"The 12th Annual Oppenheimer Park Community Art Show | The World As We Create It
September 13, 2019 - October 26, 2019
Gallery Gachet 9 West Hastings Street
“Comm-you-nity” is the thematic prompt and point of entry that frames the visual explorations on the natural world by over thirty artists from the Oppenheimer Park community. The annual show features a variety of artworks including paintings, drawings, prints, sculptures, mosaic and installation. The exhibition serves as a reminder of the important place that Oppenheimer Park holds in the Downtown Eastside neighbourhood.
Oppenheimer Park continues to represent a significant site of recreation, activism and resistance within the broader community. The diversity of artistic expression in the exhibition "The World As We Create It" celebrates Oppenheimer Park as a place of healing and belonging that transpires through the arts. The Park hosts many programs, festivals and arts based events that support the overall health and wellness of the community through art, education and recreation.
The artworks in this collective exhibition offer a level of artistic vulnerability and authenticity of expression that inspires and challenges the viewer to engage in a more complex process of self- reflection. Mike McNeeley’s small clay figurine entitled Donald reminds us that close observation of facial expressions may reveal inner states of experience that shape our personal interactions. Teresa Ng’s acrylic painting called The Table and the Window is a meditative composition of lines and shapes that evokes thoughtfully considered pathways within fragmented architectural spaces. Small rectilinear shapes of bright yellow open up a vibrant perspective on the challenges and joys of taking care of self in the context of a sometimes onerous modern day existence.
Priscillia Mays’ mixed media work called Blue Heron and Una McMillan’s work on paper called Canoe Journey both consider the important role of the natural surroundings in grounding our lived experiences and interactions. Una McMillan is a Homalco Nation Coast Salish Drummer and chosen elder of the Downtown Eastside. Priscillia Mays is a self-described devoted gitxsan and witsuwit’en mother, artist and community activist. Blue Heron is a work that combines both personal photographic imagery with traditional Indigenous materials such as wool and buttons. The work which is mounted on a wood frame evokes the healing and comforting attributes of the blanket as subject matter in a two dimensional presentation.
The Gallery Gachet is a unique artist - run centre in the Downtown Eastside neighbourhood. Through artistic means, the gallery aims to demystify and challenge issues related to mental health and social marginalization in order to educate the public and promote social and economic justice. The gallery’s primary focus is supporting the wellness and artistic development of people marginalized by their mental health, trauma and/or abuse experiences.
The guiding principle of the gallery recognizes the critical role of self-expression and culture in the creation of a healthier society.
Jason McLean “Walkie Talkie” September 12 – October 11, 2019.
Monica Reyes Gallery, Vancouver, B.C.
Jason Mclean’s most recent series of drawings are visual ruminations and inquiries on everyday life as it unfolds. The works are expansive studies on the inevitability of chaos and order as it appears on the surface of daily existence. The drawings suggest an autobiographical contemplation using acrylic inks, pencils, and archival markers on paper. Also in the exhibition are painted personal memorabilia objects such as baseballs and hockey pucks which are reinvented into ornamental keepsakes.
Both the drawings and the found objects evoke an immediate sense of playfulness and spontaneity that is remarkably refreshing in its stylistic approach. The drawings exude a willingness to bear the soul with a level of vulnerability and authenticity that gives the viewer permission to reciprocate. To be in communion with Mclean’s work is to engage in a radical acceptance of life -such that it is.
There is something very liberating and almost radical to this kind of drawing practice in the context of our current digitally enhanced culture with all its trappings of immediate gratification and manipulated perfection. McLean’s drawings, on the other hand, create new thresholds of potentiality as they challenge our existing patterns of thinking. Perception is at its core a creative act. McLean interrogates and reimagines his daily experiences through a drawing practice that is both revelatory and transformative.
Looking more closely at Mclean’s creative process reveals important clues into this process. Mclean fills the drawings with dynamic and gestural movements of ink wash from which images then emerge. There is an element of embodied chance involved in allowing these early
washes of colour to lead the way into further inquiry. In his latest drawings, the mark making trails decidedly much closer to the edge while still managing to remain contained within the boundaries of the paper. The drawings are deeply layered with complexity of line and textures that create spaces within spaces. These are drawings that evolve thoughtfully and must be unriddled by the viewer over time; a slow cook version of personal reflection that allows the hand and the eye to gently soothe the inquisitive mind.
These are large drawings in which the eye must wander and then pause to bring attention to the detailed intricacies where fragments of text appear. These moments of text within the visual experience offer a kind of ambiguity that resists resolution. The resulting tension in the placement of text and image creates opportunities for decentering the gaze. What is interesting to note in the latest drawings from 2018 is the emergence of a more painterly approach to colour on the surface which energizes the compositions. The vibrantly coloured washes of ink seemingly explode on the surface. This new consideration to colour creates an encounter that is more sensorial than cognitive.
McLean is a graduate of Emily Carr University of Art + Design (1997). His work was featured in 2005 on the ceiling of the Vancouver Art Gallery. McLean continues to gain global acclaim, including being a contributor to the National Gallery of Canada’s 2017/2018 monumental group exhibition entitled “Canadian and Indigenous Art: 1968 to Present.” Anne Languedoc
This Blog is dedicated to exploring and investigating Contemporary Art happening at Mónica Reyes Gallery and elsewhere in Vancouver.
Illustration by Jean-Philippe Delhomme