October 18 ~ November 15, 2013
Opening Reception: October 18, 7~9pm
As part of the first Capture Photography Festival, café for contemporary art is proud to present, Michael Love’s The Long Wait.
Furthering his investigation of the Cold War’s legacy, Michael Love’s The Long Wait photographically documents the twelve military bases in Germany that the Canadian troops occupied between 1949 and 1993. Resting along the ideological fault lines of communism and capitalism, and embodying a Canadian colonization of European space, for over forty years these bases were home to thousands of troops where along with their families they lived out an isolated interpretation of Canadian life while waiting for and guarding against a hot war that never was. Today, as the Canadian state and nation plans an exit from its long active, but far less deeply entrenched deployment in Afghanistan, these photographs reveal the ruins of a recent military era where cultural roots were firmly dropped. While a few sites have been refurbished and transformed to meet the demands of their new present-day purposes, most look desolate and void. These neglected and idle buildings, much like deteriorating time capsules, stand abandoned in vast fields. The once strategically located army posts, erected for the fight against the Soviet invasion, now actively battle decay and wild vegetation growth.
Evident from the fate of other historically significant sites, these military bases too no longer bear the weight of their original function, naturally as a result of the shift that has occurred in the geopolitical climate with passage of time. Either re-purposed for other tangible services, or left unused and neglected, these bases now merely offer a faint memory of a conflict where the threat of a nuclear war was once deemed inevitable.
July 18 – August 24, 2013
Opening reception: Thursday July 25, 7pm – 9pm
Some artists, like companies, focus on creating one type of product over and over again; others, over time, grow massively diverse portfolios of products and services. Starting with a chocolate bar vendor he titled mykiosk, since 1997, Korea–based German artist Dirk Fleischmann has been building a highly diversified conglomerate of micro companies, a practice through which he investigates contemporary modes of production, as they pertain to both economic value and cultural meaning. Fleischmann’s enterprises range from chandelier manufacturing to textiles and derivatives. Riffing off of the strategies of artists engaged in institutional critique and social practice alike, Fleischmann’s work explores the relationship between narrative and commodification. Considering abstraction inherent in geographic distance his work probes questions surrounding collaboration, status and new international divisions of labour (NIDL).
From July 18 ~ August 24 (opening reception July 25, 6-9pm) the café for contemporary art will be presenting myconceptstore, a fully functioning store featuring a variety of products that Fleischmann has produced through over a decade of economic art projects. Here we will display and be selling carbon credits from myforestfarm, Made in North Korea and Made in the Philippines shirts from myfashionindustries, a new chandelier from mycheongjuchandelierchohab, and much more. Similar to the café for contemporary art’s own practices, resulting profits will be reinvested to sustain existing projects or start up new ventures.
Graduating from Frankfurt’s renowned Städleschule, Fleischmann teaches at Cheongju University in Korea where he runs a chandelier studio with a selection of former and current students and directs an ongoing series of talks by visiting artists and curators. Fleischmann has exhibited extensively in Germany, Korea and around the world. Recent exhibitions include: Pilot Micro Multiplex | Mall, Sharjah Art Foundation, Dubai, UAE (2012), The Real DMZ Project, SAMUSO: space for contemporary art, Seoul, Korea (2012), On The Metaphor of Growth Kunstverein Hannover, Germany (2011) and, Limuranin, Kaesong und Rosario, Bielefelder Kunstverein, Bielefelder, Germany (2010).
Currently visiting Vancouver thanks to the Café for Contemporary Art’s Airmiles-for-Artists Fellowship, over the summer he is teaching a graduate seminar in Media and Visual Art at Emily Carr University.
May 10 – June 8, 2013
Opening reception: Wednesday May 15, 7pm – 9pm
Corporate Impatience Playland examines Bob Sherrin’s latest works against a backdrop of older works, brought forth in a new context through a reflection on our innate desire for success, by looking at our achievements and failures in the realm of time. The works in this exhibition are drawn from five different series: Corporate, Impatience, Playland, Drivers, and Men’s Room, with the last two being his latest.
