Gareth James

  • Ian Wallace, Lookout (detail), 1979, twelve hand-colored gelatin silver prints, each 36 x 48“, overall 3' x 48' 3/8”.

    Ian Wallace

    Vancouver Art Gallery
    October 27, 2012–February 24, 2013
    Curated by Daina Augaitis

    SINCE THE 1980s, Vancouver’s reputation in the international art world has been tied to the photographic practices of a relatively small group. Despite rejecting the name they were given (“the Vancouver School”), Rodney Graham, Ken Lum, Jeff Wall, and Ian Wallace have all promoted a rigorous commitment to understanding the art-historical and theoretical basis for photography’s interrogation of art in general. Writing has been an integral part of this:

  • Babak Golkar, Grounds for Standing and Understanding (detail), 2012, mixed media, dimensions variable.

    Babak Golkar

    Upon entering Vancouver-based artist Babak Golkar’s exhibition “Grounds for Standing and Understanding,” the visitor was greeted by a surfeit of blank walls: Numerous white partitions had been erected, dividing the gallery’s conventionally white shell in an unusual, concertinaed fashion. The spectator was required to proceed further into this field of blanks before the exhibition offered up any ostensible contents, but when it did, he or she was met with a familiar trope of Golkar’s recent work. In the rear of the gallery, white wooden sculptures resembling architectural models were laid on top

  • Ken Lum, Walk Piece, 1978, still from a color video, 3 minutes 5 seconds.

    Ken Lum

    “It’s no use walking anywhere to preach unless our walking is our preaching.” This methodological imperative, attributed to St. Francis of Assisi, is strangely instructive in thinking through Ken Lum’s mid-career survey, currently on view at the Vancouver Art Gallery. Lum rose to prominence in the late 1980s, quickly becoming emblematic of an international critical discourse concerning the photographic and the postmodern. Yet any discussion of the Canadian artist’s work must also account for how it directly engaged arguments about representation specific to his immediate artistic-intellectual