Mónica Reyes Gallery (MRG) has been backing the growth and development of emerging and mid-career artists at its current location since 2013. Serving the local and international art scene, MRG promotes artist initiatives invested in shaping the economies of art and culture. Located in the heart of Strathcona, the gallery is uniquely positioned to create dialogues with the artists and cultural engineers who call the neighbourhood home.
With a commitment to advancing the cultural capital of the city the gallery has since partnered with Pattison Art in Transit to present The Strathcona Billboard Project (2014). Additionally, the gallery served as the catalyst and headquarters for the Vancouver based artist collective A.K.A and hosted its first set of projects, Diffractions of the Local I & II (2013/14). MRG has built connections both nationally and internationally, reaching new markets and influencing collectors, curators and artists. The gallery will extend its influence by being represented for the fourth consecutive year at the Toronto International Art Fair (2017), the Miami Project (2015) and the Seattle Art Fair (2016/ 2017/ 2018) Texas Contemporary (2018).
Founder and director Mónica Reyes has been a longstanding figure in the Vancouver art scene having served as Vice President of the Contemporary Art Society of Vancouver and during 2016 / 2017 sat on the Board of Latincouver. Today she sits on the Board of the Strathcona Board Improvement Assosiation. Reyes is committed to investing in art that gives voice to the cultural diversity of the Pacific Northwest.
MRG's regular exhibition program and special events provide artists with opportunities for artists to show work that includes range of practices from more traditional forms of painting, sculpture and photography to experimental video, durational performance, spatial interventions, installation and poetry.
PATTISON Outdoor Advertising and the Back Gallery Project (currently Mónica Reyes Gallery) are pleased to announce their first-ever collaboration, presenting The Strathcona Billboard Project, featuring Vancouver-based artists Ben Skinner from October 6 to 31 and Antonio Eligio Fernandez (Tonel) from November 3 to 28, 2014. The Strathcona Billboard Project is part of PATTISON’s ongoing Art in Transit programme.
The Strathcona Billboard Project extends the public’s access to local artists and treats viewers to approachable, yet thought-provoking contemporary art on PATTISON Outdoor’s static billboard adjacent to the Back Gallery Project on Princess Avenue just south of East Hastings Street in the historic and diverse neighbourhood of Strathcona.
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Sascha Yamashita - Before | After - 2007
An old Zen Buddhist proverb, “Before enlightenment - chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment - chop wood, carry water.” is referenced within this installation to question the interwoven relationships of viewer/art object, process/result, and preservation/destruction.
The installation, in its construction and conceptuality, simultaneously imply opposite views about these dynamic relationships, however together augment the message of the Zen Buddhist proverb. This eternal braid subtly critiques the polarity of the artist, the art object, the viewer and their relationship to the work, in a constant cycle of criticism.
These allegorical cycles are paramount for me; it is something I constantly employ to critique on the expansive scale the ‘artist as intellectual’, in addition to the art ‘object’.
Fernanda Levine - Under Construction - 2007
Fernanda Levine’s Under Construction is a collection of paintings, photo base and three dimensional work. Paintings that focus on how a city builds its own identity and impacts its citizens while doing so. Utilizing symbols as diverse as graphics,drawings and machinery to represent the brutal force that is capable of achieving a reconstruction site. Levine has created a particular vocabulary that is based in a collective memory.
Chilean artist Fernanda Levine received her MFA from University of Chile and has won numerous awards and honors. She has also exhibited her work at the National Library of Chile, Galeria Artespacio in Santiago, Chile, Museum of Contemporary Art in Santiago, Chile, Somarts in San Francisco, CA. Vancouver, BC and Bali, Indonesia. This is also the artist fourth exhibit in this city and the third in conjunction with Monica Reyes.
Anna Plesset - Time Machine - 2007
In our society, time plays a prominent role in structuring our daily lives. While we all organize our lives according to minutes, hours, days, weeks, months and years, each of us has a unique and highly personal relationship with time and its passage. What unifies us are the measures of date and time that we use to order our lives and experiences.
Anna Plesset’s Time Machine is a collection of paintings and drawings that suggests the illusion of shared experience by alerting the viewer to the highly contextual nature of time. Plesset’s work examines how common signifiers of time—calendars, time cards, and newspapers—shape the imagined communities of our contemporary world.
American artist Anna Plesset received her BFA from Cornell University with numerous awards and honors. In 1999, she was named Artist of Promise by the Cornell Council for the Arts and received the Faculty Medal in Art for greatest promise of future achievement. She has since exhibited her work in New York, Chicago and Vancouver. Plesset has been living and working in Vancouver for the last four years.
