Monday, May 30, 2011

Lattimer Gallery 25-Year Exhibition

Lattimer Gallery opened in its current location, in my home neighbourhood of False Creek, twenty-five years ago as Leona Lattimer Gallery. Preparing for Expo 86 and her personal vision of a Northwest Coast gallery, Leona made her first sale on June 9th, 1986 during an opening event that was well attended by artists, collectors, and friends. To celebrate a quarter century of outstanding artwork, valuable relationships, and community support, Lattimer Gallery will be featuring an exhibition titled Silver: Celebrating 25 Years. Consisting of twenty-five pieces by twenty-five artists, this show will present an exciting mix of modern masterworks and classic creations. From earrings and sculptures to paintings and basketry, Silver will contain a diverse selection of works by artists such as Phil Gray, Corey Moraes, Daphne Odjig, Steve Smith, and Bill Reid. It has always been a goal of the gallery to promote the work of young and emerging artists, and Silver will reflect this ongoing objective. The show will run from June 9th to June 30th, and a preview of the pieces will be on the gallery website by June 1st.

The gallery will also be holding an opening celebration on June 9th. With food, refreshments, and many of the artists that they represent in attendance, this event will be a great opportunity to both see the show and schmooze-it-up. The event will run from 5-8pm and guests are welcome. This is sure to be an exciting evening, and you may even leave with a new piece of art!

Friday, May 20, 2011

NWC Stormtrooper by Andy Everson

The concept of fusing pop art with aboriginal art began more than 100 years ago with the work of the Post-Impressionists. This idea is not new within the Occidental artworld, and it is not even new within the Northwest Coast artworld. First Nations artists along the coast began combining traditional art forms (such as jewellery and masks) with colonial elements (such as Victorian floral motifs and subjects) shortly after the Spanish, English and Scottish settled on the coast in the late 1700s. One of the best examples of this cross-cultural art production can be seen in argillite sculpture. Argillite is a slate-like stone that is found on Haida Gwaai and is inextricably linked to Haida culture. Haida artists began carving argillite in the mid-1800s for tourists on the coast, and many of these early argillite carvings reflect the perceived interests of colonial visitors.

Artist, dancer, scholar and printmaker Andy Everson has been creating art since 1990 that plays with themes of assimilation, integration and interpretation. The thing that I have always liked about his prints, in particular, is that that are always playful. Even when Andy is broaching serious subjects, he does it in a way that is accessible and thought-provoking. I came across one of his recent prints from this year titled 'Warrior (Or: Harbinger of the Treaty Empire?)' and love how it is continuing this dialogue between entrenched aesthetic systems and the pervasiveness of pop culture references.

This print reflects the artist's own feelings as a "trooper" in relation to the treaty agreements that are still enforced by the K'omoks (Comox) Nation, Andy's Nation...he writes: This piece is a clear nod to a favourite childhood movie. I felt it was a great metaphor for the subject matter at hand: is treaty really black and white, or shades of grey? Do the “good guys” always wear white? Will there be a treaty empire and am I part of the rebel alliance? I did insert a glimmer of hope in the chin of the mask--a small cedar tree seedling that represents a rekindling of awareness and growth. 


Keywords: Kwakwaka'wakw, "Alex Dawkins", Vancouver, "Native Art", Northwest Coast

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

May and June Concert Highlights

Although I am on an 8-month backpacking trip around the world, I still have my finger tapping to the pulse of Vancouver's music scene. I have noted a few shows below that promise to be entertaining, if not immensely pleasurable (this sounds kinda dirty):

Mogwai - May 6th - The Commodore
I have seen Scotland's finest three times: in Glasgow, in Edinburgh, and in Vancouver. While these were not necessarily the "best" concerts I have been to, they were definitely the loudest concerts I have ever been too. Loudness has a negative connotation because it is often associated with discomfort, confusion, and the indeterminate. It can be a powerful force in music, however, when used in a calculated fashion to emphasize melody and communicate passion. I highly recommend that everyone experience Mogwai's great-wall-of-sound at least once. Oh ya...bring earplugs.

Atmosphere - May 10th - The Vogue
I am super selective when it comes to rap and hip-hop. I find it difficult to find rap that strikes a balance between grit, intelligent rhyming, and creative beats. Atmosphere, a duo comprised of MC Slug and DJ Ant, are incredibly open-minded and literate, yet they hold on to the intensity and aggression that provides good hip-hop with its engaging edge. I don't think rap translates very well to the stage, but I think this setting will be great for Atmosphere because of the clear acoustics and intimate, non-clubby setting. 

Man Man - May 17th - The Rickshaw
I am not going to pretend to possess an intimate knowledge of this band, but I will state that two people whose musical tastes I greatly respect have described Man Man shows as "off the hook". The kids these days use this colloquialism to describe something as exuberant and/or extremely enjoyable, so I suggest you "score" an affordable ticket to this "gig" which promises to be "dope". Mind you, Man Man is not for everyone. They are prone to hippie jam sets and psychedelic freak-outs, but I suppose these musical phenomena can be entertaining in and of themselves.

The Airborne Toxic Event - June 7th - The Venue
I wasn't a fan of ATE's first two albums, and I think their band name sucks, despite it being based on part of a Don DeLillo novel. As with many bands, it has taken ATE a few years to define their sound and to make necessary amendments. They were a shallow West Coast pop-rock outfit attempting to embellish their frothy music with strings and orchestral elements, which resulted in a sound that was discordant and a watered-down Arcade Fire. Their first album earned them a 1.6/10 from Pitchfork. While ATE's early work was (forgivably) derivative, they are beginning to produce an interesting and unique sound. This is probably the time to see them, as they are evolving...and still affordable.