Shot from a driver’s perspective with the hood of the car in the foreground penetrating the environment as it flows through time towards the vanishing point in the horizon, Drivers, a series of black and white and colour photographs, evokes an intrinsic sense of yearning for performance and success. These long exposure shots, a recurring method of photography for Sherrin, communicate the fluidity of the present moment through blurry images. Perception of time, with respect to how we process and store present vs. past events, has been a point of fascination for Sherrin and a topic of dialogue in his other works. In the Playland series, for example, he overlaps sharp fixed images of past historical icons and events with blurry long exposures. By doing so, he reinforces the uncertainty of the present moment and our tendency to reminisce about past as fixed memories.
The concept of success and how it is measured and referred to in our recorded history is alluded to in some of Sherrin’s works, such as the Corporate, where he gives a visual and written interpretation/definition of the homonym “corporation”. Selected works from Impatience further elaborate on this notion, where each banner sees an image of a baby naively interacting with historical fragments of past successes and failures spanning millennia. Together, these series of banners highlight our collective naiveté, greed, and impatience in what appears to be an indefinite recurrent loop.
The road to the desired destination in the Drivers, together with a series of trophies, Men’s Room, assembled using salvaged and found materials, further illustrate our need for achievement as an inherent human characteristic and personality, which is largely engraved in our success-driven societies. What arises from this analogy is a psychological analysis of how we deal with the process of attaining success, elucidated through works from the Impatience and Playland series and Corporate.
About the artist
Bob Sherrin is a Vancouver based artist and writer, whose practice includes writing (fiction, poetry, drama, non-fiction), film, video, photography, and 3D works. Sherrin has participated in many diverse artistic productions over the years, some of which involved collaborative works with other artists such as Barrie Jones and Jan Westendorp. Notable works include participation in the artist collective TBA – Television by Artists – which for several years produced weekly art videos that were aired on Shaw cable. He currently teaches in the English department at Capilano University, while actively staying committed to various other artistic projects, which include: a 2-part drama (in collaboration with the playwright/actor Wanda Graham), a continued production of Walkers and Drivers photo series, a series of poems (entitled Bobby Cuts Grass), and a work of long fiction.
April 5 – May 3, 2013
Opening reception: Thursday April 11, 2013 | 7pm – 9pm
PHANTASMA explores and deepens an intimate collaboration between Grace Gordon-Collins and her daughter Alexandria, which first began with the creation of ICON, a graphic book where Alexandria’s poetry met Grace’s visual imagery. For this exhibition, this well-established local architect and designer explores her well-honed spatial design capacities to construct a three-dimensional installation of a selected poem from this book: Alexandria’s speculative love letter from Frida Kahlo to Leon Trotsky. Accompanied with this piece is the video installation of ICON, which segues into another mother-daughter collaborative photography series: Pulp.
Having created short narratives with female leads in both ICON and Pulp, Grace offers a synopsis of each story through the construction of a cinema-graphic scene, with Alexandria posing as the heroine in each setting. Some fictional, some iconic, and others directly related to Grace’s past, the stories examine an array of female archetypes facing various contemporary narrative circumstances.
About the artist
Based in North Vancouver/Pemberton, Grace Gordon-Collins is a well-known local artist and architect. She and her husband, Ernest, run a successful architectural firm, Ernest Collins Architect Ltd. and its interior design affiliate, Archipelago Design Ltd. Grace holds a Bachelor of Interior Design from the University of Manitoba, a Masters in Architecture from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.), and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography from Emily Carr University.
Grace has always been an observer and a storyteller. As a result, her artistic practice is invariably narrative in nature. This, merged with the conceptual influences of her recent studies at Emily Carr and a career in architecture and design, has given her work a multi-layered quality: esoteric at times, pragmatic and structured at others.
