Burrard Arts—May 1, 2019
Karen Zalamea’s works both epitomize and transcend their medium. Through compositions that focus on the interaction of light and surface, the newest participant in our Vancouver artist residency program explores the fundamental nature of matter in space, essentializing materials to the way they fold, drape, crumple and reflect.
Her photographs diverge from the notion of the medium as record; a function that is ever more omnipresent in our age of constant digital documentation. In fact, it is not immediately obvious that many of the works are photographs at all. They seem to document a conceptual state of being, erasing the imperfect nature of the tactile materials that went into their creation.
FOTOFILMIC17 marks the third consecutive year that BAF Gallery has hosted the Vancouver stop of this travelling group photographic exhibition. Based on Bowen Island, the organization has broadened their focus in that time to include multiple sub-exhibitions, their PULP Gallery location, and a printed photo-book. The exhibition will also be stopping in Paris, France; Thessaloniki, Greece; and New York City.
Burrard Arts—April 25, 2019
For this iteration of In Conversation, BAF speaks to Vancouver-based artist residency program participant Karen Zalamea. With a primarily photography-based practice, Zalamea’s intricate compositions explore the play of light and matter in space. To create her BAF Gallery show, ‘When the sun rises, we keep the fire aflame’, Zalamea worked from source material shot in a variety of locations across North America. She manipulated the photographs by printing on silk, canvas, and other unconventional materials, then experimented with cutting, folding, and collaging them. The finished show represents the development of exciting new directions in Zalamea’s practice.
Tom Hsu’s photography makes concrete ephemeral and fleeting moments – memories that, undocumented, would have disappeared forever. His images focus on places and people, but not in careful or formally composed arrangements, often showing fragments of buildings or objects casually laid out in space. The people in his work are caught mid-action, engaged in interaction or the energetic high of a night out.
The photographs exist in a fascinating limbo: frozen in time, they communicate stillness, yet seem stolen from fast-paced lives. On the surface, many of the scenes he captures are commonplace, and yet seem infused with a special significance; it reminds one of looking back through the lens of memory, settings charged with special meaning by the experiences that transpired there. Hsu has worked in both portraiture and fashion photography, and these influences are visible in his practice, imbued with a warmth and human touch.
This interest in memory is central to Hsu’s practice; the lingering over of shared moments long after they have passed. “The camera is almost like a time machine,” he says. To Hsu, the holding of memory and image are part of his lineage; he describes how his grandfather grew up in Taiwan, with little in the way of material possessions, but retained a wealth of memories and images with which to craft a family history. After Hsu’s parents moved to Canada, these memories remained, a shared experience even when their family is physically apart.
During and after completing his BFA in Photography at Emily Carr University, Hsu has gone from shooting strictly black-and-white and developing in the darkroom, to working in colour and now printing in large-format inkjet. The progression has clearly trained his eye well. There’s a close attention paid to light and texture in his works, whether it’s empty wine glasses against a white tablecloth or the geometric shadows cast by doorways and entrances. He looks at the human form with that same critical eye; his portraits not only capture their subjects’ physical attributes, but suggest their physicality.
For his upcoming BAF Gallery show ‘Here, under our tongue’, Hsu creates an immersive environment inspired by his works. In combination with the actual photographs, he will display evocative artifacts and keepsakes collected over the course of this Vancouver artist residency, such as curtains from his high-school darkroom, and the shaved-ice machine used in his grandfather’s ice shop when he was growing up. Lighting and audio components will allow visitors to physically experience the unique atmosphere that’s depicted in his photos – creating a multisensory experience that remains true to his unique vision.
See the results of Tom Hsu’s time in the Burrard Arts Foundation’s Vancouver artist residency program in his BAF Gallery solo show, running from August 9th to September 22nd, 2018. Learn more about Hsu’s practice at tomhsu.com.
Burrard Arts—April 24, 2019
How did your time in the BAF Residency Program impact the creation of this show? In what directions did it lead your practice?
Burrard Arts—April 23, 2019
Birthe Piontek’s photographs tell personal, sometimes unsettlingly intimate stories. Looking at her work, one imagines her subjects’ interior monologues through nothing but their poses, the objects they hold, and the settings in which they are shown. The figures seek to individuate themselves, often through the decorative trappings with which people are equally as likely to set themselves apart as associate themselves with others.
Identity, memory, and sexuality are just some of the overarching themes explored in Rafael Soldi’s current show at the Burrard Arts Foundation. The show comprises two new bodies of work: in one, ‘Cargamontón’, Soldi delved into the near-forgotten hazing rituals he experienced growing up in Peru; the other, ‘Imagined Futures’, he contemplates the paths his life could have taken had he not immigrated from that country. Below, we speak with Soldi about his practice, this show, and his future projects.