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Contemporary Art Gallery

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

Admission always free
11 Mar 04until25 Apr 04


Neil Campbell and Beau Dick

B.C. Binning and Alvin Balkind Galleries

Installation image of Beau Dick’s carved wood mask in front of a black background. The mask has a pair of very long black eyebrows. The mask has a pair of wide-open eyes, a sharp nose, and a mouth opened in a shape of making a “u” sound.

Supernatural proposes a look beyond obvious differences to examine commonalities of intention, technique and effect in the distinct work of two artists. Vancouver artist Neil Campbell’s abstract, quasi-geometric paintings are scaled to the human body, and despite their apparent flatness, are performative in nature. They exact a calculated effect on the viewer's bodies and senses. Far from “abstract,” the experience is both physical and spiritual.

Beau Dick is a Kwakwaka’wakw chief, one of the most accomplished and talented traditional carvers and artists on the West Coast. Actively engaged in all aspects of Kwakwaka’wakw culture, he is highly regarded as a teacher and mentor. Dick has concentrated on studying and revivifying the traditions of carving, dance and storytelling, and this exhibition presents several of Dick’s masks in the admittedly compromised and alienated context of the Contemporary Art Gallery, far from their purpose integrated into rituals of dance and Potlatches. Dick mitigates these circumstances by preparing a dance for the exhibition opening.

The work of both Campbell and Dick share a basis in bold graphic design and theatrical effect. Supernatural sheds light on these parallels while questioning the aesthetic apartheid which separates the conditions under which similar artworks have been (and continue to be) displayed, with the aim of producing a serious dialogue on the relationship between artistic cultures and traditions.

Guest curated by Roy Arden