March 7 – 30, 2013
Opening reception: Thursday March 7, 2013 | 7pm – 9pm
Situated on the Black Sea in Ukraine, the Artek International Children’s Camp was established in 1925 by the Soviet government under Lenin. The camp hosted the Young Pioneers, a Communist party youth group similar to the Boy Scouts. However, the Young Pioneers not only learned pioneering and camping skills, but were also taught to be “good” Communist citizens. Catering to the children of the Communist party elite, as well as those who excelled at school, it was considered an honour to be selected to attend Artek. The camp continues to function year round, and at the height of its operation, 27,000 children attended each year. By 1969, Artek had over 150 buildings on a 3.2 square kilometre patch of land. These buildings included medical buildings, schools, a film studio, three swimming pools, a stadium that can seat 7,000 people, and playgrounds for various activities. Well over 1 million children have attended Artek throughout the years.
At one time, the Artek International Children’s Camp was synonymous with Russia’s effort to create a new society, and is one of the few remaining institutions from the Soviet era.
I am interested in the historical significance, as well as the contradictions that are currently embedded in this site. Now catering to the children of Russia’s nouveau riche, the socialist dogma has faded from the foreground. But with its unkempt statues of Lenin and 1960s Soviet architecture, Artek’s history continues to resonate. As long as the camp continues to operate, there will be children playing against the picturesque backdrop of the Crimean peninsula. Ultimately, Artek may be the closest the Soviet Union was able to come to Marx’s utopian vision.
About the artist
Michael Love was born in Chilliwack, British Columbia. He attended both the University of the Fraser Valley and the Emily Carr University to complete his BFA. Love finished his MFA in photography at Concordia University in 2009, where he was the 2007 recipient of the Roloff Beny travel fellowship. Love also received the Canada Council for the Arts research and creation grant in 2010. His work has been published in Next Level, Prefix Photo and Blackflash magazine. Love has exhibited his work both nationally and internationally. He is the newest member of the Everything Co. artist collective and is also the acting curator of Gallery 295.
The artist acknowledges the support of the Canada Council for the Arts for the realization of this project. Last year the Canada Council for the Arts invested $157 million to bring the arts to Canadians throughout the country. L’artiste remercie le soutien du Conseil des Arts du Canada pour la réalisation de ce projet. L’an dernier, le Conseil a investi 157 millions de dollars pour mettre de l’art dans la vie des Canadiennes et des Canadiens de tout le pays.
February 7 – 28, 2013
Opening reception: Thursday February 7, 7pm – 9pm
Uncharted Village II is Seoul, South Korea-based artist Soo Yeon Lim’s second solo exhibition at the café for contemporary art. In this exhibition, Lim, dialogues with the fading cultural memory of mountain Caribou. She learned of this memory on a previous visit to North Vancouver when she encountered a text by Marilyn James, the appointed spokesperson of the Sinixt or Arrow Lakes People, a living First Nation long declared extinct by the Canadian government. What emerges is a trans-pacific, inter-textual conversation between inheritors of colonial legacy regarding collective loss and wounded memories mediated through gentle landscape/dreamscape paintings executed with traditional and contemporary Korean painting and paper making techniques.
About the artist
With an MFA in Oriental Painting from Ewha Women’s University in Seoul, and an MFA in Printmaking from the State University of New York, New Paltz. Soo Yeon Lim lectures at of Seoul City University and Ehwa Women’s Univeristy. Her work is exhibited both in Korea and internationally.
January 10 – February 2, 2013
Opening reception: Thursday January 17, 7pm – 9pm
Taking scavenged news clips as its base material, A Mirage of Spring sees the images of the recent and current revolutions in the Middle East morphed and transformed, leaving the viewer with a depth of appreciation for the opacity inherent in mediated image of foreign experience. Making apparent the ambiguous nature of our grasp of distant realities this work displaces confident notions and leaves the viewer in a limbo questioning their own understandings of and relationships to recent events in particular and realities mediated through image more generally.
