55 Hamilton St
Vancouver artist Ken Tate’s ambitious provocative mixed-media installation, The Stalker will be on view at the Contemporary Art Gallery until September 24th. Tate’s installation transforms the gallery space by situating a translucent striding polar bear and a monolithic rock structure in a dimly-lit environment. A sensation of Arctic night is created by having the walls of the gallery painted entirely black. A dull glow emanates from the bear and the rock (the only two light sources except for muted spotlights). Mounds of coarse salt, mimicking snowdrifts, are swept up against the walls of the gallery and the objects placed on the painted white floor.
Tate’s current installation demonstrates his skillful handling of materials and the continuing development of his distinct, sardonic critique of the West's post-industrial collapse. Cut into the rock structure facing the bear is the once ubiquitous “Reddy Kilowatt” symbol — a grinning cartoonish character with a lightning bolt body representative of the unfettered industrial expansion of mid 20th century America. Lightning Rods, seven foot long burnt spears rest against the giant rock. Tate’s bear, The Outlaw, narrowly missed by one of the spears, is presented here as a creature of the oil industries’ “last frontier.”