Visual arts critic's picks
Grassy galleries and Dutch greats top roster
Many of the eclectic exhibitions lined up this season address our fraught relationship with the natural world. Some works are confrontational, others are meditative, still others attempt reconciliation. Oh, and don't overlook the shows that are already launched: spring has sprung in many of our galleries and museums.
Germaine Koh: Fallow
Until March 8 at the Charles H. Scott Gallery
Koh transplants a vacant urban lot—weeds, grass, blackberry bushes, and topsoil—to the usually pristine, white-walled environment of the art gallery. The process of relocation brings us up against entrenched ideas about land value and urban development, and notions of usefulness and productivity.
The Draw: Smelling of damp earth and growing things, this installation reminds us of the creative potential of idle times and fallow places.
Isabelle Pauwels: B and E
Until March 22 at Presentation House Gallery
One of Vancouver's most inventive and fearless artists presents two new video installations. One work was shot inside an old porn theatre on Main Street (and you thought the Internet had made such places obsolete), and the other was recorded in the artist's grandparents' house in Belgium.
The Draw: Pauwels uses crude video technology to explore ideas of family, colonialism, pornography, and social strata.
Grow Art: the Sustainable Natural Art Program
Until September 13 at the Means of Production Community Garden, China Creek Park, at the corner of St. Catherines Street and East 6th Avenue
A group of artists works with community members in the creation of art using materials grown in the garden. The program is overseen by the Means of Production Artist Raw Resource Collective, including Sharon Kallis, Oliver Kellhammer, Lois Klassen, and Lori Weidenhammer. Workshops and tea parties are scheduled throughout the spring and summer.
The Draw: Grow Art reminds us that cooperation and sustainability are important practices in art as well as commerce. (For information, write to email@example.com.)
March 21 to August 30 at the Surrey Art Gallery
This new-media installation draws on both Eastern and Western views of the creation of the universe. A collaboration between Scheherazaad Cooper, Brady Marks, and Chris Welsby, it combines classical Indian dance with interactive technology responsive to real-time weather conditions.
The Draw: Through moving images and shifting sounds, we sample ways in which religion, science, and art attempt to explain the inexplicable—existence.
Dmitry Strakovsky: ”¦as if a forest
April 3 to May 9 at the grunt gallery
Strakovsky's audio and video installation launches with a performance on April 3. The artist is scheduled to read from an IKEA-like set of instructions, not for putting together a bookcase, but for generating an aural experience of a forest. Remixed and looped, these sounds will then play through speakers hung on vine-like cords in the gallery.
The Draw: The deconstructed, reconstructed, and electronically mediated sounds should provoke our thinking about the ways illusions are created and experience is manipulated.
Vermeer, Rembrandt and the Golden Age of Dutch Art: Masterpieces from the Rijksmuseum
May 10 to September 13 at the Vancouver Art Gallery
You don't have to go to Amsterdam this summer to see some of the stars of 17th-century Dutch painting and decorative arts. The show promises us The Love Letter by Jan Vermeer and Portrait of His Son Titus, Dressed as a Monk by Rembrandt van Rijn, among an impressive lineup of great and good works.
The Draw: There are fewer than 40 known Vermeer paintings in the world, and you've got to see this one in the flesh, if only to marvel at how it lights up the room.
Andreas Gursky: Werke/Works 80-08
May 30 to September 20 at the Vancouver Art Gallery
A 28-year survey of photographs by one of the most acclaimed artists of our time. Based in Dí¼sseldorf, Gursky shoots scenes of the contemporary urban landscape, ranging from parks to plazas to shoe stores to the faí§ades of apartment buildings. His major preoccupation seems to be the relationship between people and the spaces they inhabit.
The Draw: Although Gursky is usually associated with large-scale photographs, most of the works in this exhibition are more intimate in size.
