On Saturday, we went with friends to the Vancouver Art Gallery to see a couple of the exhibitions, one historical and one contemporary. We enjoyed both very much.
As the country celebrated its 100th anniversary in 1967, modernist painting was strong in all regions of the country, but debates between the merits of figuration and abstraction were abundant. The important centres of activity, such as Halifax, Montreal, Toronto, London, Regina and Vancouver, each contributed to the national dialogue in a distinct fashion. (VAG)
This was very interesting for us for we were all young adults in our university years during that decade. A large board at the beginning of the exhibition displayed the dramatic political and cultural events that occurred in each year of that decade had us reminiscing quite a while. Where were you when President Kennedy was shot, or when the first man landed on the moon? It was especially wonderful for me revisit these works and to be transported back to art school days where we studied them, and were influenced by them, and whose styles we experimented with. One of them in fact, Kenneth Lochhead was one of our professors. (I wrote about his passing here).
No photos are allowed in the gallery, so I wish I could have found more images online to share here, just the above from the VAG site. Here is one review.
The second exhibition: Beat Nation: Art, Hip Hop and Aboriginal Culture
Skeena Reece Raven: On the Colonial Fleet, 2010 photo: Sebastian Kriete (Captured from the cover of Glance, VAG members' newletter issue 28)
Beat Nation reflects a generation of artists who juxtapose urban youth culture with Aboriginal identity in entirely innovative and unexpected ways. Using hip hop and other forms of popular culture, artists create surprising new cultural hybrids--in painting, sculpture, installation, performance and video--that reflect the changing demographics of Aboriginal people today.(VAG)
We found this one very exciting and impressive. It is wonderful to see so many (27) young urban First Nations artists from around North America taking their traditional forms into new contemporary ways of expression. Many are very well educated, even teaching in universities. Brian Jungen, whose international career took off after a major solo exhibition at the VAG six years ago (and I had written about), was naturally well represented with his Nike masks.
Please visit the VAG site and these links for more:
• Ariane c design Many good photos here
• A review at Vancouver Sun and one image and video
• Review at the Georgia
• The Beat, Aboriginal Art on Canada's Pacific Coast is a interesting new-to-me newsletter that I'm going to follow.
Added March 14th: An excellent review of Lights Out! Canadian painting from the 1960's by Robin Laurence in the Straight.