Art of the Everyday: Song Dong & Robert Adrian

Last week we went downtown and renewed our membership to the Vancouver Art Gallery. Then, we took a look at a few of the exhibitions that were currently on: Song Dong's 'Waste Not' and a group exhibit called 'Everything Everyday'. Exhibits at the VAG are usually hit or miss for me, but these group of exhibits made it the most wonderful Vancouver gallery day. A lot of the pieces resonated, and there were moments where you connect with the art, which is a feeling that's out of this world.

Song Dong's exhibit was an installation of all the objects that his mother collected over the years. We may understand her compulsion as 'hoarding', but it seems much more complicated than that. It speaks to the values of previous generations, cultural history, mourning, and the value of things. Ultimately, the art shows the relationship between mother and artist son. The exhibit is huge, and very impressive, just in terms of size. The detail and immensity are astounding.

On the same floor, there was a group exhibit of everyday objects transformed into art. Like a lot of group shows, there are things that stand out and things that would make you shake your head. But probably my favourite piece was Robert Adrian's 'dictionnaire par images', made in 1979. He took out pages from a picture dictionary and created tiny clay sculptures of the object as they were on the page. Perhaps it is my love of miniatures, but I found this piece to be charming and poignant, considering these objects are more than 30 years old!

The other exhibit that blew me away that's at the VAG right now is the American artist Kerry James Marshall's first solo exhibit in Canada. His paintings are amazing and tell stories of the African American experience. He draws from religious icon imagery, pop art, Basquiat, advertising, Naive Art....

The canvases are just beautiful and reflects on the history of African Americans, especially during the Civil Rights era. Although he's a past recipient of the MacArthur 'genius' grant and quite well-known in the US, I'd never heard of him before. What a discovery.

1 comment:

  1. I also enjoyed the 2nd and 3rd floors' exhibitions better than the 1st floor one. I went to see Kerry James Marshall two times and liked better the second time. I will probably go back again. :-)