Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Tamsin Clark at Deluge Contemporary Art

July 25 to August 23, 2014
If I Wore a Hat I'd Hang it Here

Tamsin Clark

Opening Friday, July 25, 7pm

"These Polaroids are the places and spaces I have lived over the last few years, indexes if you like, and like the writer William Faulkner in his novel Absalom Absalom they are reiterated over and over, windows, mirrors, bedrooms, gardens, landscapes. They are conversations I’ve had with these spaces and places. Because they are photographs they are also about light: the light and viewpoint can hide the flaws in the mundane and turn it into a thing of beauty, or at least a curiosity."

Tamsin Clark is an Anglo Canadian photographer and educator interested in the still and moving image. She received her BFA from the University of Saskatchewan and MFA from the University of Victoria. Clark has exhibited widely in Canada, Mexico and Europe and her work is held in various collections nationally. She currently resides in the Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Hisao Matsui at the Avenue Gallery

Introducing Japanese born painter Hisao Matsui    July 11 - 18, 2014

Glynn Morrissey - July 2014 - Artist of the Month

I paint because it has been a desire of mine since I was a small boy to create. My mother sometimes would just about pull her hair out trying to find paper that I hadn't created something on in our house when I was a little boy. It has always been an internal drive of mine to draw and paint. Sometimes for no other reason but to just do.

I love colour and I am not afraid to use it. Even in the most monochromatic of paintings I do there is a bright splash of colour somewhere to be found. I love putting colour where it is least expected. A landscape could produce a wisp of green in it's sky and not feel totally out of place with my work. It just happens for me and I love doing the unexpected.

I work mostly in acrylic paint. But, the medium has broadened in a short time and now I mix it up with ink, water colour and oil. I guess my figures are more identifiable as being synonymous with my work. I create a lot of figures, mostly nude males. I find the male figure very expressive. Not that the female figure is not, I just find the male figure more representative of what I trying to say.

My landscapes are pretty identifiable as well since they sit mostly on the fantastical. Reality is they are representative of places of I have been or wanted to visit. I try to stay away from creating absolute definable images when doing landscapes. The reality is in most cases they are personal spaces for me alone to remember what I saw or what impressed me about a place. I am thrilled when people identify the area or have an idea where my landscape maybe since it is not always the image that impresses someone it is the essence that may ignite peoples ideal of a landscape.

To me my work is a redefinition of myself. A finding out of who I am. Essentially, this is something I LOVE to do and at a point in my life things like that were considered frivolous. Life got in the way. So basically, I have come full circle to finding myself again. So for me painting is me.

Paint-In by the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria

Toshiyasu Sajita at the CACGV

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Ravenous. Carollyne Yardley and Rande Cook at Alcheringa Gallery, Victoria B.C. June 23rd. – July 19th. 2014 by Philip Willey.


Language evolves according to circumstance. Using terms like Indian, aboriginal, native, indigenous or First Nations is full of potential pitfalls. Writers must be careful to use the currently acceptable vocabulary. It’s important to be both involved and objective without being elitist or patronizing.

First Nations art has evolved considerably in recent years and it’s understandable that young First Nations artists should want to be more, dare I say it, relevant. One needs only to look at the art of Andrew Dexel who stretches recognizable ovals and trigons into dynamic curving shapes. We saw this evolution again in the show called Urban Thunderbirds/Ravens in a Material World at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria last fall. Four young artists, lessLIE, Dylan Thomas, Rande Cook and Francis Dick, got together to present a fresh look at the kind of First Nations art that has become so familiar especially here on the West Coast. They used traditional formats to make political statements. lessLIE showed bold prints with provocative wordplay and Dylan Thomas’s prints were stylized images of non-traditional subject matter. Rande Cook’s paintings suggested what it means to live in a city. One of his photographs showed the artist posing in the streets of New York City wearing a Kwaktiutl/Louis Vuitton mask. Francis Dick added a feminist perspective to the show by depicting First Nations women as cultural heroes. The work of these four artists and others like them is transformative. They are re-appropriating imagery to create new cross-cultural forms.

photo by Luke Marston

So is it possible, or even desirable, to transcend cultural barriers and arrive at some kind of fusion? This is the kind of question posed by Rande Cook and Carollyne Yardley in their collaboration ‘Ravenous’ at Alcheringa. There are certainly elements of both cultures here.

