Aaron Peck

  • Stanley Brouwn

    Of nine works in this exhibition, two came from Stanley Brouwn’s “This Way Brouwn” series from the early 1960s. In these legendary pieces, he asked passersby to give directions to specific locations and encouraged them to draw him maps. The results on sheets of paper were small street plans, city blocks hastily sketched to accompany verbal directions. (It should be noted that Brouwn refused to allow his work to be reproduced in print.) The artist then stamped the phrase THIS WAY BROUWN on the documents to authenticate them as artworks.

    Brouwn, who died in May, devoted his artistic life to an

  • Studio For Propositional Cinema

    At an exhibition with a number of works claiming to respond to the paintings of Édouard Manet, you might expect to see, at the very least, pictures. Instead, “(TO THE SPECTATOR:),” staged by the anonymous collective Studio for Propositional Cinema, presented a series of texts, plus a performance, concerning spectatorship. Though the four main works offered oblique commentaries on different canvases by Manet, their art-historical points of reference, at least at first glance, appeared much more contemporary, as evinced, for example, by fragments or statements painted directly onto the walls in

  • Katherine Bernhardt

    Katherine Bernhardt’s images—of running shoes, cigarettes, and Pac-Man—are messy; her large-scale spray-paint-and-acrylic canvases feature graffiti, cartoon characters, and emoji. What makes her works more than just decorative is that they present the viewer with unsolvable visual and verbal puzzles. They achieve this semiotic ambiguity because her simple renderings of things don’t always make it clear what is being represented. The ten paintings and one quilt in Bernhardt’s recent exhibition, “Product Recall: New Pattern Paintings,” saw the artist on familiar ground: juxtaposing

  • Owen Kydd

    At what point does a picture cease to be one? Owen Kydd previously pondered this question through works he describes as durational photographs, which utilize extended single-shot video recordings to present static pictures of unmoving objects. The selection of new works on view here, however, marked a significant turn toward large-scale photography; the most salient feature of these works is that of their having been printed on adhesive-backed mural paper. These new works prompted a separate question: What is the point at which a depiction loses coherence?

    Destiny and Gabriel (all works 2015)

  • Rochelle Goldberg

    Ceramic forms that resemble excrement and snakeskin, fiber-optic cables drenched in resin, deflated pleather cushions—Rochelle Goldberg’s sculptures beckon like abject sirens, compelling the viewer to touch them. Lust, which appeared as a parenthetical in “The Local Link (Lust got in the way),” the artist’s first solo exhibition at the Apartment, demonstrated the centrality of desire in her production of objects that simultaneously attract and repel.

    Two of the sculptures were self-illuminated by LED lights embedded within their fiber-optic-cable limbs in an otherwise nearly dark gallery.

  • Roy Arden

    Black light was one of five different light sources used in Roy Arden’s recent exhibition at CSA Space—an arrangement of miniature sculptures, readymades, and collages, the central component of which was a long table cluttered with items and titled Procession, 2013. Many of the objects in the room, from toy figurines to bracket fungi, were colored with phosphorescent paint. Aside from the various sources of low light, the gallery was kept dark throughout the run of the show, giving the installation a chemical glow.

    Arden’s emphasis on light is telling, as he first came to be known as a

  • Felix Schramm

    To encounter the new work of Felix Schramm is to go down the rabbit hole. His latest exhibition, “Accumulation,” consisted of three sculptures and a number of photocollages, all of which destabilize the relationship between viewer and sculpture by constantly altering scale. Though they represent a departure from Schramm’s previous large-scale sculptural interventions and his less familiar quasi-figurative polyurethane castings, these new works incorporate aspects of both, leaving the viewer uncertain of his or her relationship to the object. Much like Lewis Carroll’s hookah-smoking caterpillar,

  • picks March 25, 2013

    “After Finitude”

    Artist Eli Bornowksy, who curated “After Finitude,” claimed that he approached the exhibition in the same way he would paint a picture. As a result, the viewer can consider the work of all four artists separately or as part of a larger compositional unit, which creates tension between each piece and its participation in an ensemble. Ensemble seems a particularly apt term since the work by three paint-based artists, Neil Campbell, Nicole Ondre, and Cheyney Thompson, is accompanied by selections from Hanne Darboven’s musical compositions.

    Thompson’s paintings, which at first glance appear expressionist,

  • Ian Wallace

    FOR TWO WEEKS IN APRIL 1983, Ian Wallace sat at a desk reading Kierkegaard’s On the Concept of Irony at Vancouver’s Or Gallery from midnight until 1 AM. The front door was locked, but Wallace was visible through the storefront window to occasional passersby. The performance, At Work 1983, also resulted in a film (later transferred to video), a backlit transparency, photographs, and prints. In 2008, Wallace restaged the performance, again transforming a gallery—this time Catriona Jeffries—into a kind of ersatz studio, with the change documented in four of his signature diptych canvases

  • picks August 20, 2012

    Rodney Graham

    It is easy to forget how smart Rodney Graham’s work is—in part because of its almost delightfully stupid humor—but, in fact, the majority of it slyly examines his métier. Take, for example, The Green Cinematograph Programme 1: pipe smoker and overflowing sink, 2010, a film (the only one in this exhibition of light boxes) that, Graham claims, explores the Kuleshov Effect. Coined by Lev Kuleshov in 1929, the said effect posits that, in cinema, meaning is made through editing only. When two images are montaged, no matter what they are, the viewer will connect them. The Green Cinematograph explores

