November 17, 2017

Art Scene: Winter’s art exhibits reflect the vastness of human experience

Florescence is just one of colourist Sylvia Tait’s works on paper now showing at the Burnaby Art Gallery. Photo: Blaine Campbell

By Shawn Conner

Burnaby Art Gallery
West Coast artist Sylvia Tait is recognized mainly as an abstractionist and colourist. Sylvia Tait: Journey is a survey of works on paper that include ink drawings, digital drawings, prints, acrylic paintings, collages, posters and ephemera. The exhibition also includes a selection of figurative works, with a particular focus on friends, family and the cultural community. Tait, who spent years in Mexico in the 1950s, cites Abstract Expressionism and classical music among her influences.
Sylvia Tait: Journey until Jan. 7, 2018
6344 Deer Lake Ave., Burnaby, 604-297-4422

Vancouver Art Gallery
In July 1943, when he was 24, Gordon Smith was deployed with the Allied invasion at Pachino Beach, Sicily (code name Husky). He was severely wounded in the fight. Forty-seven years later, he began producing his so-called “black paintings.” Strikingly different from the landscape images he is primarily known for, the paintings are dense and darkly abstract. They are also punctuated with occasional colour, text andcollaged elements—sometimes referring explicitly to this wartime experience. “The expressive possibilities of abstraction are completely brought to bear in Smith’s black paintings; these complex, layered works reveal Gordon Smith’s ongoing interest in how paint looks and feels and how gesture reverberates when expressed through paint,” says Ian Thom, senior curator at the Vancouver Art Gallery.
Gordon Smith: The Black Paintings until Jan. 28
750 Hornby St., 604-662-4700

Gordon Smith’s 1995 painting Tanu is one of the “black paintings” inspired by his wartime experiences. At the Vancouver Art Gallery. Photo: Courtesy of Vancouver Art Gallery

Kurbatoff Gallery
Elaborate and deliberate, Chris

Charlebois’ brushstrokes suggest his subjects like the branches of a tree. From a distance, a landscape is revealed in the layers upon layers of paint. From up close, the viewer can enjoy the intricate execution of the artwork, densely packed with colour and texture. As the artist says, “I cannot compete with nature, but I can attempt to add to it.”
Chris Charlebois until Nov. 30
2435 Granville St., 604-736-5444

What The Thunder Said, by Jay Senetchko, combines time, space and reality at Winsor Gallery.

Winsor Gallery
Figurative artist Jay Senetchko sees himself as a storyteller. But he’s also a philosopher. One can see this in the description of Vancouver-based artist’s upcoming five-painting exhibit, The Course of a Distant Empire. The work “has its genesis in the theory of eternal recurrence,” according to the Winsor Gallery website. “This philosophy maintains that time, space and reality are part of a recurring cycle, rather than a linear series of events with an eschatological end . . . this series (of oil paintings) views modern, as well as past, and potential future, societies as being moments in an unending cycle of development, stagnation, collapse and rebirth.” Senetchko’s work often features elements of his personal history, and derives inspiration from different historical periods and well as modern life.
Jay Senetchko: The Course of a Distant Empire Nov. 23 to Jan. 3
258 E. 1st Ave, 604-681-4870

Alexandra Bischoff’s installation Rereading Room: The Vancouver Women’s Bookstore (1973-1996) evokes the 1970s at the Belkin Art Gallery. Photo: Michael R. Barrick

Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery
Beginning with the Seventies: Archives, Art and Activism is a Belkin Art Gallery initiative investigating the 1970s. Specifically, it’s a research project dedicated to uncovering and preserving archives, collections and networks from non-profit organizations that formed in Vancouver in that decade. GLUT is the first of four proposed Beginning with the Seventies exhibits. The exhibition “is concerned with language, depictions of the woman reader as an artistic genre and the potential of reading as performed resistance.” The exhibit’s centrepiece is the installation Rereading Room, a reconstruction of the Vancouver Women’s Bookstore (1973-1996).
Beginning with the Seventies: GLUT Jan. 12 to April 8
1825 Main Mall, UBC, 604-822-2759






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