Is nostalgia our own worst enemy? That’s the question Vancouver artist Jay Senetchko poses in his upcoming exhibition at the Burrard Arts Foundation titled The Best of Life, which seeks to examine the parallels between 1950’s and ‘60s North America and contemporary Western life, and how our memories distort our perceptions of both. The opening reception on September 24 from 7pm to 10pm continues Senetchko’s reputation for creating thought-provoking spectacle through a thematic combination of photo collage, paintings, installation, live performance, food and drink.
With The Best of Life, Senetchko invites the viewer to wade through confusing and sometimes contradictory information in an attempt to make sense of what they see. The images prompt them to come to terms with their relationship with the past and its affect on their present day decisions. Was the past really as rosy as we had remembered? Or are we facing the same challenges we always have? Politicians lying, nations at war, drugs, racial tension, family life… has anything really changed?
“We all have relationships to the past,” says Senetchko. “but whether these memories are positive, negative or neutral, they are all inaccurate. We distort events mentally as soon as they happen, and the further they recede into our private histories, the more distorted they become.”
Recurring themes of nuclear family, violence, racial tension, labour and leisure, the dreamlike aspirations of a 1950-60’s North America are presented, but never reached. Rather, they parallel many of the social tensions and obstacles we face today, but in unsettling, and at times nightmarish iterations. The images presented in The Best of Life are at once unbalanced, uncomfortable, familiar and unfamiliar as they embody the pathological nature of the North American dream.
About Jay Senetchko
Born in Edmonton, Alberta, Jay Senetchko is a painter living and working in Vancouver, British Columbia. He has been exhibiting and coordinating art-related community and charitable events in Vancouver for over 10 years. An art instructor at Vancouver Film School and elsewhere since 2002, he often holds independent lectures on the arts throughout the city. www.senetchko.ca