This spring and summer, three Vancouver galleries join forces with interrelated exhibitions to celebrate renowned Vancouver artist Rodney Graham. Internationally known for his humour and deep engagement with exploring ideas about art in our era of mass communication, Graham works in several media—film, video, photography, sound, text, sculpture, installation and painting—to reflect his ongoing concerns that are part autobiography, part detective novel, part psychoanalysis and part philosophy of consciousness.
The idea of a series of exhibitions was initiated by Rennie Collection, which holds a substantial body of Graham's work. The exhibition at Rennie Collection at Wing Sang (May 31-October 4) will feature works by Graham that question the role of the artist by inverting the status of amateur and professional. The result is a powerful readjustment of how we receive modern art history as Graham provides the tools to liberate forms ossified by authoritarianism so they can be energized anew. Dating from the late 1980s onward, many of the pieces presented are making Canadian debuts. From light boxes to video, paintings to installations, the spectrum of work exhibited highlights Graham's considerable and varied inspirations.
The Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery at the University of British Columbia and Charles H. Scott Gallery at the Emily Carr University of Art + Design are mounting Graham shows relying on key loans from the Rennie Collection. The Belkin exhibition (June 20-August 17) is built around Torqued Chandelier Release (2005)—a film loop of a spinning chandelier—with other works from both the Belkin collection, including Vexation Island (1997), and the artist of "things that turn" and contain sexual connotations.
The exhibition at the Charles H. Scott (September 17-November 16) focuses on the artist's paintings including those made as props for works such as The Gifted Amateur, Lobbing Potatoes at a Gong, Pipe Cleaner Artist and My Late Early Styles. New works by Graham will also be included in this exhibition.