The second installation of sculptures installed by the Vancouver Biennale in the City of North Vancouver (in addition to Wang Shugang’s sculptures) are the Walking Figures, a group of headless cast iron figures by one of my favourite artists, Magdalena Abakanowicz. These are installed individually on the sidewalk over several blocks of Lonsdale Avenue.
I still remember well Abakanowicz’ similar stunning figures called Vancouver Ancestors, set together as a powerful group on a grassy slope in Queen Elizabeth Park in 2006, also part of that year’s Vancouver Biennale.
Though I did not have the time to visit all the Walking Figures, I was excited to see several of these. Yet I did not feel these had the power of the Ancestors because they stood alone and apart next to a very busy street. I can understand the reasoning for this kind of installation – to expose art to people in their daily movements on the street, so much more prevalent in many European cities. In my short time there as I took photographs, I also observed the human traffic and it seemed not one person paused to look at them, though maybe some had already viewed them earlier if they regularly passed by them.
As part of the Vancouver Biennale for 2014 – 2016, some installations of sculpture are on display in North Vancouver City. Yesterday evening we happened to be in the neighbourhood of Ray Sargent Park on Lonsdale Avenue, right by the Gordon Smith Gallery of Canadian Art (seen in the background of the second image). I was excited to view the works of two internationally noted artists’ works.
The first group of figures, made of painted bronze, is by Wang Shugang of China.
It is not without irony that the red figures are placed in a circle, static and crouching with cupped hands, open to various interpretations, from one of thoughtful contemplation to one of latent energy ready to leap up. Wang Shugang’s installation for the Vancouver Biennale, Meeting, is painted a shade of red that is known as Chinese Red, the colour associated with the Chinese government and communism.
According to the artist, “… the colour red has multiple cultural meanings in China, historically representing happiness but during the Cultural Revolution it symbolized terror. Today red is the colour of the faded lettering praising Mao on the ceilings of the factories, coats of the Buddhist monks and the colour of wedding decorations”.
Besides noticing the sense of contemplation mentioned, I felt that there is some humour here as well! Children do love them. I’m only sorry that the light was not ideal for photography at this time of the evening so please visit the link for better photos and also more information about the artist.
(I will show photos of the other artist’s work in the next post.)
About to throw out this dirty stained strip of paper, I looked closer and became quite intrigued by the marks which look as if made by a brush in an artist’s hand. About 5.5 x 27.5 cm (2″ x 11″), it’s too wide to show well here, so I’ve cropped some details to show below.
I may be strange, but I think these are beautiful! Hmm, how might I use them?
Added 28th July: a suddenly recalled and found related object
July’s long heatwave (often up to 35c with the humidity) has made me lazy
watering the garden mornings and evenings
much reading of books, from very good to some disappointing
a cooler weekend with a bit of rain restored some energy
and an urge to play a little more with a favourite image
here are a couple of variations on the black and white hand with magnolia leaf
now it’s back to hot weather and laziness and more books
sorry for being so quiet here – I’m on vacation time
hope you are all having a great summer!
Hand with Magnolia Leaf
archival inkjet print
20.3 x 15.25 cm. (8″ x 6″)
I have forgotten to post this image of a print edition I did some time ago. Some readers may recognize this as a smaller black and white variant of this larger full colour one.
If you are new to my work, you may see more of the Hands series at the Hands link on the left side under Printworks, or visit the Gallery (still a work in progress that has stalled while awaiting a new site in WordPress).
Once again I find a tiny dead moth in my studio, wings perched as if ready to fly, as if still alive. Its rich colours, patterns and textures reveal themselves in their full glory in the scanner. Above is the top view, below the underside.
How come butterflies never come visit my studio, or even the solarium where the flowers are? They must be smarter knowing they may never find their way out again.
Happy Canada Day! Happy 147th Birthday, Canada!
I love my adopted country. But I weep for the way it is being degraded.
Thus David Suzuki’s profound message about Canada today speaks for me. Please read.