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Canadian artists represent the land beyond landscape through multisensory exhibit

Canadian artists represent the land beyond landscape through multisensory exhibit

Ground Signals
September 23−December 10, 2017 | Panel Discussion & Opening Reception: September 236:30−9:30pm

This fall, artists from across Canada explore the question of how to represent the land other than by its scenic topography. Through sculpture, video, and audio art, this question is answered in a group exhibit called Ground Signals presented at Surrey Art Gallery from September 23 to December 10.

Paintings and picturesque photographs of Canada’s rugged wilderness and untouched nature continue to permeate our media and underwrite our national identity. Yet the Canadian landscape has rarely ever been untouched. The land has long been inhabited.

There have been many centuries of cultural production by Indigenous Peoples that represent the land and the connection between nature and human experience in very different ways from the traditions encompassed within Western landscape art.

During recent decades, new generations of artists working in Canada have drawn from a wealth of other non-Western practices and developed new forms of media to represent the land beyond the romantic, expressionistic styles and pictorial forms that have become so familiar.

These artists invite us to consider our own presumptions and relationship to the places around us beyond seeing them as scenic or banal, as sources of investment and industry, or as sites of recreation.

Gathering works by over a dozen artists from across Canada, Ground Signals features immersive, multisensory art that engages with land and water.

The exhibition includes ceramic bowls that emit environmental audio recordings and Indigenous songs from northern Quebec; a towering sculpture of woven copper wire that broadcasts shortwave marine radio reports from a proposed pipeline terminus on British Columbia’s coast; a time-travelling shadow machine made of wax, paint, and human hair that transports visitors to the deep past of Tahltan territory; a gigantic mural of found blankets and building materials framed in words and writing about waterways impacted by industrial accidents; composite videos of Southern Ontario vistas morphing into English Romantic landscape paintings; and a solar-powered culture station collects stories in exchange for energy.

Building on several recent Gallery exhibitions that have addressed landscape, ecology, territory, and mapping, Ground Signals challenges viewers to listen and experience the land in fresh and compelling ways through a combination of sounds and images.

Artists |
Ruth Beer, Roxanne Charles, Marie Côté, Lindsay Dobbin, Richard Fung, Brandon Gabriel and Ostwelve, Farheen HaQ, Peter Morin, Valérie d. Walker and Bobbi L. Kozinuk, Charlene Vickers and Cathy Busby

Also on exhibit is Shift | Kwantlen Polytechnic University Fine Arts Faculty (until November 5). Talented artists in the faculty demonstrate their mastery of a broad spectrum of media, including traditional painting, ceramics, photography, sculptural installations, and new media. These artworks are on display throughout the Surrey Arts Centre.

Panel Discussion and Opening Party
Saturday, September 23 | 6:30−9:30pm

Celebrate the opening of our fall exhibition! A panel discussion with Ground Signals exhibiting artists Ruth Beer, Brandon Gabriel, Valérie D. Walker, and Bobbi L. Kozinuk, moderated by Gallery Curator of Exhibitions and Collections Jordan Strom and co-curator Roxanne Charles, will start at 6:30pm. The reception follows at 7:30pm.

Exhibition Tour
Wednesday, October 4 | 7−8:30pm

Want to know more about the exhibit you’re seeing? Learn more about the artwork in Ground Signals with curators Jordan Strom and Roxanne Charles.

Sunday Sunday, October 15 | 11am3pm

Drop in to create, explore, and enjoy art with friends and family! Engage in activities that respond to the exhibitions, including hands-on artmaking workshops in a range of mediums, an art explorer game in the Gallery, and an interactive performance in the Studio Theatre.

Sounds for Action | Sound Thinking 2017
Saturday, October 28 | Noon−4pm

Artists from Ground Signals perform and discuss the ideas and stories embedded in the exhibition and the larger context of artmaking in North America. Participants include Marie Côté, Peter Morin, Cathy Busby, Bobbi L. Kozinuk, Charlene Vickers, and Valérie d. Walker.

Marie Côté, Jeux de bols et de voix (2013), vitrified porcelain, wood, speakers, wires, soundtrack. Installation in collaboration with Olivier Girouard, sound designer. Photo by Paul Litherland, courtesy of artist and Oboro.

Lindsay Dobbin, Intertidal Cymbal Whistle (2015), video still.

Ruth Beer, Antenna 1 (2016), copper, polyurethane, broadband radio, receiver, and sound. Photo courtesy of artist and Bellevue Arts Museum.

Richard Fung, Warkworth Castle, part of Landscapes (2008), video still.

Exhibition Tour | Wednesday, November 15 | 7−8:30pm | Learn more about the artwork in Ground Signals with curators Jordan Strom and Roxanne Charles, joined by guest respondent KPU sociology professor Seema Ahluwalia. Surrey Art Gallery gratefully acknowledges the financial assistance of the City of Surrey, Province of BC through BC Arts Council, Canada Council for the Arts, Vancouver Foundation, and Surrey Art Gallery Association.

Surrey Art Gallery is located at 13750-88 Avenue, Surrey, BC, Canada. 604-501-5566 |
HOURS: Tues-Thur 9am-9pm | Fri 9am-5pm | Sat 10am-5pm | Sun 12-5pm | Closed Mondays and holidays.

About The Author

Surrey604 Staff

Surrey604 is an online magazine and media outlet based in Surrey, BC. Through writing, video, photography, and social media, we secure an intimate reach to the public. We promote local events and causes.

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