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.
Click here for a link to “Black is a Colour”, an essay by Darrin Morrison on the influential work of post-WWII Vancouver-based artist 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 – 4 p.m.
Exhibition dates: February 4 – 28, 2017
In 2016, there were two concurrent exhibitions of Peter Aspell’s work, one at the Richmond Art Gallery and the other at the West Vancouver Museum. In the preface to the accompanying catalogue, Rachel Lafo and Darrin Morrison, respectively Directors of those institutions, pointed out 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 has 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.
Opening reception: Saturday, October 15, 2-4pm.
Exhibition dates: October 14 – November 19, 2016.
Three principles shape my practice and each emphasizes the open-ended process of making paintings and texts: development by transformation (Stanley William Hayter); form is never more than an extension of content (Robert Creeley via Charles Olson); the medium is the message (Marshall McLuhan).
In the studio the search is for discovery through proprioception (sensibility within the organism by movement of its own tissue), that is, the intelligence of the body. In my practice it isn’t reason over passion, or passion over reason, but reason with passion. Not depiction of “the real” but re-enactment of the real through the proprioception of rimed experience, language, landscape and art.
— Pierre Coupey
Pierre Coupey’s work has received numerous awards, grants and commissions, including grants from the Conseil des Arts du Québec, the Canada Council, the British Columbia Arts Council, and the Audain Foundation for the Arts. In 2013 he received the Distinguished Artist Award from FANS.
His work has been exhibited in over 30 solo and 40 group shows nationally and internationally, and is represented in numerous private collections in Canada, the United States, Japan and Europe, and in corporate, university and public collections across Canada. Significant public collections include the Burnaby Art Gallery, the Canada Council Art Bank, the Kelowna Art Gallery, Simon Fraser University Art Gallery, University of Guelph Collection, the University of Lethbridge Art Gallery and the Vancouver Art Gallery.