About the artist
Rozita Moini-Shirazi is an Iranian-Canadian visual artist whose works mainly deal with contemporary socio-political issues. She works in various mediums including photography, installation, and painting.
Having lived in Iran until the age of twenty-one, Rozita experienced both the tumultuous times of the Iranian revolution, and the horrors of the Iran-Iraq war that followed. She first immigrated to Germany in 1984 and then to Canada in 1990, where she pursued an education in Fine Arts from Langara College and Emily Carr University. Returning to Iran in 2003 she completed an MFA at Tehran’s Azad University with a comparative study of three generations of Iranian women artists, from pre-revolution, post-revolution and the current generation. She currently lives in Richmond, BC and teaches at Emily Carr University.
In her work Rozita has experimented with photography testing the limits of photographic image making. Through this practice she has come to examine the role of image production in the mediation of our relationship with the real.
Once a centre for the shipbuilding and marine-related industries, and earlier a rich estuary providing sustenance to residents, North Vancouver’s waterfront continues to evolve in tandem with the needs and inclinations of the ever-changing local social, political and economic forces as they respond to these same forces coming in from regional, national and international sources. As seen from the vantage point of the café for contemporary art, On the Waterfront takes a snapshot of the dynamic, recent community conversations that have taken place regarding the North Vancouver’s waterfront. A meditation on the relationship between discourse and the real-world manifestation of ideas, this exhibition questions how these discussions have and continue to interact with the shaping of the waterfront’s physical landscape.
There are a number of works ranging from early 20th century footage of maritime infill and the construction of the Low Level Road, to photography works by local artists, which have touched upon documenting the process of transition and evolution of the waterfront area. These still and moving images evoke feelings of nostalgia for earlier forms while offering a glimpse into what has recently been thrown into a season of transition.
The show also includes a number of public art proposals, put forth by the local public with regards to ongoing developments in the waterfront area. The inclusion of these ideas and proposals document a public’s conversation with urban transformation.
The exhibition includes works by the following: Scott August, Marie Berg, Marcus Bowcott, Grace Gordon-Collins, Sandra Grant, Arata Hatanaka, Steven Hubert, Sofia Novikova, Tyler Russell, Russell Thornton and the North Van Urban Forum.
November 20 – December 9, 2012
Opening Reception on November 20 | 7pm – 9pm
Accompanied with live music by Forrest Rosenthal & Eric North
Curated by Daniel Koppersmith
Interview with Gundula Kientzler
by Daniel Koppersmith
Daniel Koppersmith (DK): You often speak of how one of your senses, for instance an impression of colour, can be produced by a sound. Some refer to this as synaesthesia. Could you begin by speaking about when you first became aware of these experiences?
Gundula Kientzler (GK): Looking back, words were colours, forms were tones, and even movements were colours. Plants even had a sound.
DK: Where did such experiences lead you?
GK: Because of these interrelations of experiences, I was not only interested in painting but also expressions with music, movement (dance) and sculpture. This would have been in my teen years. At 18 years of age, there came another influence into my life. I visited a factory where workers did art therapy. This made such an impression that the decision to study art therapy came to me.
DK: Did you then start studies in art therapy?
GK: I only did a practicum. This involved children with learning disabilities. Also, I did a year of studies in sculpture and pottery. But then I did a big, big break! Five children came my way, so my interest in therapy was delayed. But this is not to say that I didn’t continue art and therapy. Dance, music improvisation, painting, drawing, and sculpture continued.
DK: In what way?
GK: It happened that when there in Germany, I met several poets and musicians. We responded to one another’s work. I painted to a poem or improvised music to a painting, for example. If I think about it, I now began to use the idea of synaesthesia in a more aware way.
DK: Would you care to talk about how synaestesia is useful in your art therapy work?
