Sarah Anne Johnson
Stephen Bulger Gallery
To July 16
"Arctic Wonderland", the newest body of work by the Winnipeg-born photographer, is the result of a residency on board a double-mast schooner in the Norwegian territory of the Arctic Circle. On each of the twelve days at sea, the group visited a different site on land, ranging from untouched vistas of pure landscape to abandoned mining camps. In the photographer’s words, the landscape is “vast and strong, but also somehow delicate and fleeting.” With this body of work, Johnson questions Western ideas of progress, growth and innovation, but she has some fun, too. Cheerleaders incongruously populate this place while ‘fireworks’ explode in the sky. These moments of silliness suggest how absurd our notions are of trying to control and dominate nature.
Out of Sorts
To August 21
This survey of Canadian book design explores the many ways in which books have been used as a vehicle for art, from the use of typography, cover design, packaging, and unique approaches to binding and use of materials. Starting with early publications by the pioneering Toronto-based publisher Coach House Press, the exhibition features books through to the present day, including a handful of publications by The Office of Gilbert Li, which designed a number of the Magenta Foundation’s books (including the most recent, a monograph on the photography of Robert Bourdeau). The exhibition also considers the future of the printed book in the digital age.
Justina M. Barnicke Gallery
To August 20
Vancouver-based artist Kevin Schmidt first retrospective in Canada introduces viewers to Schmidt’s ongoing interests, which include the solitary epic quest as narrated in popular science fiction, spiritual discovery, scientific expedition, and music. Among the works on view is the early work “Long Beach Led Zep” (2002) featuring the artist’s studied solo guitar performance of Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” staged against the setting sun of Vancouver Island’s Long Beach. Since then, the combination of sublime settings and heroic, DIY or amateur quests have been a recurrent element in his installations. The exhibition’s title, Don’t Stop Believing, adapted from the 1980s chart-topping hit single by Journey, also reflects Schmidt’s interest in the classic, modern tension between doubt and faith.
The Most She Weighed/The Least She Weighed
To August 13, 2011
This twist on a summer group show brings together work by gallery artists, including Sandra Meigs, Arnaud Maggs, Liz Magor and Brian Groomridge, early-60s works by Michael Snow, and new works by painter Sasha Pierce and collagist Tiziana La Melia, who are both excellent emerging artists. The exhibition cryptically relays the biography of a fictional woman. Her presence and absence are simultaneously conveyed by works that evoke a body and allude to weight as a means of articulating one’s identity. The inspiration for the exhibition, curated by Jen Hutton, comes from a series of early-80s sculptures by Magor that ‘told’ the story of Dorothy, an acquaintance who, for most of her life, weighed 98 pounds and came to define herself by this weight. Magor created a portrait of Dorothy using cast lead sculptures of eggs, bananas and light bulbs as qualifiers for this woman’s lifetime.