Noah Becker - Recent Paintings - 2008
Drawing upon a diverse group of references—Bruegel, Bosch, Fredrick Varley and Victoria era cartoons, just to name a few—Becker’s works challenge the viewer to consume vast amounts of visual information in images saturated with a complex iconography that treat pressing issues like war, cultural, and social decay in a carnivalesque manner. According to the artist, « When ideas drawn from medieval folklore are used in a contemporary context, interesting things can occur. »
In all of his works, Becker has abdicated the background so that the landscape and the figures that inhabit it are left floating in an ambiguous and empty space. Like Bruegel who privileged the depiction of the quotidian over historical themes that had traditionally defined the genre of landscape painting, Becker utilizes seemingly banal scenarios to show how history invades the everyday and is present at every level of society. For example Bloodsport (2006) shows a group of hunter redneck types proudly displaying their kills against a lush landscape strewn with empty bud light cans and junkfood wrappers (a clear reference to U.S. warmongering) while Homeless Realm depicts a diverse set of characters ranging from an out of work clown to a down and out computer geek to the homeless ‘recycler’, a profession not typically recognized in developed countries but which plays a significant role in informal economies.
Becker’s works are reminiscent of those slightly perverse children’s books—Shel Silverstein is someone who comes to mind—that provide some of the most cutting critiques of social norms and political structures within a colourful and playful visual aesthetic that quickly draws the viewer in only to abruptly undermine any sort of facile visual experience with the severity and density of their content. They are images that are at once seductive and yet jarring.
Suzi Webster - Electric Skin - 2008
Bio-responsive garment made of Elumin8 printed turns the intimate breath of the wearer into pulses of electric aqua light. The inhalation and exhalation of the wearer activates a breath sensor that dims and brightens the printed LED of garment. The wearer is connected to the rational power grid by an umbilical cord/power cable and while this creates a seductive light, it also creates a frisson of danger and unease.
Technology enables us to listen in on the mysterious and invisible signals that emanate from our bodies. Mostly this data is used for medical purposes, but as an artist Suzi Webster transforms this private bio information into a metaphoric, wearable display of colour, light, sound or vibration. Webster is interested in what is lost, found or suggested by this transformation, and how it explores the ways in which technologies impact and shape our experiences of being human. Her wearables are hybrid works that are responsive and dynamic; that explore intersections between sculpture and performance, fashion and computing, the body and its context, public and private in a critical way.
Suzi Webster completed a BFA at Emily Carr Institute and an MFA at the Slade in London, UK. She now teaches at Emily Carr in the Digital Visual Arts department. Recent exhibitions have included Node London 06; How Smart Are We at the Royal Institute of British Architects; Artefact, at the Foundation for Creative Art and Technology in Liverpool, and Cyborgs: Man or Machine, at Dott 07 Design Biennale in Newcastle, UK. This is the first time that Electric Skin has been shown in Vancouver, Canada.
Until We Have a Helicopter - Curatorial Project - 2009
Back Gallery Project is pleased to invite you to the opening reception of an exhibition of installation-specific works by Cedric Bomford, Instant Coffee, Michael Drebert, Mark Dudiak, Suzanne Nagy, Nicole & Ryan, Ian Skedd and Kika Thorne, guest curated by Until We Have A Helicopter.
All of the artists were invited to participate knowing that their work could only enter the gallery through a window located on the third floor without the use of devices external to the work. The artists deal with the vertical challenge in a variety of ways without compromising their usual practices. By incorporating helium balloons, protective packaging, heaving line, or a slingshot, the artists are able to participate in the exhibition by functionalizing their work.
Cedric Bomford works predominately on British Columbia's coast, recent group exhibitions includes shows in Taipei, Germany and Sweden, solo shows in Australia, Toronto and Vancouver with upcoming projects in Victoria, Berlin and Vancouver. In 2010 Bomford will be on the Canada Council residency in Berlin, Germany.
Instant Coffee is an artist collective from Toronto and Vancouver. In 2009 they exhibited the Disco Fallout Shelter, at the Toronto Sculpture Garden and as part of Subvision, Hamburg; Nooks as part of the How Soon is Now, Vancouver Art Gallery; Light Bar as part of Assume Nothing, New Social Practice, Art Gallery of Greater Victoria; and Bright Future as part of 88 blocks Art on Main a Public Art Commission by Translink.
Michael Drebert recently showed The Queen's Eyes at the Ministry of Casual Living, and at this very moment My TIme Your TIme at the Museum voor Moderne Kunst Arnhem. River Ganges Crash Crawly's was part of the show Sentimental Journey at the Vancouver Contemporary Art Gallery. He currently resides on the Coast Salish Sea - Songhees Territory.