As Chris Creighton-Kelly points out in his article about fine art (Focus Magazine, June 2014) both Picasso and Gauguin borrowed - some would say stole - motifs, styles, and content from so-called primitive peoples. The borrowing seems to have gone full circle. Of course some will see it as appropriation but neither Yardley nor Cook appears to have a problem with that. There is no sense of conflict. The show isn’t intended to be a break with tradition so much as a comment on contemporary society. There is an acute awareness of the modern world and the dilemmas faced by aboriginal people. Yardley and Cook have gone beyond deep-rooted stereotypical thinking and aimed for some kind of apolitical synthesis.

Rande Cook was born in Alert Bay in 1977. He is a chief of the Kwakwaka'wakw Nation and very aware of his cultural heritage. He works in a variety of ways, wood-carving to jewellery making and painting.

In this show Cook uses the story of the Raven as trickster or shape-changer. “I vowed to never reproduce and sell sacred ceremonial objects,” says Cook. In order to do this he had to invent a new vocabulary of design motifs. He tells ancient stories using contemporary methods.
Carollyne Yardley was raised in Victoria. She uses classical painting techniques and a traditional i.e. fine-art, style to create work that reflects contemporary and personal concerns. She is the first non-native artist to show at Alcheringa.

Yardley describes her art as pop-surrealism…‘exploring character development through humour, portraiture, pop culture, and absurdity.  The squirrel face is a metaphor for the secrets we keep.’ She is not shy about her fixation with squirrels.


Elaine Mond of Alcheringa Gallery sees the show as a ground-breaking collaboration; the first of its kind in Victoria that she hopes will broaden the base of the gallery. With ‘Ravenous’ at Alcheringa Rande Cook and Carollyne Yardley have taken an intrepid step in a new direction.

There’s nothing disrespectful or exploitative about any of this but my sense is that purists are going to find some of it a little hard to digest. They shouldn’t. The show is challenging. Art is never static. Definitions are constantly evolving. Anyone who finds it shocking needs only to look at the revisionist art of Kent Monkman. Monkman, of Cree and Irish descent, makes very strong statements about history, consumerism and the ironies of life in the modern world. Cook and Yardley have combined humour and spirituality to the same effect.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Taralee Guild at Eclectic Gallery

These paintings are based on photographs of Airstream, Bowlus and Spartan polished aluminum trailers. Derived from aeronautical design, these mid-20th century companies built streamlined riveted aluminum shells evoking the golden age of flight for the new North American leisure travel industry. Taralee Guild employs painting techniques to create an object-ground relationship similar to animal mimicry, where the trailer hides in its surroundings by mirroring it. Given the degree of distortion, the metallic surface becomes an arena of forms that slip away from recognition. It is a complicated pictorial space where abstraction exists within realism. Taralee Guild received a Bachelor of Fine Art from Emily Carr University in 2010 after graduating with a Diploma in Art from the Victoria College of Art, Victoria BC, in 2005. Currently she is a full-time painter living and working in Vancouver, BC.
Taralee Guild
June 16 to July 19, 2014
Eclectic Gallery 
2170 Oak Bay Ave.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Downtown thoughts. Shawn Shepherd, Gareth Gaudin & Rachel Berman. Philip Willey, 14th June 2014


Shawn Shepherd has a new series of prints at Polychrome. He has taken some old Times Colonist plates and used them to explore the idea of anonymity. The result is a series of small prints.

He says…“Downtown, there’s lots of people and you think they’re anonymous — they’re lost, nobody knows them. So that was the idea of titling the show Downtowners. I’ve taken these celebrities and made them invisible.”

These are the vague half-remembered faces we pass on the street. Shawn Shepherd is always coming up with neat ideas. There’s something very appealing about this one.
The show is at Polychrome until June 26th.


Gareth Gaudin of Legends Comics & Books has a show at Dales. It’s collaboration with Shane Koyczan about cyberbullying and internet trolls. But there’s more going on than that. Gaudin is a very prolific artist. He is is the mastermind behind the well-known comic character Perogy Cat. A lot of the work at Dales is based on comic books he’s made about his daughters’ adventures in Victoria. The show runs until June 30th.


I just want to mention Rachel Berman. She passed away recently. I can’t say I knew her well. I’d run into her in Chinatown occasionally. We had coffee a couple of times. It was as if we both had a lot to say but words were somehow inadequate. She struck me as being on some kind of quest. She travelled a lot and it all went into her paintings. She lived with feelings, memories, her paintings evoke a world of dusty boarding houses, waiting rooms and diners populated by characters who look like extras from old movies. I wish I’d written something more substantial. Robert Amos did a good job in the Times Colonist I thought.