Spring 2022 Gallery Guide

Check out these five art exhibits around Metro Vancouver

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An empty gallery with white walls featuring large landscape paintings
Local galleries have a lot to offer. Photo: Dannie Jing / Unsplash

By: Sara Wong, Arts & Culture Editor

Massy Arts Gallery | Métis Now: Elders, Artists, and Activists | Free | On until March 31

Image courtesy of @inspiringindigenous via Instagram

Since opening in September 2021, Massy Arts has hosted artist talks, book launches, exhibits, and more. The gallery is located in the former Ming Wo Chinatown building. Reflective of the community they’re a part of, Massy Arts is dedicated to representing BIPOC and LGBTQIA2S+ artists. 

Currently on display is the work of Nevada Christianson, a Métis portrait artist. Christianson’s portraits honour influential members of the Métis community, such as fellow artist Logan Howard (pictured above) and activist Brittney Bertrand. This exhibit is meant to inspire Indigenous youth to explore their cultures and communities. In an artist’s statement, Christianson said her collection of Métis portraits “is by no means meant to be exhaustive.” She added, “I could spend lifetimes recording their histories through portraiture. Indeed, I hope I do get that opportunity!” 

In addition to the exhibit at Massy Arts, images of Christianson’s work will be featured in a new softcover book. This is being published by Hemlock Printers, a local, carbon neutral company.

Richmond Art Gallery | NOURISH | By donation | On until April 3

Image courtesy of Richmond Art Gallery

This municipal gallery showcases contemporary art from local and international artists. Through exhibits and programs, Richmond Art Gallery aims to create engaging conversations about current issues and ideas. 

NOURISH is a multimedia collaboration between Vancouver-based duo Mizzonk (Roger Chen and Wan-Yi Lin) and Seattleite Jane Wong. Their work addresses mental health and food insecurity, among other things. Mizzonk’s installation, Six Acres, is a series of animated watercolour paper drawings representing their home sanctuary. Through interactive poetry, Wong’s piece recalls her family’s history surviving China’s Great Leap Forward. To read Wong’s work, viewers must walk around a large dining table — where, resting on top, the poem is printed in fragments inside Chinese ceramic bowls.

Western Front | Broadcasts from Here | Free | On until April 16

Image courtesy of Western Front

Western Front is a multidisciplinary arts centre uplifting audiovisual creatives. It has a history of supporting countercultural work in Vancouver, from the 1974 Mr. Peanut campaign — where artist Vincent Trasov satirically ran for mayor — to weekly meetings of the improv music group New Orchestra Workshop Society (1979–2020). The non-profit space continues to be artist-run.

Featuring the work of campy artists Lex Brown and Geo Wyeth, Broadcasts from Here will transport you to fictional worlds that challenge speculative narratives. In Brown’s film Communication, a media conglomerate called Omnesia attempts to control the lives of consumer-citizens. Brown plays multiple characters, including “a gen-something girlboss” and “an impassive and sentient AI.” Meanwhile, Wyeth’s Muck Studies Dept. “merges inherited Black Atlantic American funk and folk poetics with techniques of investigative journalism” to explore a nameless municipal agency.

Burnaby Art Gallery | Unsettled Histories | By donation | On until April 17

Image courtesy of Dan Starling

Located inside a heritage building, Burnaby Art Gallery (BAG) stands out as “the only public art museum in Canada dedicated to works of art on paper.” Legend has it the gallery is haunted too, so there’s something for print and paranormal enthusiasts alike.

BAG’s current exhibit highlights 40 drypoint prints made by local artist Dan Starling. Starling put together this series by taking an image of the hills outside Jerusalem’s walls and continuously embellishing and erasing parts of it. In doing so, Starling confronts the perception that Western art is timeless. Unsettled Histories is influenced by Rembrandt’s experimental process creating Christ Crucified Between Two Thieves: The Three Crosses. However, Starling’s work “questions the legitimacy of colonial histories, prodding at the foundations of settler-occupied cultural narratives,” particularly in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Teck Gallery | Salish Modern/Tradition | Free | On until September 25

Image courtesy of SFU Galleries

One of three SFU galleries, the Teck Gallery is part of the Harbour Centre campus. Framed by a large window overlooking North Vancouver, this informal gallery serves as a space to commemorate “artistic innovation within the university.”

lessLIE is a Coast Salish artist whose work explores “the relationship between written English and the visual symbols of his culture.” In Salish Modern/Tradition, seven acrylic paintings provide timely warnings about capitalist greed and climate change. The works feature bright colours and juxtapose positive and negative space. These are inspired by Coast Salish spindle whorls, tools used for weaving textiles that also holds significance for cultural communication.

For more information about COVID-19 safety guidelines, check out each gallery’s website.

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