Spring Arts | Visual Arts
Artspeak ”¢ JUDGMENT AND CONTEMPORARY ART CRITICISM: READING ROOM to Mar. 28. Info 604-688-0051, www.artspeak.ca/
Burnaby Art Gallery ”¢ AGANETHA DYCK: COLLABORATIONS to Apr. 12 ”¢ ARTS ALIVE 2009 Apr. 23–May 24. Info 604-297-4422, www.burnabyartgallery.ca/
Centre A ”¢ A LITTLE DISTILLERY IN NOWGONG to Feb. 28 ”¢ ANOTHER CITY Mar. 13–Apr. 25. Info 604-683-8326, www.centrea.org/
Charles H. Scott Gallery ”¢ GERMAINE KOH: FALLOW to Mar. 8. Info 604-844-3809, chscott.ecuad.ca/
Contemporary Art Gallery ”¢ PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE to Mar. 29. Info 604-681-2700, www.contemporaryartgallery.ca/
Diane Farris Gallery ”¢ WOMEN EMPOWERED to Mar. 7 ”¢ NORTHERN RAVEN Mar. 12-28 ”¢ TABLEAU PRINTEMPS Apr. 2-18 ”¢ NEW WORKS Apr. 23–May 9 ”¢ ENTWINING RIVER May 14-30. Info 604-737-2629, www.dianefarrisgallery.com/
Evergreen Cultural Centre ”¢ MAILLARDVILLE 100 YEARS AND BEYOND to Mar. 21 ”¢ COAST ART TRUST SOCIETY: NEW AND RECENT WORKS Mar. 27–May 9 ”¢ ALTERNATIVE IDENTITIES May 15–Jun. 27. Info 604-927-6550, www.evergreenculturalcentre.ca/
Gallery Gachet ”¢ STREAMS OF HISTORY to Mar. 1 ”¢ FEMINSTRATION: YOU DRAW LIKE A GIRL Mar. 6-29. Info 604-687-2468, www.gachet.org/
Gallery of B.C. Ceramics ”¢ FINGERPLAY: B.C. IN A BOX Mar. 1-31 ”¢ TAM IRVING: COLOUR FIELDS Apr. 4-30. Info 604-669-3606, www.galleryofbcceramics.com/
Grunt Gallery ”¢ FICKLE AS POISON to Mar. 28 ”¢ AS IF A FOREST Apr. 3–May 9. Info 604-875-9516, www.grunt.ca/
Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery ”¢ ACTION-CAMERA: BEIJING PERFORMANCE PHOTOGRAPHY to Apr. 19 ”¢ JACK SHADBOLT: UNDERPINNINGS May 1–Jun. 21 ”¢ RECENT ACQUISITIONS TO THE COLLECTION Jul. 3–Aug. 23. Info 604-822-2759, www.belkin.ubc.ca/
Museum of Anthropology ”¢ TATAU from Mar. 8 ”¢ PANEL INSTALLATION: ’EHHWE’P SYUTH from Mar. 8. Info 604-827-5932, www.moa.ubc.ca/
Or Gallery ”¢ DANGER IN PARADISE to Mar. 7 ”¢ OF VAGRANT DWELLERS IN THE HOUSELESS WOODS Mar. 14–Apr. 18. Info 604-683-7395, www.orgallery.org/
Presentation House Gallery ”¢ B & E to Mar. 22 ”¢ SOMETHING’S HAPPENING HERE from Mar. 1 ”¢ PHOT(O)BJECTS Apr. 9–Jun. 7. Info 604-986-1351, www.presentationhousegall.com/
Richmond Art Gallery ”¢ GUISE to Mar. 22 ”¢ OBSERVATION OF WONDER Apr. 2–May 17 ”¢ NAVIGATING THE UNCERTAINTY PRINCIPLE Apr. 2–May 17. Info 604-247-8300, www.richmondartgallery.org/
Sidney and Gertrude Zack Gallery ”¢ GOOD MOURNING FLOWERS to Mar. 8 ”¢ REVELATIONS Mar. 12–Apr. 19. Info 604-257-5111, www.jccgv.com/
Simon Fraser University Gallery ”¢ SECOND AND THIRD YEAR STUDENT SHOW Feb. 27–Mar. 30. Info 778-782-4266, www.sfu.ca/artgallery/
Surrey Art Gallery ”¢ EARTH MATTERS to Mar. 1 ”¢ EDWARD BURTYNSKY: AN UNEASY BEAUTY to Mar. 22 ”¢ JOHN WYNNE: WIREFRAME to Mar. 22. Info 604-501-5566, www.arts.surrey.ca/
Teck Gallery ”¢ BLACK COMMUNITIES OF BRITISH COLUMBIA 1858-2008 to May 10 ”¢ DAVID WISDOM May 15–Aug. 29. Info 778-782-4266, www.sfu.ca/artgallery/
Vancouver Art Gallery ”¢ LEGACIES OF IMPRESSIONISM IN CANADA to Apr. 19 ”¢ HOW SOON IS NOW to May 3 ”¢ ENACTING ABSTRACTION to May 10 ”¢ WESTERN LANDSCAPES Mar. 7–May 18 ”¢ NEXT REECE TERRIS: OUGHT APARTMENT Apr. 25–Sept. 20 ”¢ VERMEER, REMBRANDT, AND THE GOLDEN AGE OF DUTCH ART May 9–Sept. 13 ”¢ ANDREAS GURSKY: WERKE/WORKS 80-08 May 30–Sept. 20 ”¢ ANTHONY HERNANDEZ May 30–Sept. 7 ”¢ STAN DOUGLAS: KLATSASSIN May 30–Sept. 13 ”¢ TWO VISIONS: EMILY CARR AND JACK SHADBOLT May 30–Sept. 13. Info 604-662-4719, www.vanartgallery.bc.ca/
Winsor Gallery ”¢ GABRYEL HARRISON to Mar. 8 ”¢ PATRICIA JOHNSTON to Mar. 8 ”¢ MARK MIZGALA Mar. 12–Apr. 5 ”¢ PATRICK HUGHES Mar. 12–Apr. 5. Info 604-681-4870, www.winsorgallery.com/