Friday, September 18, 2015

Four Chinatown Galleries

With an hour to kill before my afternoon design meeting at Arsenal Pulp Press, I thought I would visit the four art galleries nearest to it.

At UNITT/PITT is an exhibition by Joël Doyle, a mysterious self-taught artist who, I have learned, builds expensive Gulf Island houses and, with the leftovers, makes artworks that relate to his experiences. Those who appreciate the work of Fanny Bay's George Sawchuk, Hornby Island's Jerry Pethick and Vancouver's Liz Magor will be at home at this exhibition.

At Center A is a three-channel video installation by the Le Brothers, who hail from Hue, Vietnam. Entitled Underlying, the exhibition features the Les engaged in an "imaginary war that takes place underwater." Though born after the American War, the Les are aware of its echo -- something we see not so much in the video (which takes place away from the shell-pocked city, on a river), but in iconic images derived from U.S. protest culture (flowers stuffed into rifle barrels) and U.S.-made war films such as Apocalypse Now (waterskiing off the back of a patrol boat).

Down the street at 221A is Mime Radio; a novel, an exhibition and a performance (2104) by Benjamin Seror. Here, the artist has laid out over a long narrow table a community of cardboard structures, forms and texts that approximate what is, for most of us, what can only be held in our hands. Although set up to be encircled, I would hesitate to call this a work of sculpture because its eastern side is, like the back end of town, just that -- a back. Which is to say closed. Not a good sign for someone eager to open up the novel.

My final stop was in fact my first stop -- Access. Unfortunately it was closed when I got there and closed when I stopped by a third time at 12:30PM. Far Away So Close: Part III indeed.

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