February 13, 2013
BY ELIZABETH GODLEY
Two military-looking figures gaze quizzically at a third, who sports a red clown nose. A male figure with silver wings attached to his wrists balances atop a marble mountain. A tiny female figure nestles in a man’s palm. A woman bends to strip off her jeans, while eyes – hidden in her shoes – observe her. Reinhard Skoracki’s small-scale sculptures, most under 25 centimetres tall, are almost toy-like. But they pack a serious punch, radiating a philosophical angst mixed with a corrosive wit that the German-born artist says is often inspired by a love of literature by such giants as Franz Kafka and Hermann Hesse.
Skoracki agrees that “the marriage of the literary with the visual” is unusual in contemporary art. But he notes that his sculptures are not literal translations, but works that can stand independently. “The pieces [suggest] my own personal response to visionary storytelling of alienation and, most timely of all, absurdity. Further contemplation, however, can also tweak waves of social consciousness.”
He strives to show human life in all its complexity, he says. “I try to wrest that fundamental grain of truth, regardless of whether the truth bears a joyous or a frightening countenance.” Viewers, he hopes, will see in his sculptures something of their own experience as they struggle to make sense of a politically and economically challenged world. His figures, modelled in a classical style that echoes ancient Greek sculpture, confront their unlikely situations bravely, yet with a certain amount of humility.
Skoracki moved to Canada in 1988 and graduated from Alberta College of Art and Design with distinction in 1996. He holds a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from the University of Calgary and subsequently worked in advertising. His work has won national and international recognition and can been seen in many private and corporate collections. Recently, he completed important commissions for the University of Calgary and Royal Alexandra Hospital in Edmonton.
Most of the pieces are one-off, but a few are created in editions of two, three or five. Prices range from $1,500 to $4,000. His work will be on display in an exhibition titled Stories at the Kurbatoff Gallery, 2435 Granville St., Vancouver, from Feb. 21 to March 7, 2013. The opening will be held on Feb. 24 from 2 to 4 p.m. www.kurbatoffgallery.com.
Tamara Bond’s imaginative paintings at Bau-Xi Gallery were inspired by the peacocks in Beacon Hill Park petting zoo. These fanciful birds, says Bond, are always showing off their beautiful feathers to the llamas and goats but never to the peahens! Bond’s solo show runs until Feb. 28 and the artist will be in attendance at the opening reception Feb. 16, 2 to 4 p.m., Bau-Xi Gallery, 3045 Granville St., www.bau-xi.com.
The China Effect is the title of Tom Burrows’ solo exhibition at Bau-Xi Gallery March 2 to 24. Burrows’ poured polymer panels create subtle, translucent abstractions. The artist will be in attendance at the opening reception March 2 from 2 to 4 p.m. at 3045 Granville St.
- Granville Fine Art will be seeing red over the next month as the gallery holds The Red Show, a group exhibition in which all the artists explore a red theme. A number of the artists will be in attendance at the opening reception Feb. 16 from 2 to 4 p.m. The show continues to March 8 and partial proceeds from sales will benefit the Callanish Society, a non-profit organization that provides retreats for people living with cancer and their families.2447 Granville St., www.granvillefineart.com.
- Brighten your day by taking in Ron Sangha’s colourful and thought-provoking digital prints at Deer Lake Gallery, 6584 Deer Lake Road, Burnaby, to March 2. The artist will be creating artwork at the gallery Feb. 17, 23 and 24 noon to 4 p.m.
- An exhibition of Paris-born Canadian artist Philippe Raphanel’s work is showing at the Equinox Gallery until March 16. Raphanel’s current abstract work is inspired by nature, specifically water. Equinox Gallery, 525 Great Northern Way, www.equinoxgallery.com.
- Following the exhibition of Reinhard Skoracki’s sculptures at theKurbatoff Gallery (opposite page), Canadian actress and artist Elisabetta Fantone, will have her first solo show on the West Coast. Fantone’s contemporary approach to portrait painting has been described as “modern pop art.” April 11 to 23 at the Kurbatoff Gallery, 2435 Granville St., www.kurbatoffgallery.com.