Mark Dudiak received his BFA from the Emily Carr Institute in 2003. His recent exhibitions include Air Conditioned Jungle at Diaz Contemporary, and Time's Museum of Shape and Form at the Access Artist Run Centre in Vancouver.
Suzanne Nagy recently returned to Vancouver after a sabbatical in Rio de Janeiro. Her solo exhibition Pull Over Parade was at Access Artist Run Centre in Spring 2009.
Nicole Raufeisen and Ryan Witt live in Darthmouth, Nova Scotia and have contributed to recent exhibitions at the Ministry of Casual Living, Or Gallery, and Neuer Berliner Kunstverein. Upcoming exhibition include the Khyber ICA in spring, 2010.
Ian Skedd is an artist living and working in Vancouver BC. He recently completed his MFA at the Chelsea College of Art and Design in London, UK. His most recent solo exhibition Sign Singing: Love Will Tear Us Apart, Joy Division, 1979, Deaf Choir, 2009 was held at the Western Front this past June.
Currently the programmer / curator at Vivo Media Arts Centre, Kika Thorne received her MFA from the University of Victoria, BC and has exhibited extensively including projects at Murray Guy, New York, Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver, Musee d'art Contemporain, Montreal, Portikus, Frankfurt, and the Power Plant, Toronto.
About the curators:
In 2005 Wes Cameron and Matthew Robertson created their collaborative entity Until We Have A Helicopter in order to have their operation of Lobby Gallery identified as a project-based artwork. For two years they facilitated site-specific installations in the unusual confines of the Dominion Hotel in Gastown before 'kneeling' the exhibition wall into an 18-foot-long cantilevered bench; a submissive action that also allowed gallery goers a place to sit.
In the 2008 exhibition UWHAH: Prequel at Gallery Atsui in Vancouver, they continued to work in a dimension between artist and curator by inviting artists to work with them to create an exhibition about them: having associates help invent a layered and incongruous mythology behind Until We Have A Helicopter.
Their interest in site-specific, context-driven production was further demonstrated in the exhibition UWHAH in January 2009 where they also launched a publication documenting their past projects. Challenging themselves to work site-specifically in a commercial gallery, the exhibition was based off the gallerist's request to exhibit Kneeling Reprise (Chairs): two seats made from slices of the Lobby Gallery wall-bench. Three accompanying functional sculptures were meant to address elemental voids of the modernist gallery and comfort of the viewer.
Annie Briard - Wanderings - July 2013
Standing isolated in a forest full of towering trees with tiny agile creatures scurrying between your feet, suddenly you happen upon another face. Wanderings is an exploration of the embodiment of perception, reality, time and place.
Focusing on our environmental relationships, Annie Briard produces open-ended fables within fantastical universes as personal experiences for the viewer. Her works are created through diverse media but focus on utilizing the moving image as a means to blur the distinction between reality and perception.
Wanderings marks Briard's first solo exhibition of work in Vancouver. Featured within the exhibition is her interactive stop-motion animation, The Woods (2012), a work that affords you the chance to speak with it only as much as it speaks back at you. In ‘choose your own adventure’ style, viewers communicate with the main character Cecilia, through text messages and movement, prompting different surrealist inspired fable-like narrative moments and actions. Through its playfulness and unique aesthetic, the work questions the limits between dream and reality, human made worlds and nature, and structures of communication and domination. The Woods will subsequently be touring across Canada at Centre 3 (Hamilton), Joyce Yahouda Gallery (Montreal), and VIVO Media Arts Centre (Vancouver).
View interaction documentation: http://vimeo.com/51083771
Annie Briard has exhibited across Canada and internationally, at Articule, Studio XX, Joyce Yahouda Gallery, HTMlles media arts biennale and the Art Souterrain Festival in Montreal; The Rooms Gallery (St John's) the NFB mediatheque (Toronto), the White Rabbit Arts Festival, (Halifax), G++ Gallery (Victoria), the Three Shadows Photography Art Centre (Beijing, China), eMerge Media Space (Townsville, Australia) and the Swiss Architecture Museum (Basel, Switzerland), amongst others. Her work was featured in a two year, 10-city tour of China for the Canadian Cameras at Work showcase in 2009-2011. In 2011, Joyce Yahouda Gallery presented “The Space in Between”, a solo show of her interdisciplinary work. In 2012, Briard undertook an artist residency at the Banff Centre and represented Canada at World Event Young Artists symposium in Nottingham, England in fall 2012.