The Vernon Public Art Gallery (VPAG) is hosting an opening reception for four exhibits Thursday, May 25. With appetizers, beer, wine, and music on hand, the opening night reception is an opportunity to mingle and take in the artistic offerings of four distinct exhibits.
Emergence introduces a new format of presentation produced by selected graduating students from the UBC Okanagan bachelor of fine arts program. This exhibition consists of a selection of work from six emerging artists, painting, screen printing, sculptural installation, photography, and fibre art.
“The Vernon Public Art Gallery is excited to welcome Gabe Delaney, Gary Dewhurst, Jackie Deck, Mandira Chetna, and Melanie Greenley to the gallery in their upcoming exhibition, titled Emergence,” said Dauna Kennedy Grant, VPAG executive director. “As recent graduates from UBC Okanagan’s BFA program, this show will be the first opportunity for these emerging artists to participate in a curated exhibition outside of the academic setting. (It’s) an important step for each of them as they move forward in their careers as professional artists, and the VPAG looks forward to showcasing their combined talents.”
Arctic Sojourn consists of oil paintings created by Nicola Tibbets who spent a winter in Nunavut. These paintings document a short period in Iqaluit’s twenty-year history as a Canadian capital.
“Tibbett’s exhibition is a commentary about the current status quo of all intersecting streams of human existence in Iqaluit,” said VPAG curator Lubos Culen. “Traditional relationship of Inuit peoples with land stewardship clashes with the newcomers’ desire for western cultural values, products, and temporary success before leaving south again. Yet this subtle critique of prevailing neocolonial attitudes is juxtaposed by the admiration for the unique quality of the Arctic landscape framed within the context of the landscape painting tradition in Canada.”
Laura Ashton’s exhibition Impermanence focuses on a grassland study area near Vernon on Middleton Mountain. Watercolour illustrations and a video compilation highlight the beauty and frailty of nature through changing seasons.
“The Okanagan valley has been experiencing a population growth and an influx of people from other parts of the province and the rest of Canada,” said Culen. “The demand for housing and amenities for people has been steadily increasing and the new development of massive subdivisions is increasingly encroaching on the grassland habitat around the valley. Ashton’s exhibition Impermanence was produced within the context of urban development and the endangerment of the grassland ecosystem.”
You Are Here is a unique community-based project by the youth at the Teen Junction Youth Centre in partnership with VPAG. The gallery’s education coordinator facilitated five educational and collaborative workshops where eleven participants from Teen Junction had the opportunity to learn about contemporary art, the role of a public art gallery, how to write an artist statement, and how to curate and hang an exhibition.
They were also allotted time to work on artwork that will be displayed for the duration of the exhibition in a gallery setting. The works on display were created during a conversation around what it is like to be a youth in Vernon, asserting your own agency, and making your own choices in the way you use culture, history, and art as a resource.
The opening reception is held at the Vernon Public Art Gallery Thursday, May 25 from 6 to 8 p.m. and is open to the public with admission by donation.