Monday, May 8, 2017

Winchester Galleries, ‘Five’. May 2-27th. by Philip Willey.





Vicky Christou was born in Melbourne, Australia and immigrated to Canada in 1969. She is a graduate of the Emily Carr College of Art and Design. Her work exists somewhere between painting and sculpture. She is inspired, she says, ‘by the simultaneous happenings of visual and personal metaphorical dialogues.’

Multiple layers of impasto are protected by a woven textile grid to produce striking 3 dimensional images of light and shade.



Jeremy Mangan was born in Seattle and has spent most of his life in the Pacific Northwest. He studied at PLU in Tacoma also in Munich, Germany and New York. There is something of Rene Magritte in Mangan’s paintings. He uses a realist technique to paint recognizable objects in an unusual context thereby creating improbable landscapes and events.

“My current work explores phenomena: the unusual,
exceptional moments just on the edge of plausibility,
and occasionally beyond.” Jeremy Mangan


He has shown frequently in Tacoma and Seattle and now Victorians have a chance to see his work.



Sean Mills, a graduate of Emily Carr University, based in Vancouver, explores light and transparency using paint and plexiglass. He sees paint as both occupying and containing space. The way his works play with light and shadow makes them appear less substantial than they actually are.



Neil McClelland is from Gatineau, Quebec now living in Victoria where he teaches sessionally at UVic and Vancouver Island School of Art. Of all the artists in this show perhaps McClelland comes closest to having a political agenda. His current interest is the perfectibility of society and his striking, albeit somewhat ominous, paintings capture the current societal unease. 

See:









In a lighter vein is Carollyne Yardley who is best known in Victoria for her squirrels, cheeky little critters that appear in her paintings in various disguises. Squirrels and masks have led to her current preoccupation, therianthropy (the ancient belief of shapeshifting, and animal ancestors), and theriocephaly (animal-headed humanoid forms such as the ancient Egyptian gods Ra, Sobek, and Anubis). She has also been collaborating with Rande Ola K’alapa.  Rande is part of a new generation of indigenous artists who are open to cross-cultural experimentation. Their show ‘Shapeshifting’ is ongoing at the Fazakas Gallery in Vancouver.

Carollyne is in Venice but her fan club showed up.


It was a lavish opening and very well attended. This is not strictly speaking a group show. There’s no unifying theme and the five artists don’t have a lot in common. That’s not the point. They are all serious, committed and in for the long haul. Their work is finely crafted and Winchester sees a bright future for them. Hence the sub-title FIVE: TO COLLECT. Winchester Galleries are to be congratulated for their forward thinking.

Tanta Pennington Artist in Residence at the Inn at Laurel Point

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Amanda Salmon - May 2017 - Artist of the Month



Amanda Salmon is an emerging artist living and working in Victoria, B.C. She received her Batchelor of Fine Arts from Alberta College of Art + Design in 2015. Her work examines the ways dominant ideologies and visual culture shape understandings of Landscape as a genre in Contemporary Art. Her most recent body of work explores the lines between the landscape we view as idealistic, and the landscape that we interact with on a daily basis. Conceptually working through a library of symbols that act as stand-ins for elements of the traditional landscape ( and nature ), she accentuates where these lines meet.

I try to create representations of the landscape as simply as possible, to see how much we can derivefrom what we are given. I start with very simple associations that I reduce down into a symbol or stand in. In a way I am tasting how little it takes to represent a Landscape through a contemporary framework. After spending the last few years building my library, I have began playing with one or two symbols, and in the case of fresh air -the pool and fake grass to redefine the landscape genre for myself, and bring the traditional idea of landscape into a contemporary sphere. There is also always an element of simulacra and simulation in the work that challenge levels of reality, a concept that is often blurred.

Amanda Salmon
salmon_amanda (instagram)
Facebook: amanda salmon


Thursday, April 27, 2017

From Polychrome to Xchanges. - Philip Willey April 2017.







Dropped into Polychrome and found Shawn Shepherd looking happy. So he should. He’s been dealing with some healthy sales. Not a huge amount of money by Gagosian standards perhaps but a ringing endorsement of Polychrome and the Kelly Green Collective show ‘100 @ 100’.

The gallery is packed full of life and energy. A vibrant mix of collage and paint.The worksthemselves range from casual and sketchy to heavily worked and give an overall impression of spontaneous unbridled creation. Clearly a lot of quick decision making was involved and the result is averitable cornucopia of striking paintings. 





There’s a lot going on here. Wry comments on art history  Picasso, Gertrude Stein and our own Emily Carr, there are references to pop stars and writers and I think I spotted a few digs at popular culture, hipsters and vegans, drum circles, beards, perhaps evendistressed jeans and Kardashians wearing nude body suits in there too. Or did I imagine some of those things? No matter. There’s certainly a lot of imagery that stays in the mind after leaving the gallery. Green and Kelly obviously had fun making these paintings and it shows.Some of the best pieces haven’t been sold btw.

I stopped in at Xchanges on the way home and I was delighted to find the building as ugly and strange as ever. It hasn’t yet been torn down to build condos. Inside I was met by Sandra Doore who was happy to show me her work mostly based onhandwritten text. I remember another show Sandra had at Xchanges.  I may even have written about it. Amorphous shapes impaled on chrome poles? Some kind of sexual statement? It created quite a stir at the time.





Anyway Sandra bounced back from that and her current show deals with ‘texting and        the effect it has on the human psyche’. She tells me how the show came about. It began she says when she was sending text messages to her son and he kept misunderstanding her. It’s because the tone was missing she thinks. She found she needed to fall back on emojis to show that she meant well. Hence the title of the show ‘Untitled - Lost in Translation III’.

But there’s more to it than that. Sandra finds beauty in being lost. In writing lists of acronyms she found that the words took on their own aesthetic possibilities. So in a sense her work is an exploration of the need to create and the compulsion to communicate ones findings. This of course relates to the times we live in and our dependence on technological means for immediate connection.



 Textese, txt-speak and all the platforms that make a whole new language possible; hashtags Twitter, Instagram, Whatsapp have all evolvedby and for compulsive communicators and those among us who feel the need to broadcast a running commentary of our lives. Much like what I’m doing now in fact, but I’ve got a good excuse.

What is texting doing to us?  Well apparently we talk less. Parents talk less to their children and texting has caused quite a few traffic accidents. But we can’t uninvent it so it’s here to stay. Maybe the novelty is wearing off for some people but there is always another generation coming along who have grown up with digital devices. For them cellphones and ipads are perfectly normal,even indispensable, equipment. It will be hard to wean them and harder still to invent a replacement. Anything short of extrasensory perception won’t cut it.






Ever the gadfly I ask Sandra if she uses these tools herself. She admits that she does. In fact she feels she is just beginning her exploration.She is aware of the irony but not of any conflict. Sure a lot of it may be useless babble but these are the times we live in, she says, communicating and belonging are part of being alive. She has a point.

It was an interesting afternoon. Worth fighting my way through the traffic.Roy Green, PJ Kelly and Sandra Doore certainly provided plenty of food for thought. But that’s enough art for today. It’s stopped raining. Time to do some gardening. B4N