Burrard Arts—June 29, 2019
Blending the tangible and ephemeral to haunting effect, Ben Skinner’s practice is equally informed by curiosity about the nature of language and fascination with the varied materials he works in. His text works play humorously on the subjectivity inherent in communication; pictured below is a piece from his ‘Pangram’ series, which showed absurdist phrases that use every letter of the alphabet. He has made use of materials including mirror, holographic foil, plexiglass, and water marbling, carefully choosing colours including Klein blue and dusty pastels. His projection mapped project for Façade Festival explores the complexities of linguistic nuance with a string of synonyms that gradually digress in meaning.
With a career spanning four decades, Paul Wong has been an instrumental proponent to contemporary art in Canada. Often with an element of narrative, much of his work is site-specific or video-based. An award-winning artist and curator, Wong has led public arts policy, organized festivals and public interventions, and been a founding member of groups including VIVO Media Arts and the Mainstreeters collective. His works have been collected internationally, by institutions including the National Gallery of Canada and Whitney Museum of American Art. He is the recipient of major awards including the 2015 Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Art and the 2016 Audain Prize for Lifetime Achievement in the Visual Arts. His Façade Festival 2017 project will shine a light on a piece of recent Vancouver history many would prefer to forget: the 2011 Stanley Cup Riots.
From Five Octave Range, a free public artwork designed by Paul Wong for the 2017 Vancouver Opera Festival.
In ‘You, Only Better’, Kim Kennedy Austin examines vintage magazine illustrations and their message of self-improvement during the capitalist boom of the post WWII-era. Pulled from 1960s copies of Western Homes and Living magazine and a 1946 workout manual titled ‘Figure Fitness in Fifteen Days: Your Rx for Slenderness’, the characters in the clippings Austin has chosen cheerily model an affluent, heteronormative, patriarchal lifestyle; one that’s presented to the reader as not only desirable, but attainable in just a few simple steps. In this interview, we asked Austin about the inspiration, thematic ideas, and artistic processes behind this show.