Derek Besant’s 2011 image

Derek Besant’s 2011 image

Do not adjust your eyes

New exhibitions at Vernon Public Art Gallery focus on abstract and narrative images

  • Aug. 3, 2011 12:00 p.m.

Those looking at Derek Besant’s exhibition, The End of Language, may think they are in need of eyeglasses. But before forking over hundreds for new spectacles, please note, the blurry images are intentional.

Besant’s show, opening at the Vernon Public Art Gallery Thursday,  addresses several issues pertinent to the nature of human perception and cognition: the structure of narrative driven art forms and the ability to convey meaning, and the use of text and photo-based imagery in contemporary art making, said Cyan Kregosky, VPAG curatorial assistant, in a press release.

“The images are out-of-focus portraits of men and women with additional fragments of text superimposed over top, adding another layer of signification,” she said. “The use of text in Besant’s work further contributes to the modality of generating possible narratives contained in the work, but also by the viewers that navigate complex non-linear narratives contained in the exhibition.”

Besant will be at the gallery just before the opening reception Thursday to give an artist talk about his work starting at 6 p.m.

The End of Language is part of three other new exhibitions opening at the VPAG.

The subject matter of Brigitta Kocsis’ exhibition of paintings, titled Secret Mechanisms, examines the human body in the context of what constitutes a desirable body image in a contemporary society.

“Human figures are like actors depicting a kind of abhorrent contemporary beauty in the age where science fiction and artificial body parts are no longer fiction,” says Kocsis in her artist’s statement.

“Despite the fact that the works in the exhibition navigate the space between figurative and abstract painting, the images are an amalgamation of the human body and technological and medical possibilities for its alteration.”

Also on exhibit is Heather Hawkshaw’s Everydays, which focuses on creating abstract images from readily available sources, including scanned and photographed household items, images, pieces of packaging materials, and fragmented photographs of house interiors.

Hawkshaw’s studio practice is based on digital manipulation of images through the process of deconstruction, scale shifting, colour manipulation, and digital collage reassembly in order to create abstract images free from reference to the original source of the visual information.

She will be at the VPAG to give an artist’s talk about her work Oct. 8 at 1 p.m.

Also opening is Toben McFarlane’s suite of photographic images, Exploration of Identity, which represent a reflection on the complexities and issues of Métis identity as individuals and as a collective.

The work is based on McFarlane’s personal experiences, which examine the sociological meaning of cultural identity.

Thursday’s opening reception runs at the VPAG from 7 to 9 p.m. All exhibitions continue to Oct. 13, except for Kocsis’s which runs to Nov. 2. Call 250-545-3173 for more information.