Visual Arts News Digest, Compiled by the Vancouver Art Gallery Library, December 20, 2016

ART SEEN: In Search of Fire fixes fugitive images in paintings and drawings  What initially intrigued me about In Search of Fire was an image that came in an email alerting me to an exhibition at Republic Gallery of the work of Gwenessa Lam. It wasn’t colourful which is what usually catches my attention. It was a black, white and grey rendering of a negative image of what looked like smoke or fire rising from a house. Vancouver Sun, December 16, 2016

Giant colouring book brightens up dark, cold Abbotsford winter  When you step into an art gallery, you can usually expect to have to follow one simple rule: do not touch. But that’s not the case for Vancouver artist Angela Gooliaff’s latest work. In fact, she’s inviting audiences to help her finish it. Gooliaff’s exhibit is titled Winter Colouring Land. And it’s basically a giant colouring book…The piece runs across several walls at the Reach Gallery in Abbotsford, where patrons are invited to colour in the images that are reimaginings of classic winter tales from different cultures., December 19, 2016

Warm Up at Whistler’s Audain Art Museum By now Whistler Village is beautifully blanketed in snow … In addition to the extraordinary permanent collection which includes Emily Carr paintings and the world’s only carved Dance Screen by Haida master carver and artist, Jim Hart, on now till Feb. 6 is an immersive film-based exhibition entitled Intersections: Contemporary Artist Films. The exhibition features work by Canadian artists Matilda Aslizadeh, Patrick Bernatchez, Stan Douglas, Pascal Grandmaison, Marie-Claire Blais, Lisa Jackson, Fiona Tan, and Althea Thalberger. New Westminster Record, December 20, 2016 

Red Deer
Red Deer faces could soon decorate the museum’s exterior: Happy birthday Canada! The faces of thousands of city residents could soon decorate an exterior wall of the Red Deer museum. The museum is applying for $40,000 from the Canada 150 Fund, meant for projects commemorating Canada’s milestone birthday in 2017. The money would finance six large photographic mosaics by Red Deer artist Tim Van Horn and their installation on the south side of the building, facing Heritage Square. … About 3,000 people from Red Deer have already been photographed for Van Horn’s Red Deer Mosaic Project, which also involves head shots of people from across the country. Red Deer Advocate, December 19, 2016

George McLean is among Canada’s greatest artists — but the Order of Ontario advisory board hasn’t noticed  George McLean may be Canada’s greatest living painter of wild creatures and places. Certainly he is one of a very small pantheon of masters in this field, worldwide. Now 77, after more than a half-century of painstaking work that has garnered him international acclaim, McLean is at the height of his powers — producing canvasses stunning for their insight, technical reach and ambition. Yet for two years running, this most authentic of Canadian artists has been excluded from the list of new entrants to the Order of Ontario… National Post, December 18, 2016

Six explosive works by Hatecopy and Babbu the Painter, the Toronto pop artists who are adored by Mindy Kaling  As a teen in Mississauga, pop artist Maria Qamar had a punk streak… Over the past couple years, she has channeled her punkish aesthetic into art: she’s now an Instagram superstar, known as Hatecopy to her 75,000 followers. Through graphic, Lichtenstein-esque paintings, Qamar explores the realities of life as a Desi woman (the term for people from South Asia) living in North America, cheekily riffing on cultural stereotypes: overprotective parents, crying over burnt roti, white men saying “namaste.” Toronto Life, December 13, 2016

Wim Delvoye elevates the ordinary into high art  Intricate designs carved into rubber tires. Tattooed pigskins hanging on gallery walls. A scale model dump truck in the process of morphing into a gothic cathedral — these are among the artworks created by the Belgian artist Wim Delvoye that are now on display at DHC/ART. Montreal Gazette, December 16, 2016

New York
Underground art: the public works that are part of New York’s $100bn infrastructure plan Two weeks ahead of the opening of the Second Avenue subway in New York on 1 January, governor Andrew Cuomo outlined the role of public art in the state’s $100bn infrastructure plan. The Art Newspaper, December 20, 2016

Art in a Time of Atrocity This conversation is with Bracha L. Ettinger, a visual artist, philosopher and psychoanalyst. Her most recent publication is “And My Heart Wound-Space,” published on the occasion of the 14th Istanbul Biennial. New York Times, December 16, 2016

Marian Goodman, Art’s Quiet Matriarch, Hopes the Market Cools  At 88, Ms. Goodman carries herself with a quiet, unassailable authority that makes you think she could be a retired banker or New York City schools chancellor or a high-level diplomat, a job she aspired to before falling under art’s spell as a young, Upper West Side mother in the early ’60s. Her gallery enters its 40th year next month as one of the most powerful in the business, despite having operated in few of the ways other galleries have as the contemporary art world morphed into the sleek financial behemoth it is now. New York Times, December 16, 2016

Hatching Ideas: A Superb Exhibition at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Shows Jasper Johns Looking at Edvard Munch In an age of prequels and sequels, the art of Jasper Johns fits right in. That’s one of the takeaways from “Jasper Johns and Edvard Munch: Inspiration and Transformation,” a compelling show currently on view at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, in Richmond. Ostensibly, it is about the abstractions Johns began executing in 1974 and the paintings, prints, and works on paper by Munch that may have inspired him, but it is also a welcome opportunity to take an extended look at some of the most challenging work Johns ever made. Artnews, December 7, 2016

Renovation planned for Gio Ponti’s only North American building  Machado Silvetti Architects and Fentress Architects have been hired to revitalise the Denver Art Museum, the only North American building by famed Italian architect Gio Ponti. Completed in 1971, the distinctive museum – dubbed the North Building – rises seven storeys and is regarded as one of the first high-rise art museums, according to the team. It is located in downtown Denver, Colorado. Dezeen, December 19, 2016

Patti Smith and Vanessa Bell in joint photography show at Dulwich Picture Gallery  A joint display of photographs by the maverick Bloomsbury artist Vanessa Bell and the veteran US punk musician Patti Smith is due to go on show next year at Dulwich Picture Gallery in south London. The presentation, Legacy: Photographs by Vanessa Bell and Patti Smith (8 February-4 June), includes a series of images taken by Smith at Charleston, Bell’s farmhouse on the Sussex Downs in southern England. “Bell and Smith are both free spirits that challenged the times they lived in, and epitomised the ideal of creative freedom,” says the curator Sarah Milroy. The display accompanies a major retrospective of Bell’s work (also 8 February-4 June). The Art Newspaper, December 20, 2016

Tracey Emin to exit London after rejection of her Chipperfield-designed extension  Artist Tracey Emin has announced plans to move her studio from London to the Kent coast, after withdrawing her appeal against the planning rejection of her proposed David Chipperfield-designed extension. The scheme proposed the demolition of a 1920s block on Bell Lane in Spitalfields to make way for a new five-storey building that would extend Emin’s current studio space, allowing her to live and work on the same site. Following a conservation campaign to retain the existing building, planners at London Borough of Tower Hamlets rejected the scheme… Dezeen, December 19, 2016

Russian ambassador dies after being shot at art centre in Turkey The Russian ambassador to Turkey has died after being shot at a contemporary art centre in the capital of Ankara today, 19 December. Andrei Karlov was shot in the back as he was giving a speech at the opening of a photography exhibition sponsored by the embassy. The attack is thought to be a protest against Russia’s military intervention in Syria. A video of the incident shows a man in a suit and tie wielding a gun, shouting: “Don’t forget about Aleppo, don’t forget about Syria”. The Art Newspaper, December 19, 2016

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