Victoria Road Trip
Saturday, January 15, 2011
On Saturday January 15, 2011 members of the Contemporary Arts Society spent a day in beautiful Victoria visiting an artist’s studio and two models of public gallery.
Once the ferry arrived at Swartz Bay, our caravan headed straight to downtown Victoria. The first stop on our itinerary was a visit with artist, writer, editor-in-chief and founder of Whitehot Magazine of Contemporary Art, Noah Becker. Noah generously welcomed our group into his studio and shared the story of how and why he started Whitehot, highlighting the gap in online critical art writing that his magazine filled at the time it was started. Today Noah has several editors working with him on the magazine, allowing time to focus on his artistic practice. He showed us works in progress in the studio and discussed the methods used to create his imaginative narrative paintings. These works, large and small, nod to the densely populated and morally loaded paintings by Brueghel and Bosch while paying tribute to the brushwork and spatial arrangements refined by Valezquez. Noah takes these historical cues to create his own self-contained worlds that address contemporary social anxieties.
After a tasty lunch at The Irish Times we moved on to the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria. Upon arrival, we met artist Daniel Laskarin for a tour of his survey exhibition, Agnostic Objects (things persist). Daniel welcomed us warmly and gave a talk about his personal and professional background, setting up the context for his two-gallery show. He expressed his ideas about sculpture, use of form and materials, and viewer experience with a clarity and precision that brought our tour of the exhibition to another level. Situated in the contemporary moment for their integration of found materials and new media, his work is clearly rooted in ideas of formalism, evident in his use of colour, shape and balance. Notions of uncertainty permeate the works, as they challenge definitions of sculpture, question what is fabricated and what is man-made, and in some cases what these works are made from and how they hold together in space.
Our afternoon concluded at Open Space, one of the oldest artist-run-centres in Canada. We viewed the group exhibition Like Some Pool of Fire with curator Gerry Gauthier who discussed the participating artists and their related interests in colour-based practice. Beginning with two works by Rhonda Weppler & Trevor Mahovsky we saw how colour and shape serve as a basis for recognition of everyday objects and how much of our daily experience is full of items that are a non-colour such as stainless steel or silver. We also viewed Miles Collyer’s, Colour Wheel, which brings together the genre of portraiture and principles of colour theory. This exhibition was inspired by Michael Morris’ & Vincent Trasov’s classic colour bar project which was given a new format for this presentation. Michael Morris was in attendance to enlighten the group about the project’s origins and recent manifestation.
We ended our day by catching a 5 pm ferry back to Vancouver. The CAS members were pleased with our busy, art-and-idea-filled day, and looked forward to a restful evening back on the mainland.