  • picks May 13, 2012

    Brice Marden

    “Timeless” is a clichéd adjective, particularly when applied to painting, but in the case of Brice Marden’s new works in his two solo exhibitions at Matthew Marks, it is especially apropos, referring less to the transcendent effect these marble paintings may have on a viewer than to the fact that they seem simultaneously anachronistic and contemporary. Formally, the fifteen paintings in the 526 gallery evoke Marden’s 1980s-era series of paint and graphite works on marble that are seen as transitional between his early monochromes and his later calligraphic paintings. Here, only minimal brushstrokes

  • picks May 01, 2012

    “C.1983 Part II”

    It is surprising how fresh an exhibition of film and photography from 1980s Vancouver can feel. It is even more startling, however, that over the intervening decades, the social, political, and even, to a certain degree, artistic concerns have remained the same. The lesser-known works of Share Corsaut, for example, whose colored photograms on view date from 1981, seem to anticipate current trends in abstract photography. Henri Robideau’s photograph July 23, 1983, Giant Crowd of 50,000 People . . . , 1983, documents a massive protest against government cutbacks that reads as particularly apropos

  • picks February 07, 2012

    Damian Moppett

    Call it a hometown coup for Damian Moppett. In the fall of 2009, Bob Rennie, a Vancouver-based collector, real estate marketer, and chair of the North American acquisitions committee for the Tate, opened the eponymous Rennie Collection in Vancouver’s Chinatown to display his private collection, one of the largest in North America. This fall, of the forty artists Rennie collects in depth, Moppett became the first Canadian artist to have an exhibition in the gallery.

    Moppett’s representational drawings and paintings are deceptive because the subject of his work is not what is depicted. Viewed all

  • interviews December 16, 2011

    Mark Lewis

    Mark Lewis is a Canadian artist and filmmaker based in London. In 2009, he represented Canada at the Venice Biennale. Here he discusses the relationship the camera has to composition in his 2011 film Black Mirror at the National Gallery, which has screened at the Venice, Toronto, and Vancouver Film Festivals, and is currently featured in “No More Drawing” at the Centre Pompidou in Paris. The show is on view until January 2.

    I’VE ALWAYS LOVED the following haiku by Garry Winogrand. When he was asked, “Why do you take the pictures of the things you do?” He said, “Simply to see what they look like

  • picks July 14, 2011

    Stephen Prina

    There is no such thing as a bad translation—at least, not in the case of Stephen Prina. The complex yet playful references in his works, such as a retooling of Glenn Gould’s recording of Arnold Schönberg’s complete music for solo piano, can leave one dizzy, even bewildered, but that discombobulation can be generative, creating the desire to figure out just what is going on. In other words, Prina presents a kind of semiotic puzzle.

    The works in “He was but a bad translation,” his latest solo show, fall into two categories: serial paintings (such as a few examples from the ongoing Exquisite Corpse:

  • interviews April 29, 2011

    Colter Jacobsen

    Colter Jacobsen is a San Francisco–based artist. Last year he was awarded SF MoMA’s 2010 SECA Art Award. Here, Jacobsen discusses his installation Take a Deep Breath . . . Hold It . . . Hold It (The Vancouver Sun) for “11 Lights on the Bay,” a group show at The Apartment in Vancouver, British Columbia. The show closes on May 30.

    I’VE ALWAYS LIKED THE WORD WINDOW, because it means “wind” and “eye,” apparently. Once when I was reading the obituary page, I noticed the way the paper became transparent when I held it up to the sun. There was a woman, whose name was Wentworth, and on the other side of

  • picks December 27, 2010

    Elizabeth McIntosh

    Elizabeth McIntosh’s paintings share an unexpected affinity with poetry. In poetics, a text is referred to as “open” when it is composed in such a way that one authoritative reading cannot hermeneutically “close” it. McIntosh’s latest exhibition, which consists of five canvases and two pieces that she refers to as collages, achieves this openness through a tension between apparently contradictory approaches. Whether by combining disparate painting techniques or by using installation-size collages to comment on compositional process, McIntosh’s work resists easy summary.

    On first glance the oil

  • picks November 28, 2010

    Stephen Waddell

    Stephen Waddell’s current exhibition, comprising seven pictures, examines the complexities of the photographic gaze. The most notable work, Wrestlers, 2010, presents an intricate series of sightlines. Measuring 96 by 119 inches, Wrestlers could very well be the only photograph of its size ever produced entirely by hand. In this work, a crowd of spectators in front of the Altes Museum in Berlin watches a Mongolian wresting match (in an allusion to Henri-Cartier Bresson’s Wrestlers on Independence Day, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, 1958). The two figures in the right-hand corner of the foreground observe

  • picks September 16, 2010

    Geoffrey Farmer

    Geoffrey Farmer’s yearlong project Every Letter in the Alphabet, 2009–10, examines two of his aesthetic preoccupations: language and performance. Farmer opened a storefront for the piece, which was commissioned by the city of Vancouver as part of a series of public artworks in conjunction with the 2010 Olympics. Farmer in turn commissioned twenty-six language-based works by twenty-six different artists, and the projects range from spoken-word performances to posters or signs, while the storefront acts as a public space and reading room. Each of these commissions, as one might have guessed, stands