By Alex Masse, Staff Writer
Weather-wise, Vancouver can be extremely dull during the winter. Thankfully, our local art scene is the complete opposite. Although COVID-19 ongoing has caused many events to either be cancelled or moved online, visiting galleries remains one safe activity that those who want to further connect with local creatives can do. Here are nine galleries in Metro Vancouver you can visit, their pricing, along with a notable exhibit to check out at each.
Cost: $18 for students, $24 for adults
Location: 750 Hornby St., Vancouver
Probably the most well-known on this list, the Vancouver Art Gallery (VAG) is a historic gem that holds works both local and from abroad. VAG is also home to specialized programs such as the Institute of Asian Art, which aims to uplift Asian creatives. With the gallery’s constant changing of exhibits, there’s always something to go back for.
Where do we go from here? — On until May 30
An exhibition of recently collected pieces, Where do we go from here? explores how the art gallery will change in the coming years. After all, 2021 marks 90 years of the VAG being in operation. This exhibition questions how the Vancouver Art Gallery can be better in the future, particularly with representation of Canadian art, which has historically excluded groups like the African diaspora.
Cost: By donation
Location: 101 Carrie Cates Ct, North Vancouver
The Polygon Gallery is adventurous, vibrant, and inspiring. With a focus on photography and similar mediums, the Polygon seeks to develop and empower all lens-based art. They highlight both renowned and emerging local voices, hoping to represent artists in a way that reflects community diversity.
Everything Leaks — Open until February 7
Everything Leaks is a commentary on modern visual overload by Maya Beaudry and Marisa Kriangwiwat Holmes. The exhibit utilizes images within images, along with a variety of mediums and tactile materials to discuss the 21st century condition. Beaudry and Holmes are both graduates from Emily Carr University of Art + Design.
Cost: Free when you subscribe to their newsletter
Location: 350 East 2nd Avenue #116, Vancouver
The Grunt Gallery was founded in 1984 and remains an artist-run venue today. Alongside gallery space, they offer publishing opportunities and an artist-in-residence program. Grunt is a centre for Indigenous artists, and has ongoing relationships with other creative communities of colour and LGBTQ+ artists. In addition, Grunt is currently working to further its accessibility and anti-oppression practices.
Black Gold — January 22 to April 16
Black Gold is an exhibition by Tahltan artist Tsēmā Igharas examining the natural resource extraction that takes place in British Columbia and Alberta, and the destructive consequences that follow. Igharas spent a summer 2018 residency researching the relationships between the land and oil and mining industries, particularly in her unceded home territory of the Tahltan First Nation in northwestern British Columbia.
Cost: $19.99 for adults Monday–Wednesday, $24.99 Thursday–Sunday
Location: 432 West Hastings, Vancouver
A new name in town, opening during the pandemic, the Dimensions Art Gallery hasn’t let trying times slow it down. Themed around visual illusions like shrinking, falling from the sky, or moving sideways, the gallery offers a multitude of fun photographic opportunities. Dimensions’ interactive aspect lets visitors become part of the exhibits themselves.
The Infinity Room — Open Thursdays from 2–8 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m.–9 p.m., and Sundays from 10 a.m.–6 p.m.
The Infinity Room is a room of mirrors, the kind where you can gaze into eternity and take some gorgeous photos! It’s the kind of wonder seen at places like Richmond’s Moon and Back Gallery, with all the selfie potential but with more affordability. Try not to get lost!
Location: 13750 88 Ave, Surrey
For a gallery outside Vancouver, look no further than the Surrey Art Gallery, which offers a number of contemporary pieces and is the second largest public art gallery in the Metro Vancouver region. Alongside its number of online events, the gallery has remained open and free despite the pandemic. It engages with local, national, and international artists in a number of mediums, and hopes to engage the public with the ideas these creatives put forward.
We Are the Clouds — Open until January 31
We Are the Clouds is an interactive piece brought forth by Mar Carnet and Varvara Guljajeva, an Estonian creative duo. Using software of their own creation, they turned regular bystanders into dreamy, cloud-like figures. The piece continues to grow as there’s a kiosk available where you can film yourself and join the sky full of silhouettes.
Cost: Free with appointment
Location: 716 East Hastings Street, Vancouver
Another Vancouver gem, Outsiders and Others highlights artists that don’t get the spotlight particularly often. This includes people who are self-taught, creatives with disabilities, and similar groups. They frequently reach out to various underrepresented communities in hopes of finding creatives that fall into this non-traditional grouping, such as during their UFO Day event last year, which prioritized self-taught artists.
Collage Works — Open until January 31
Collage Works features pieces from Valerie Arntzen and Seema Shah. Arntzen, a traveller by nature, creates collages from her own photographs, inspired by what she’s seen over the years on her journeys. Shah, meanwhile, is a self-taught creative in both writing and the visual arts. She follows her intuition, and lets the art make itself.
Cost: Free with appointment
Location: 602 E Hastings Street, Vancouver
Since its opening in 2013, the Mónica Reyes Gallery has prioritized emerging and established artists, both local and international. The gallery has had numerous collaborations over the years, taking part in art fairs from Papier (Montreal) to Texas Contemporary, delivering on its goal of representing a diverse selection of creatives.
Plexus — Open until February 13
Plexus by Canadian artist Tiko Kerr is a multi-medium collection of acrylic, oil, and collage pieces brought to life on plexiglass, a material with a new meaning in the post-COVID world as both a shield and a means of isolation. Kerr has been building his artistic portfolio in Vancouver since the 1980s, and has a number of notable collaborators under his name, from the City of Vancouver to the Vancouver Opera.
Cost: $13 for adults, free for Indigenous peoples and SFU students
Location: 639 Hornby Street, Vancouver
Last, but certainly not least on this list, is the Bill Reid Gallery. Named after the Haida creative, it is home to the Bill Reid SFU Collection, among a number of other exhibits highlighting Indigenous art and culture. The Bill Reid Gallery holds the notable achievement of being the only public gallery in Canada with a focus on contemporary Indigenous art.
Resurgence — Open until January 24
Resurgence is a collection of pieces by four Two-Spirit creatives, curated by Toonasa Luggi. The exhibit highlights the lives and experiences of Two-Spirit people in a colonial society, where ways of looking at gender and sexuality often overlook Two-Spirit identities. In these experiences are stories of resistance and resilience.
FAZAKAS GALLERY (BONUS)
Cost: Free with appointment
Location: 688 East Hastings Street, Vancouver
With a focus on emerging Indigenous artists, Fazakas Gallery is a hidden gem in the heart of the Downtown Eastside. Fazakas hopes to shed light and understanding on Indigenous art, giving its artists a larger platform for connecting with the public and contributing to an important dialogue.
While the Fazakas gallery has many notable pieces, it’s currently without a main exhibition.