The Poetics of Space

October 26, 2018 – January 5, 2019
Opening October 25, 7 pm
Maxwell Bates, Rebecca Belmore, B.C. Binning, Lee Bontecou, Bertram Brooker, Karin Bubaš, Arabella Campbell, Emily Carr, Share Corsaut, Christos Dikeakos, Michael Drebert, Lawren Harris, Owen Kydd, Beatrice Lennie, Landon Mackenzie, Myfanwy MacLeod, Jason McLean, Alex Morrison, Ben Nicholson, James Nizam, Dennis A. Oppenheim, Annie Pootoogook, Pudlo Pudlat, Kyohei Sakaguchi, William Vazan
The Poetics of Space is a touring exhibition from the Vancouver Art Gallery that features historical and contemporary artworks that explore the idea of space from a wide range of perspectives. The exhibition’s title comes from Gaston Bachelard’s 1958 book of the same name that presents an experiential understanding of home and personal environments. In the book Bachelard discusses the way our perceptions of shelter influence the very essence of how we think and imagine. The exhibition is divided into three sections, and features works by twenty-five artists that together contemplate space – through optical perceptions, experiences of the domestic, and the experimental mapping of broader terrain.
The first section, “Fracturing of Form” grounds the exhibition historically, highlighting works from the early to mid 20th century that rethink and ‘fracture’ linear perspective as a tool to understand space on a two-dimensional plane. This section features works by celebrated Canadian painters Emily Carr and Lawren Harris, alongside pieces by outstanding, yet lesser known, artists like Beatrice Lennie and Maxwell Bates.
The following area, “Psychic Weight of the Domestic,” focuses on the intimacy of inhabited structures or other familiar locations to reveal how they are laden with emotional intensity and symbolic meaning. A third section, “Mapping of Space” features works in which artists have defined sites in non-traditional ways, mapping according to their own purposes, or acknowledging its layered socio-cultural histories. Ultimately, the exhibition reveals the expansive and subjective ways in which artists have grappled with depicting and defining space over time. The works included in The Poetics of Space are primarily drawn from the Vancouver Art Gallery’s permanent collection.
Speaking through shared experiences and understandings of the environments that surround us, The Poetics of Space is the fourth exhibition in a year in which Nanaimo Art Gallery asks the question: how can we speak differently? In Hul’q’umi’num, the language of the Snuneymuxw people: scekwul yuxw ‘alu kws nec’s tu sqwal ct
The Poetics of Space is organized and circulated by the Vancouver Art Gallery and curated by Daina Augaitis, Chief Curator Emerita and Emmy Lee Wall, Assistant Curator, Vancouver Art Gallery. This exhibition is part of the Across the Province touring program, which is generously supported by the Killy Foundation.
Image above: Myfanwy MacLeod, Ajar, 2005, chromogenic print, 121.3 x 121.3 cm, Collection of the Vancouver Art Gallery, Gift of the Artist
Image front page slideshow: Annie Pootoogook, Listening to the Radio, 2005–06, pencil crayon, ink on paper, 41.6 x 51.0 cm, Collection of the Vancouver Art Gallery, Gift of Claudia Beck and Andrew Gruft, Photo: Trevor Mills, Vancouver Art Gallery
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Artist Talk with Landon Mackenzie

November 3rd, 2018 1-2 pm 
Shaw Auditorium at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre
101 Gordon Street, Nanaimo
As part of The Poetics of Space, we are proud to present a special afternoon lecture with celebrated Vancouver-based painter Landon Mackenzie. Please join us to learn more about her work and process. 
Landon Mackenzie’s paintings have been widely exhibited in Canada and internationally and collected by museums including the National Gallery of Canada, Vancouver Art Gallery, Art Gallery of Ontario, and Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. Recent shows include Emily Carr and Landon Mackenzie; The Wood Chopper and the Monkey at the Vancouver Art Gallery, and Landon Mackenzie; Parallel Journey, Works on Paper (1975-2015) a retrospective that toured Canada until 2018. Mackenzie is a professor at the Emily Carr University of Art and Design in Vancouver and has received numerous awards including the Queen Elizabeth II Golden and Diamond Jubilee Medals, and the 2017 Governor General Award in Visual and Media Arts. She is represented by Nicholas Metivier Gallery and Art45.
Image: Landon Mackenzie, Forest (Circles for Eli), 2012-2014, synthetic polymer on linen.

