Andew Dadson’s Black Medic (Medicago Lupulina) Orange:
This work is from a series of “painted landscapes”, made through a two-step process of spraying monochromatic, biodegradable paint onto a landscape, and photographing the painted land.
Anyone who has tended to a garden knows the frustration of dealing with weeds; they are resilient, and no matter what you do to prevent them, they will always find a way to re-emerge through the soil. By covering these weeds in red paint, bordered by its natural emerald green, and enlarging the image to be about 10 times its size, how does this change our perception of these invasive plants? Does this help us to see their beauty?
How does this work draw our attention to the acceleration of climate change?
And how does this work help us to see what has always been there?
Christos Dikeakos’s Glue Pour:
‘Glue Pour’ documents a performance project by American artist Robert Smithson. Smithson, who was best known for his land art and for taking his practice outside of the studio, visited Vancouver in 1969 to conduct this project, choosing an embankment in the Pacific Spirit Regional Park as its site. This temporary sculpture was part of the avant-garde exhibition ‘995,000’ at the Vancouver Art Gallery, which was one of the first conceptual art shows in Canada at the time, curated by Lucy Lippard.
Smithson originally wanted to use mud, but instead chose a bright orange glue (which is not apparent from the black and white photograph). Not unlike Dadson covering weeds with biodegradable paint, Dikeakos documents the blob of glue bursting from a barrel before it dissipates into the earth. At that point, all that remains of this work are the photographs.
Certainly a radical gesture at the time, but to me, this work captures one of the most iconic moments in Vancouver’s conceptual art history, and helped put Vancouver on the map as an internationally recognized art scene.
Ian Wallace’s Hotel de Nice (December 3, 2009) VII:
Since the 1980’s, Wallace has been taking photographs in his hotel room while travelling abroad to install his exhibitions. The hotel room becomes a temporary studio, where he sketches out his compositions as studies for new works. With the ‘Hotel Series’ in particular, I can’t help but spiral through the layers of studies themselves, often showing other works in progress within them (notably, the study in the top left is one of the panels from his spectacular ‘Shipwreck’ quadriptych, seen in image no. 5).
The works from the Hotel Series feel more personal and intimate than others, giving us a glimpse into the life on the road of an internationally exhibited artist, and insight into the creative process and activities of one of the pioneers of photo-based conceptual art.
Karen Zalamea ‘s They are lost as soon as they are made (no. 17):
This skillfully executed image is from a series of works produced in Iceland between 2015 and 2020, where Zalamea documented the Icelandic landscape by exposing film through a hand-built analogue camera, using sheets of ice as it’s lens. The light transmitted through these glacial lenses created incredibly moody and ambient imagery.
I think there is something very poetic about documenting a landscape using the very resources that surround it. These works are far more complex than their subtle hues might indicate, there is no separating the process of producing the image with the final image itself.
You may have previously seen this series exhibited as a whole at Access Gallery or the Gordon Smith Gallery. I had the privilege of visiting Karen during her residency at the Griffin Art Projects, and was thrilled to see her participate in this years Capture Benefit Auction.
Elizabeth Zvonar’s French Fantasy:
Whether recently at the Polygon Gallery, Vancouver Art Gallery or SFU Audain, anytime I see Elizabeth’s work, I marvel at her ability to find that common ground of being both aesthetically striking and conceptually interesting. She has great instincts with how she constructs her images, and how sometimes subtle edits can result in complex and mystical images. You can see the artists hands in the work too; her rips and cuts are not always precious, which form a nice juxtaposition to her sourced material of fashion magazines and art history books. French Fantasy was much larger than I had expected, and would no doubt make for an exceptional ‘statement piece’ in one’s collection.