An expansive performative practice: Fashion Fictions at the Vancouver Art Gallery 

The practice of performance art touches a nerve that resonates back through history and then bounds forward, opening new possibilities for expression that combine philosophical ideas with bodily attire and the actions performed. Its ephemeral nature and inherent insights, accessible only when the body is in the presence of a [...]

- 4 mins read
L’art et la vie : General Idea au Musée des beaux-arts du Canada

L’importante contribution de General Idea à l’histoire de l’art est largement reconnue dans les écrits et parsème les textes du volumineux catalogue qui accompagne l’exposition du Musée des beaux-arts du Canada. La littérature connexe relate leurs influences – Marshall McLuhan, qui fut aux fondements de la théorie des médias ; Andy [...]

- 7 mins read
Engaging Art with Life: General Idea at the National Gallery of Canada

That General Idea has contributed significantly to the history of art is widely acknowledged in publications and sprinkled throughout the writings in the voluminous catalogue that accompanies the General Idea exhibition at the National Gallery of Canada. The attendant literature relates influences – the cornerstone of media theory, Marshall McLuhan; [...]

- 5 mins read
Rhodnie Désir, BOW'T TRAIL Retrospek, 2020. Photo: Kevin Calixte. Courtesy of RD Créations.
Erasing Space Between: Rhodnie Désir’s Performance at the Cultch Theatre

Rhodnie Désir’s performance BOW'T TRAIL Retrospek is a one-person choreographed piece that she has performed over the years in a number of iterations. This review was based on her performance at the Cultch Theatre in Vancouver, after which I had the opportunity to meet her and discuss her work. In [...]

- 4 mins read
Northern Narratives

A Story in Three Parts presents Kenojuak Ashevak’s drawings and prints (Life and Legacy, 1998–2013), Sharni Pootoogook’s works on paper (Creatures, Shadows and Dreams, 2001–02), and a thirty-seven-minute film by the Isuma Collective directed by Carol Kunnuk (Ataguttaluk—A Life to Live For, 2019). The works, like linchpins, span generations—familial resemblance [...]

- 4 mins read
Kerry James Marshall – Black in America

During his artist talk at the University of British Columbia, Kerry James Marshall said that although he grew up knowing that he had a gift for making things, it was not his African American identity that first drove him forward but the study of art. He loved to visit museums [...]

- 5 mins read
Sean Caulfield: Dead Weight Creates Another Stillness

A gallery, cloistered and more precise than messy worldliness, is a step removed from the hustling and bustling urban surround. Within this insulated, focused space the work can inspire another stillness. Sean Caulfield’s Active Workings does this dramatically by flipping convention upside down so that we are suspended by the [...]

- 3 mins read
Joice M. Hall - “GWAII HAANAS – Islands and Sacred Sites”

It is a maze, this art world where a proliferation of works worthy of notice rise to the top only as often as the art machine can support a way through the many paths that can be taken to a viable end. Too often criticism can be swift with an eye [...]

- 4 mins read
Called Johnson
Loosening Identity

Experience and desire without inhibition from fetters, enables the birth of hybridity. From the Greeks for instance a new generation of gods came to be. Zeus as a swan mated with Leda and Venus was born to become the Goddess of love. But first, Zeus needed to transform and Leda had [...]

- 3 mins read
From Russia with Interest

Entering Red Square just as the sun is beginning to set, the gates are slightly lower than the square so that the magnificent buildings come into view slowly. A red wall punctuated by manicured trees, a building delineated by lights, corner towers with ruby stars shining atop and in front, [...]

- 3 mins read
Takashi Murakami’s “Juxtapoz x Super Flat”

Takashi Murakami took the language of street smarts and hard work and combined it with low-brow imagery. In a flurry of repetitive, obsessive art making, he become the archetypal artist that Sarah Thornton used for a sample “studio visit” in Seven Days in the Art World. His production struck a chord that rings with the [...]

- 3 mins read
Fire and Brimstone

Written in 1971 from a hotel view of a fire blazing on the opposite shores of Lake Geneva, Switzerland, Deep Purple said it: “No matter what we get out of this, I know we’ll never forget – Smoke on the water, fire in the sky.” Fire is mind blowing and as with [...]

- 3 mins read
Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun
It is their Time

Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun’s exhibition Unceded Territories is striking and contemporary. Exceptional, outstanding and impressive, the works draw notice. They are conspicuous. And like the secondary definition of “striking” in the dictionary, the exhibition is “on strike”, a visual protest against a biased interpretation of Indigenous knowledge and history. Unceded Territories is contemporary because it is “existing, [...]

- 3 mins read
John Hall
The Refractoriness of Matter

John Hall’s forty-five year retrospective exhibition Travelling Light at the Kelowna Art Gallery, curated by Liz Wylie, lays a premise on the line. Hall comes to grips with contemporary culture proving that life is a series of relationships with objects, each having a place in a hierarchy of significance that is shaped [...]

- 3 mins read
Letter from LA

LA is culturally vibrant with Canadians right in the flow of the creative, happening buzz. Not a totally new decision, the run to the sun; one of LA’s most progressive commercial spaces, ACE Gallery, LA’s longest running commercial art space has been flourishing and expanding under a Vancouverite, David Chrismas [...]

