Sunday, September 12, 2010

One of the artists in the exhibition I curated last January (to show, to give, to make it be there: Expanded Literary Practices in Vancouver: 1954-1969 at SFU Gallery) was Glenn Lewis.

Last night Presentation House Gallery opened a solo exhibition of Lewis’s early work. Among the twenty or so pieces were two films of the artist binding a city block with a single piece of tape and doing the same for an equivalent-sized section of forest.

Most notably, though, was the mounting of a ceramic mural Lewis made for the 1970 Osaka World’s Fair, a commissioned work deemed inappropriate by the fair’s commissioner, former World War Two tank commander and father-in-law to (wheelchair) athlete Rick Hansen, Patrick Reid. Last night marked the first time the wall work was shown as it was originally intended.

Lewis also reprised a 1970 cooking performance by donning chef’s attire and making kimchi, which I sampled and found rather tasty.

The 1960s and 70s were fecund times for Lewis. Like his fellow Western Front co-founder Michael Morris, Lewis made a lot of work in a variety of mediums. Not all this work is on display, of course, but the material and thematic tendencies are. That they can be experienced without clutter contributes to the show's success.

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