casey
Congratulations to James Nizam who has been nominated for the Sobey Art Award 2017. Of twenty-five artists chosen from five regions in Canada, Nizam is one of five artists long-listed for the West Coast and the Yukon. The entire long list was announced by Canadian Art this week, presenting the public with the most exciting young Canadian contemporary artists to keep an eye on.
The Sobey Art Award is widely recognized as the most prestigious national art award for artists 40 and under. The annual award, administered by the National Gallery of Canada, presents a top prize of $50,000, while awarding $10,000 to each of the four finalists. Works by the winner and the four finalists will be presented in a group exhibition from October 24- December 9, 2017 at the Art Museum at the University of Toronto.
Past Sobey Art Award winners include Abbas Akhavan, David Altmejd, Daniel Barrow, Michel de Broin, Raphaëlle de Groot, Jean-Pierre Gauthier, Tim Lee, Duane Linklater, Nadia Myre, Annie Pootoogook, Jeremy Shaw and Daniel Young & Christian Giroux, all of whom have gone on to national and international careers of considerable renown.
JAMES NIZAM, The Obliquity of the Ecliptic, lightjet print, 32 x 40 inches (and 48 x 60 inches).
Announcing the release of James Nizam’s most recent image: The Obliquity of the Ecliptic. The work was commissioned as a cover image for Capture Photography Festival 2017, which runs April 1-28 in Vancouver.
Over the course of his career, Nizam’s work has investigated the imaginative possibilities of photography in living spaces. In the Dwelling Series (2006), he used long-exposure times to create striking geometrical images with light in abandoned homes. The Anteroom Series (2007) transformed rooms in abandoned homes into present-day camera obscuras, capturing the result through photographs. In Memorandums (2011), Nizam’s work gained critical attention when he created temporary sculptures with household objects in an apartment of a social housing building marked for demolition.
Most recently, Nizam’s work continues to place the viewer within the walls of private and lived spaces, employing carefully executed demolitions to draw optical geometrics for his audience.
Capture Photography Festival was launched in 2013 in Vancouver. The annual not-for-profit festival strives to celebrate photography as an art form and engage the community in fresh dialogue around its role in contemporary art. This year, over 70 Vancouver galleries and community spaces are included in its Selected and Open Exhibition Programs.
Click here for a pdf of the preface to The Art of Peter Aspell catalogue published by Richmond Art Gallery and the West Vancouver Museum, 2015, on the occasion of the concurrent exhibitions of work from the Estate of Peter Aspell.
Opening reception: Saturday, April 1, 2 – 4 p.m.
Exhibition dates: April 1 – 29, 2017
ARTIFACT brings together two Canadian artists who approach the same subject matter in very different ways. The large-scale photographs by Danny Singer (many of which are wider than 7 feet) and the small-scale paintings by Mike Bayne (the majority in this exhibition are snap-shot size, i.e. 4 x 6 inches) are both documentations of a time and place.
Singer’s photographs of the main streets of towns and hamlets on the plains of North America are represented through multiple perspectives coalesced into one frame that exceed the real-life scope of the human eye. These sparse, yet inhabited landscapes juxtapose a constructed domesticity with the vast and sublime presence of sky and cloud.
Bayne’s paintings, in comparison, transform urban spaces through an incredible force of will, or patience, on the part of the artist. Everyday banal sights are represented as photographic glances, rendered in pointed perfection on small painted panels. The subject of these moments are the ubiquitous details of humans dwelling in proximity to each other: backyard sheds, strip mall signs, cookie-cutter homes.
In Artifact, Singer’s monumental photographs present a plurality of perspectives that dialogue with Bayne’s meticulous paintings: there are many ways to see the simplest things.
Opening reception: Thursday, March 2, 5 – 8 p.m.
Artist Talk: Saturday, March 4, 2:30 p.m.
Exhibition dates: March 3 – 29, 2017
Within Paul Morstad’s deftly rendered paintings, you can see the work of a gifted storyteller who can succinctly weave a lucid and compelling narrative. Much like Claude Debussy’s enigmatic definition of music as “the space between notes”, Morstad also crafts ambiguity into his work that leaves the viewer picking up threads as they wind through the ether of thoughtful substance.
His paintings are dense with allegory, wit, whimsy and absurdity. Thick with a confluence of ideologies, the works allude to Romanticism, the Age of Enlightenment, and the Industrial Age. He celebrates minds that pushed past the stagnation of the status quo, measured themselves with a new sense of humility, and set us on a course that now strains the capacity of the natural world.
“Was he an animal, that music could move him so? He felt as if the way to the unknown nourishment he longed for were coming to light” – Franz Kafka , The Metamorphosis
Morstad’s “Kartofel Kafka” is a painting of Franz Kafka sitting at a desk intensely typing, while positioned atop a Potato Beetle (Kartofel). All about are opened flying books expelling thick smoke, some of which have come to rest in nesting stacks. As an introduction to the image, Paul recounts a Cold War story of the Soviets accusing the Americans of secretly dropping millions of Colorado potato beetles to wipe out their food supply.
At first glance, the scene seems succinct and charming, but the viewer slowly becomes aware of a brewing pathos seeping through. Kafka’s The Metamorphosis presents the fictional story of Gregor, who wakes up one morning to discover that he has turned into a beetle. This novella is a stew of estrangement and despair. By all accounts, this short story could be autobiographical. Franz Kafka, who suffered from alienation, depression, and anxiety, was one of the great tragic figures of the literary world.
An abridged list of Paul Morstad’s skills and interests reads as follows; Artist, Musician (banjo and fiddle), Animator (he spent ten years working for the National Film Board), an affable conversationalist, a naturalist with an omnivorous interest in zoology, ornithology and biology, an explorer (he has canoed the canals and waterways through Germany to France, and Montreal to New York), an avid reader of literature and an armchair historian. His art provides a sense of all of that and more.
Opening reception: Saturday, February 4, 2 – 4pm.
Exhibition dates: February 4 – 28, 2017.
In 2016 there were two concurrent exhibitions of Peter Aspell’s work, at the Richmond Art Gallery and the West Vancouver Museum. In the preface to the accompanying catalogue, Rachel Lafo and Darrin Morrison, respectively Directors of those institutions, pointed to the fact that more than 50 years had passed since a serious examination of Aspell’s paintings had taken place in a public institution. There are legions of art collectors, professionals and enthusiasts that saw this as a significant oversight and last year’s exhibitions were a sizeable effort to remedy this.
Peter Aspell had a unique visual language with which he explored the heights and depths of the human condition. He can be simultaneously seen as a visionary portraitist, capturing archetypes with poetic details, a masterful colourist and an archaeologist of imagery.
This exhibition brings together collected work from the Estate that has not been available for sale since Aspell’s passing in 2004. Curating it has been an exploration of one of Canada’s most dynamic creative minds from the the last century.