- 3 mins read
Mentoring: Accessible Expertise

Universities support research that will further disciplines and fine arts is no exception. Although it seems at odds with the picture of an artist ‘working it out’ in a chilly garret, art now moves increasingly towards interconnectivity with social, environmental and political issues as the subject matter, and co-operation rather [...]

- 3 mins read
How to Fix a Money Machine: BGL at Venice Biennale 2015

In the Canadian pavilion, BGL’s money machine was broken. The structure which resembled the kind of track that ball rolls down in an arcade game had to be modified. It was the middle of June with Greece in the thick of insecurity negotiating with the E.U., also hoping to fix [...]

- 3 mins read
Freak Flag Flying

“Why Must Women Always Carry Banners” was the title given to a piece I had written in the 70’s for FILE magazine about a job interview I had gone to in New York City answering a call for ‘women with university degrees’. The interview turned out to be an explicit [...]

- 5 mins read
Robert Gober – Sturtevant. Challenging, Changing

Robert Gober’s The Heart is Not a Metaphor and Sturtevant’s Double Trouble showed concurrently at MOMA in New York, each exhibition dealing with resemblance. Gober’s work prompted Sturtevant (last name only) to create her own ‘Gober’. Both artists questioned authenticity; Sturtevant challenging, Gober changing. Gober executes at odds with expectation. White industrial-looking sinks fill the first gallery [...]

- 3 mins read
Gary Pearson. Depths of the Ersatz

With a visual range as tonal as a Gershwin symphony, Pearson paints romance vacillating between hope and despair, people and place, artifice and authenticity, jazz and classical. He pares the synthetic, choreographed tropes of modernity down to rations, to spare poignant depictions. Pearson’s exhibition Turn Back, Detour, Go On at Winsor Gallery [...]

- 3 mins read
Where have all the Protests Gone? Douglas Coupland/Janet Cardiff & George Bures Miller

Canada is a country where personal wars cause the flow of social consciousness to stop and go like the slinky effect of a highway at rush hour. But for the most part, traffic flows smoothly so that we hold in our collective memory an image where progress has meant more rather [...]

- 6 mins read
Kimsooja Unfolding

Movement is a constant experience that courses through the duration of each life, as blood flows, breath is drawn and growth occurs. Meditation attempts to slow down the rush in order to appreciate, with awareness, being. Kimsooja’s work recognises the spiritual through slowing down movement. Much of the work is based on bottari, [...]

- 2 mins read
The Fafard Travelling Show. A Tune to Art: Sculptures and Song

A Tune to Art: Sculptures and Song brings back into perspective the out-of-whack-ness of the contemporary art scene where galleries resemble corporate businesses, the entire world is digitalised and one-to-one has become a novel marketing concept. A Tune to Art is a road show and like a medicine wagon pulling into town it delivers a [...]

- 4 mins read
Shary Boyle. A Resounding Silence

The Canadian Pavilion is tucked in a corner of the Giardini just past the German pavilion, long line ups must be skirted in order to gain entrance. Once in the gate, black feet are seen dangling from overhead, toes displaying suppleness more like graceful fingers. The lithe limbs and slim [...]

- 3 mins read
“Traces: Fantasy Worlds and Tales of Truth”

When the heart races because of unknowing – not with fear but with wonder – fantasy is present in the room, realised and made physical. Traces with Ed Pien, Alison Norlen, Daniel Barrow, and Scott Amos at The Victoria Art Gallery successfully completes the difficult transformation from the imagined into the phenomenal object while [...]

- 2 mins read
Caught in Traffic

Traffic, attempts an overview of conceptual art in Canada between 1965 and 1980 focusing on ideas specific to areas as well as addressing the “traffic” across the geography. Roy Kiyooka’s piece Long Beach to Peggy’s Cove, 576 images, literally covers geography. The nature of conceptual art—that it is based in concept rather [...]

- 3 mins read
Laurie Anderson - Rabbit warren of memory

This January, Laurie Anderson was the artist in residence during the High Performance Rodeo1, Calgary. Her video installation, The Gray Rabbit, is showing at the Glenbow Museum till April 9, 2012. Freely associating symbols through the examination of an informative life incident, the influence of that incident illuminates the psyche to [...]

- 4 mins read
Zachari Logan - To Thine Own Self

To be amazed by being is an attribute of youth. Ahead, there stretches a seemingly endless road where the future sizzles with potential. It is no wonder that ‘emerging’ is desirable for the beginning of a journey is packed with freshness, positive energy and vested with undaunted beliefs. It is [...]

- 4 mins read
Srdjan Segan - The Decision has been Made

The Penticton Art Gallery presented Srdjan Segan’s Being The Body With Limbs That Have Extention to Space as an energetic mini-retrospective of this Serbian / Canadian artist’s oeuvre to date. Segan had the formative experience of being a young man in the former Yugoslavian Republic of Croatia where in 1991 [...]

- 4 mins read
Stan Douglas, Marc Séguin, David Altmejd - In Clean Shirts

There is a Canadian fresh, wholesome whiff of belief dispelling the smell of detached irony in Chelsea, NYC. Stan Douglas at David Zwirner, David Altmejd at Andrea Rosen Gallery, and Marc Séguin at Mike Weiss Gallery clear the air of politicised reflections as a mature, confident conversation brings forth relief from [...]

- 4 mins read