Vancouver Special: Ambivalent Pleasures


Vancouver Special: Ambivalent Pleasures


25 × 20 cm | 8 × 10 in
90 ills | 144 pages

Contributors: Kathleen S Bartels, Daina Augaitis, Jesse McKee, Kim Nguyen, William Gibson, Andrew Berardini, Steffanie Ling, Richard Hill    

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What makes Vancouver special? In late 2016, the Vancouver Art Gallery explored this question by launching a new triennial exhibition that surveys the cultural impact of artistic production in the local scene over the previous five years.

This accompanying publication showcases the work of 40 artists, from Kim Dorland’s layered paintings of Canada by night to Tamara Henderson’s lopsided multimedia sculpture The Scarecrow’s Holiday; from Tiziana La Melia’s LED-illuminated painted aluminium to Ryan Peter’s silver gelatin prints.

The strong connection with art unique to the region is evident even in the title itself. Ambivalent Pleasures refers to the struggles and joys that artists born in and living around Vancouver face in response to the city’s changing landscapes. These include rising rent and the resulting movement of cultural and liminal borders, but also a renewed interest in abstraction, Surrealism and local history. In order to compile this eclectic range of artists, the curators searched through dozens of artist-run spaces, local galleries, pop-ups and temporary exhibition venues, picking out those that represented the vibrancy of art in Vancouver and noting a shift away from the traditional ‘gallery’ exhibition. The result is a multiform exploration of how Canadian artwork has altered, evolved and been re-formed in recent times.