In this site-specific work Painting A Room Blue, Alex Achtem imagines BAF’s Garage street-facing exhibition space as a type of storage container; a literal garage. In keeping with this idea, Achtem decided it was logical to fill the space with many containers. Then, she filled the containers with an element that went beyond the limits of the gallery, creating a link between the outdoor space, where the viewer is, and the indoor space of the gallery. Therefore, this brings us to the topic of the sky. Achtem covers the entire interior surface of the exhibition space with small plastic cups, each filled with water tinted a slightly different shade of blue. However, the sky is not something that can be easily contained and a cup of blue water will not truly paint a wall. In a way, Achtem attempts an impossible feat.

In Rebbecca Solnit’s book A Field Guide To Getting Lost, she describes blue as “the colour of longing for the distances you never arrive in”. It is “the colour of where you are not”. We cannot enter the gallery from the street, as we cannot reach the sky from the ground. In another way, we may not always have everything within our grasp, but we can attempt to store things away for when we need them. However time goes by, the water in the cups will evaporate. Spring will come as winter fades away. All that is left is layers of paint sediment and a blue memory.

Painting A Room Blue

Alex Achtem

Exhibit Dates

Apr 5 to May 25, 2019

Opening Reception

Apr 5, 7-11PM


BAF Gallery
2-258 East 1st Ave
Vancouver, BC