GK: When students are overloaded by thinking, for example, I give a task where synaesthesia is required. A sense impression is given, say a sound. Or different sounds. And then let them express in movement, colour, and words these sounds. The response they give to these impressions is enlivened.
DK: What do you mean enlivened? How is overloaded thinking not enlivened? What were such students like in the first place?
GK: They had an exhausted and dried-up quality. They were also stressed. The synaesthesia approach brought a playfulness and a lightness with it and a finer sense of sound and a stronger sense of themselves.
DK: In 2002 you moved from Germany to Burnaby, Canada. Four of your five children were grown. Did this work with synaesthesia continue here in Canada?
GK: Yes. I met some artists who had similar questions like me. For example: how does it look if art shapes the relationship to myself and to the world? We began by working together (there were five of us) responding through painting, sculpture, drawing, and sometimes sound, to sense impressions. Salt on the tongue, for example: what does it look like?
Over time we moved on to exploring moods, emotions, and ideas, like the idea of freedom. What does freedom look like? Sound like? What does its opposite look like or sound like? Often in our exercises we discovered similar forms and dynamics. This was an interesting discovery that in subjective expressions we found objective qualities.
DK: What can we look for in the exhibit here at the café for contemporary art that speaks to the qualities of synaesthesia?
GK: To take time. Not only to look but to listen to what you see. Or respond in your own way through writing or drawing.
October 11 to November 16 | Opening reception: Friday, October 19, 6 – 9 pm
Idle Wild is an exhibition of new works by DRIL that explores the relationship between the idea of nature, the built environment and our collective subconscious. Taking the suburban landscape as point of departure, DRIL renders the familiar strange, bringing attention to the aesthetic uniformity of these surroundings while allowing the seemingly mundane to be experienced in bizarre and unexpected ways.
Historically, the concept of the suburb developed in reaction to the city, and was broadly linked to utopian ideals, a desire to be closer to nature, and an improved standard of living. Over time, and with the spread of mass suburbanization, these ideals morphed into other forms, creating circumstances of predictability, isolation, and in some cases, surveillance.
In Idle Wild, both artworks evoke the spatial and psychological patterns within these rationalized spaces while creating imaginative shifts in the perception of suburbia. The first, a grid of porcelain houses, forms a ghostly version of the archetypal suburb. Over the course of the exhibition, plant life will sprout from their rooftops, unhinging their forms and softening their edges, suggestive of the unruly nature of imagination amidst the mundane. The second work is an immersive, four-channel video installation of a hypnotic drive through a nondescript neighborhood. The absence of narrative invites the mind to wander, guided by subconscious desires to interpret the aesthetic contours of the journey and the chance encounters recorded by the camera’s automated eye. In this dense emptiness of suburban sprawl, nature looms ominously at its edges, complicating the ideal of the picturesque that the original suburbs sought to be closer to.
At the core of Idle Wild is the exploration of value systems that are articulated and reflected through the constructed environments in which we live. As a document of a present cultural landscape, Idle Wild takes hold of these histories as they unfold, bringing awareness to the desires, hopes and dreams embedded within them.
DRIL is a collaborative, Vancouver-based artist collective comprised of Dylan McHugh, Rachel White, Ian Prentice and Leisha O’Donohue. Using drawing, video, sculpture and social practice as mediums, DRIL creates site-responsive installations and performances that draw from iconic histories and popular culture to question how meaning and history is formulated, perceived and presented. Their poetic explorations of the everyday heighten an awareness of cultural constructs, while reimagining their significance in our present cultural climate. Recent exhibitions include Drifter’s Clip at Open Space in Victoria, BC (2011) and City Hall, a site-specific performative drawing installation for Vancouver’s city-wide Drawn Festival (2009). In 2013, DRIL will participate in a group exhibition at Kamloops Art Gallery.
Idle Wild is curated by Joni Low, a freelance curator and writer who also currently works at the Vancouver Art Gallery.