The New Media Gallery in New Westminster didn't hit the ground running, it charged in galloping! It's gravitational pull attracting some impressive art-world heavy hitters and artists.
The NMG officially opened its doors in September of 2014 with an exhibition entitled Musicircus. The show included work by Jean-Pierre Gauthier, Christian Marclay, Tim Lee, and collaborative duo Signal to Noise (Oliver Wilshen and Niall Quinn). The exhibition formed connective interactions between works of sound, art, technology and of course, visitors.
On the heels of this Cage-ian Happening...exhibition number two Biometric opened in December of 2014 and ran into February 2015. It featured works that explore portraiture, science and the complex world of biometric technologies. In our incredibly codified and data-filled world, this exhibition explored methods of how to record and measure a human. The line-up of works ranged from 3D portraiture rendered from DNA samples and ephemeral olfactory representations of a person, to graphic abstract portraits and obsessive self-documentation spanning over a decade. Again, the list of exhibiting artists is remarkable: Julian Opie, Ahren Lee, Martynka Wawrzyniak, Julie Rrap, Shin SeungBack and Kim YonHun, Anthony Cerniello, Jim Campbell, Christine Borland, and Denis Beaubois.
Exhibition number three at the NMG was hypnotic, compelling, frightening, tender, obsessive, melancholic and sweet. Amour Fou featured a delightful compendium of film and video work by Nicolas Provost, Tracy Moffat, Pipilotti Rist, Jillian McDonald, and Christoph Girardet & Matthias Müller. Also on display were cheeky neon works, one by Tracy Emin and the other by Brendan Van Hek. Angela Washko's work was a re-edited animation that highlighted the gender roles and romance within video games and R. Luke Dubois' work was a stunning kinetic visual rendering of a computer program that was designed to detect and extract kisses and chart them.
National Gallery collected, Sobey and Viva Award winners, and even Turner Prize nominated artists have become a regular occurrence on the New Media Gallery's exhibition roster. Directors of the New Media Gallery, Sarah Joyce and Gordon Duggan have been working hard to bring exciting and challenging work to New Westminster. Group exhibitions of this hybrid type merging art, science and technology are not all that commonplace in Vancouver, there are some great platforms in the city, like the New Forms Festival, the SFU Teck Gallery, the Surrey Urban Screen and the fast approaching ISEA 2015, but a space permanently developing this kind of art-media dialogue within an international context and the conception of an ever evolving municipal gallery space dedicated to exhibiting media based practices is well, extraordinary. Kudos to the city council of New West for initiating this endeavour.
Directors Joyce and Duggan both draw on exceptional work experience and connections from previous roles and lives in Calgary, London, Milan and Los Angeles. Their reach extends to the Tate Gallery, the Getty Institute, the Glenbow Museum, the Domus Academy, the Lisson Gallery and well beyond. Their impressive first year of exhibitions in New Westminster has given Joyce and Duggan even further accreditation towards their ambitious programming for the NMG.
Up next in May for the gallery, POPart - an exhibition featuring the work of Scottish artist Martin Creed, Polish artist Karina Smigla-Bobinski, US artist William Lamson and UK artist Ceal Floyer.
The premise of POPart is best described in a selected quote by Joyce and Duggan courtesy of Plato - ‘You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation’. The exhibition uses the balloon as the primary medium in all the works. A playful puncture into the conceptions "Pop Art", the exhibition will literally and metaphorically burst everyone's art bubble.
As the New Media Gallery states "the works are wonderfully immersive, interactive, and playful. The artists here become catalysts, rigorously creating expressive, whimsical and often ironic ways for the audience to interact with the work. Some of the artists in POPart have already changed how we perceive contemporary art. All have created exciting, intelligent and sensory works using a common material: the balloon."
Visitors to the POPart exhibition at New Media Gallery are invited to leap out of their comfort zones: to explore half the air in a given room, to play with mark making in a room where the walls, ceiling and floor are blank canvases, and to discover, experiment, and to laugh. Are you ready for this? It will be a BLAST! POPart opens May 2, there will be a reception and talk by participating artists that runs from 6pm - 9pm.
POPart at The New Media Gallery - 3rd Floor, Anvil Centre, 777 Columbia Street, New Westminster, BC, V3M 1B6. Open daily from 10am - 5pm, open until 8pm on Thursdays.