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athut / Words Bounce

January 25 to March 31, 2019
Join us for the opening on Thursday, January 24 at 7 pm
Joi T. Arcand, Patrick Cruz, Susan Hiller
Sometimes words are dropped, and sometimes they are thrown; sometimes they bounce away, and sometimes they bounce back. athut / Words Bounce is an exhibition of painting, installation, photography, and video works by three artists who engage languages as they shift, transform, and even disappear, while impacting people and the cultures they belong to. 
In this exhibition Joi T. Arcand, Patrick Cruz, and Susan Hiller approach language as both a subject and a means of articulation, amplified through art. Some of the works in athut / Words Bounce see the generative possibilities of hybridized understandings and mistranslations, while others highlight the vital importance of direct language advocacy to cultural resurgence. 
Joi T. Arcand is from Muskeg Lake Cree Nation in central Saskatchewan, Treaty 6 Territory, and currently resides in Ottawa, Ontario. Through photographs, sculptural installations and public artworks, Arcand centralises the revitalization of the Nēhiyawēwin ᓀᐦᐃᔭᐍᐏᐣ (Plains Cree) language in her work. Many of her works project a future where the Nēhiyawēwin ᓀᐦᐃᔭᐍᐏᐣ is once again dominant in Arcand’s communities and beyond, returning to the fore as a visible feature in the landscape. Arcand is herself in the process of learning Nēhiyawēwin ᓀᐦᐃᔭᐍᐏᐣ, and recent projects focus on the past and present, drawing from family photographs and other collected images along with comments referring to language and culture received from Arcand’s mentors.
Toronto based Filipino-Canadian artist Patrick Cruz's work employs a maximalist approach to painting and sculptural installation that engages cultural and linguistic hybridities. Recent projects under the title Step Mother Tongue include immersive floor to ceiling wall paintings of glyphs and symbols inspired by graffiti, cave drawings, alchemical symbols, and written languages, including the pre-contact Tagalog syllabary Baybayin. In athut / Words Bounce Cruz will create a new version of Step Mother Tongue that will include ceramic vessels based on an ancient pottery practice called Pagburnayan from the Northern-West region of the Philippines. Cruz thinks of clay as akin to language—they both possess a physicality that is malleable. For this installation, potters from the Nanaimo area have been commissioned to make vessels, translated from images of Pagburnayan pots, that will then be painted by Cruz. The Nanaimo Step Mother Tongue installation will also be activated during the exhibition with poetry readings, language classes, and other events. 
Born in Talahasse Florida, Susan Hiller lives and works in the United Kingdom. Hiller is a highly influential artist who has been practicing for more than 40 years. Her work often engages intersections between language and technology. athut / Words Bounce features Lost and Found (2016) an immersive video installation built around an audio compilation of voices speaking in 23 different languages, including Aramaic, Comanche, Livonian and other endangered idioms. Many of the anecdotes, songs, arguments, memories, and conversations, shared in Lost and Found directly express the value of language.
The English title Words Bounce ricocheted from a very precise two word sentence found in a verse novel by Canadian author Anne Carson* The Hul'q’umi'num title, athut, was provided by Gary Manson and Adam Manson, language advocates from the Snuneymuxw Nation. athut is not a translation of Words Bounce, but rather a parallel title responding to the exhibition on its own terms.  
Speaking of languages as they transform, evolve, disappear, and rebound, athut / Words Bounce is the final exhibition in a year in which Nanaimo Art Gallery asks the question: how can we speak differently? In Hul’q’umi’num, the language of the Snuneymuxw people: scekwul yuxw ‘alu kws nec’s tu sqwal ct 
*Carson, Anne. Autobiography of Red: A Novel in Verse. Toronto: Vintage Canada, 1999.


The Edge of the Knife | Film Screening

Monday, March 4, 7 pm
Avalon Cinema, Nanaimo
Tickets $20 
Directed by Gwaai Edenshaw and Helen Haig-Brown, The Edge of the Knife tells the story of a young man named Adiits’ ii as he transforms into Gaagiixiid/Gaagiid, the Haida Wildman. Filmed on location in stunning Haida Gwaii, The Edge of the Knife is the first feature shot in two dialects of the endangered Haida language—which has only 20 fluent speakers left. 
Working in collaboration with Isuma, the team responsible for Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner, Edenshaw and Haig-Brown harness raging elements and swirling emotions to craft a riveting dramatization of this classic Haida tale of survival, forgiveness and community.
This screening of The Edge of the Knife is presented in Nanaimo by Nanaimo Art Gallery, Nanaimo Aboriginal Centre and TheatreOne.  Proceeds from this event will go to support the work of our non-profit organizations. 



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