Current exhibitions - January 6 - February 18, 2011

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Jennifer McAuley - Landscapes of Suburbia


In the Main Gallery Coquitlam-based artist Jennifer McAuley presents a collection of paintings - primarily oil on panel - that explore the manufactured landscape as it comes up against the wild and more traditional landscapes of the North West. Most of the paintings are inspired by the local parks and green areas in the Tri Cities area. The artist says about her exhibition, Landscapes of Suburbia, “When one lives in suburbia they seek refuge and a return to nature in the parks and wild areas that are either pocketed by the expanding city or that border the sprawl. These areas are beautiful and dynamic, a refuge not only to the dog walkers and hikers but a vital artery for migrating birds and interurban wild life. The spaces have a sad beauty. Flanked by industrial parks, overlooked by housing developments and bordered by bridges and train tracks, the city leans into these pocket-oasis’, bullying them into submission. Similarly, nature seems to fight back, sprouting weeds between the train tracks, dropping leaves on nearby buildings and steaming fog into suburbia in the early morning hours. These paintings ponder the beauty, fragility and tenacity of these areas and contemplate the human desire to own, to structure, to interact with and to control nature.”

Margaret K. Haydon - Philosopher Fish

Landlocked (detail)

Margaret K. Haydon’s exhibition Philosopher Fish in the 3D Gallery is concerned with iconic images of an ancient and odd-looking fish, the sturgeon.  Stylistically the work is muscular, blending abstract and representative elements to convey both the beauty and the strangeness of this animal.  She also includes elements that suggest specific aspects of the life, history and current environmental predicament of the sturgeon.  Sturgeon are important creatures historically, genetically, socially and now environmentally.  There are twenty-six species left, and many of them are threatened because of dams, pollution and over-fishing. This is a fish so perfectly designed that it has existed in the same form on this earth for two hundred million years. The artist aesthetic interest is enriched with her environmental commitment which is evident through her artistic work as well as activism. As the artist says: “My investigation of the sturgeon has expanded the purpose of my aesthetic activity.  My work has become not only an expression of my personal ideas, but also a vehicle for environmental awareness and advocacy.  During the past two years I have begun to organize exhibitions and presentations that introduce information on specific aspects of the environment.  Partial proceeds from the sale of my work or the sale of representative portfolios are donated to relevant and effective environmental advocacy groups such as the Ocean Conservancy.  Forging this direct link between my personal work and social issues has revitalized my life and sparked an increasing interest in other forms of social entrepreneurialism.”

Kirsten Chursinoff - Nesting Season

 3-D Nest

The Plum Gallery Display Case showcases the fibre-based artworks of Kirsten Chursinoff, the 2006 Recipient of the Visual Arts Development Award and a graduate of the Textile Art Program of Capilano University in North Vancouver. In her exhibition Nesting Season she is making use of traditional craft techniques in a contemporary context using fibres to depict the twigs of nests, and embroidery and quilting for the birds. She is searching for a hidden narrative in the lives of birds. In the artist’s words: “We all have our own stories about finding nests as children, and many of us continue to be fascinated by nests our whole lives.  With this series of textile illustrations, I’m probing into the secret lives of birds.  I’m searching for the beautiful details that have inspired artists and writers, and continue to spark our collective imagination.”

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Mary Walker - Eagle’s Epic Journey


Mary Walker’s exhibition, Eagle’s Epic Journey, in the Plum Gallery and Scotiabank Gallery employs an art form, quilling, which dates back to the 13th century. It is an art form that involves the use of strips of paper that are rolled, shaped, and glued together to create decorative designs. The paper is wound around a quill to create a basic coil shape. During the Renaissance, French and Italian nuns and monks used quilling to decorate book covers and religious items. Walker uses this art form not as decoration but as an autonomic art form in contemporary subject matter, the eagle. In the artist’s words: “Both modern and ancient cultures respected and even revered the eagle.  True to its reputation the eagle remains aloof, majestic and regal.  It is not only an ardent predator; the Eagle also soars on high with our spirit, as we watch in awe.” The artist hopes to reveal the many natures of this great bird, its personalities and abilities.