The Art Caravan briefly visited the Vancouver Art Gallery a couple of weeks ago, and was pleasantly surprised by the exhibition Entangled: Two Views on Contemporary Canadian Painting.
People are People, Sarah Cale, 2013
Twin of Concealment, 2016, Colleen Heslin
Polarisation NNB, 2013, Julie Trudel
N=32%, 2006, Francine Savard
I walked into the various rooms of the show, experiencing the artworks without reading the curatorial statement, or the explanations….somewhat unusual for me. Instead I moved through the show twice, discussed some of the pieces with my companion, and took a few photos of the works I found particularly intriguing and satisfying. Only while preparing this posting, did I read the VAG’s brief description:
Entangled: Two Views on Contemporary Canadian Painting offers an insight into two distinctly different modes of painting that have come to dominate contemporary painting in this country. The origins of both can be effectively traced back to the 1970s, to a moment when the continued existence of painting was hotly debated. Within that debate two new strategies were devised, one that proposed the possibility of conceptual painting—a highly refined notion of painting that emerged from and returned to the idea—and a second, ambivalent proposition that valued actions and materials over ideas—in short, doing and making were pitted against ideas and concepts.
So: the conceptual as opposed to the material. When I look at the paintings I photographed, I realize I had unconsciously gravitated towards the second proposition: the materials and the making were more interesting to me than the conceptual works. I suspect it may have something to do with the tactile, textural works being more easily understood and appreciated.
For example, Colleen Heslin‘s work is composed of canvas, dyed by the artist, and pieced together–referencing collage, fiber arts, quilting, and even tie-dyeing from the 70’s.
Pause, 2016, Colleen Heslin
Painting fragments, adhered acrylic and oil make up Sarah Cale‘s pieces. They, too, have a collage feeling, reminiscent of the groundbreaking work of Picasso and Braque at the beginning of the twentieth century.
Strange to be Yourself, Sarah Cale, 2015
Strange to be Yourself; People are People, Sarah Cale
Perhaps Francine Savard‘s pieces combine both the conceptual and the material. Les Couleurs de Cézanne dans les mots de Rilke reference the poet Rilke’s writings about the Impressionist painter, Cézanne, who was, in turn, extremely interested in the poet, Baudelaire. The ‘painting’ is composed of vinyl and acrylic paint on canvas, mounted on fibreboard, and includes a framed book.
Les Couleurs de CEZANNE dans les mots de RILKE, Francine Savard
Les Couleurs de CEZANNE dans les mots de RILKE (detail), Francine Savard
There are 31 Canadian painters in this show…..and I was only familiar with one of them. It’s exciting to learn about contemporary Canadian painting. I encourage you to visit the VAG soon, if possible. The show ends January 1, 2018.