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Contemporary Art Gallery

555 Nelson Street
Vancouver, Canada
Open from Tuesday to
Sunday 12 pm → 6 pm

Admission always free
8 Feb 97until15 Mar 97


Damian Moppett, Howard Ursuliak, Kelly Wood

555 Hamilton St

A detail of a black and white photograph. It shows an image of a balloon stuck in the toy block-made gate.

Damian Moppett, Untitled (detail), 1996. Photographer unknown.

Guest curated by artist Roy Arden, Bonus presents contemporary photographic approaches to the genre of still life by three Vancouver artists. Within the history of visual art, and primarily within the practice of painting, still life finds itself placed on the bottom rung of the hierarchical ladder. However, as a genre, still life has been important in the development of early twentieth-century modern strategies of representation as well as in contemporary art, particularly photography.

While still life is often associated with the displays of food and flora in seventeenth-century Dutch painting or as a vehicle for early modernist exercises in form, Arden considers still life as now residing within the domain of advertising. He notes that "Billboards of hamburger repasts and television close-ups of gleaming appliances are abundant whilst the art galleries tend to shun pictures of fruit bowls."

The artists in Bonus acknowledge this shift by presenting images of what are, in essence, consumer items. In today's society, the term bonus is linked to a promise of added fulfillment to that already offered by consumer products, but the works in this exhibition withhold that promise and instead produce a distancing from what are common objects. Damian Moppett creates an uneasy surreal encounter with his constructed tableaux of everyday objects, Howard Ursuliak's images of somewhat weather-worn commercial enterprises evoke a quiet pathos of the abandoned and Kelly Wood's candies and sweets are hardened objects that resist delectation. These artists use the enticement of the consumer product to question our relationship with objects and with the idea of still life.

Guest curated by Roy Arden