May Art in Vancouver

If it’s May, it must be Grad Show at Emily Carr time. We always enjoy seeing what the new crop of artists are up to; the photos below were taken in the school’s library. This structure, not unlike an outhouse in design, invites people to interact with it.

Ty obliged by adding some geometric patterns to the interior walls.

We really enjoyed seeing the variety of sketchbooks on display, especially those with lots of colour and pop-up shapes. They reminded me of my teen paper bag creations; I used to carry around my books in a paper grocery bag that I’d decorated with organic and geometrical patterns and figures in a variety of coloured pens. These, though, are more sophisticated than my student efforts.

I was also pleased to note the resurgence of interest in material print media (as opposed to digital images); this example is a screen print/woodblock combination illustrating what I assume is the artist’s own story.

Usually, I respond less to the design sections of the show, but this year the installation was better, more coherent somehow, and there were several pieces that I examined closely. It’s interesting that most of the student designers are working on very socially conscious projects – here’s one example.

In the Fine Arts section, there were quite a few examples of what we used to call “tight” drawing – highly detailed and illustrative. This may be a function of the renewed interest in illustration at Emily Carr.

As usual, there were lots of examples of photography, some of it in the Vancouver School vein and others more like Nan Goldin-like.

Most of the print works were abstract, several with cutout elements. I’m assuming that the latter are influenced by artists such as Swoon, with her large scale print installations of woodcuts.

We were a bit surprised to note that not much “traditional” sculpture was on display, although there were lots of three dimensional pieces and small installations.

I liked this piece quite a bit, bronze objects placed atop charred plinths.

The piece above was one of the more striking works, cut out plywood panels, I think, with dramatic lighting that cycled on and off.

I also took a look at the Roundhouse Exhibition in honour of the Twentieth Anniversary of the Langley Fine Arts School.

This show included quite a bit of illustration and also some nice mixed media wall pieces.

Another very interesting exhibition is Bioanimology at the ArtStarts Gallery on Richards, a space featuring the art produced by public school children working with artists in residence.

The projects are thematic and participants produce works that are both beautiful and socially-conscious. Grade three and five students from Enderby worked with two professional artists, Cathy Stubington and Julie Ross, to learn about local birds through puppetry, movement, song, and dramatic play.

The bird puppets are really quite delightful.

Kitsilano high school students worked with Phyllis Schwartz to produce photograms, lumen prints featuring organic materials – really beautiful.

Zev Tiefenbach worked with Salmon Art school children to produce photographic images of the weather in their world. Each child was given a digital camera for a week to record the natural environment and the feeling of being alive in that particular place.

For five weeks first nations artist Anastasia Hendry guided Langley students through a coastal first-nations-inspired series of drawings of animals on deer hide. These are beautifully mounted on circular halos of wood, together casting evocative shadows on the wall behind.

The rat man and I checked out the latest wall art in the alley behind the Dominion Building, an ever-changing cornucopia of colour.

As you can tell, Brubin is also an art lover.

On our tour through the downtown eastside I enjoyed seeing Elizabeth Zvonar’s work at the Audain Gallery in the Woodward’s Building.

While I was inside perusing the art, Ty and Brubin got caught in a rogue downpour outside …

A great discovery at 33 W Hastings was the new Lost + Found cafe, a cavernous food-art-travel emporium of global handcrafts and local art and food.

221A Centre at 221A East Pender has an exhibition of photo works by some of this year’s Emily Carr graduates.

By this time the boys were getting a little weary, so we turned our faces homeward.

Closer to home artist Yuri Padal is working on and displaying his oil paintings in the small plaza next to the Yaletown skytrain station.

See more photos here.


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