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Exhibition: Evan Lee Cirage at Monte Clark

Evan Lee 

Cirage

January 13th – February 10th, 2024

Opening reception, Saturday, January 13th, noon to 5pm


Monte Clark is pleased to present Cirage, an exhibition of new paintings, pictures, prints and sculptures by Evan Lee.

Cirage is the French translation for shoe polish, a waxy paste or liquid used to polish, shine and waterproof leather shoes. 

Central to Evan Lee’s new body of work is an investigation into early photography, in particular Louis Daguerre’s Boulevard du Temple, taken in 1838. The photograph is one of the earliest surviving daguerreotype plates. At the time the picture was taken the Boulevard would have been bustling with pedestrians and horse traffic. Due to the long exposure time only static figures could be recorded, in this case a shoe shiner and his customer at the corner of the street, who may possibly be the first humans captured in a photograph. This picture represents a significant step in the development of photography, as well as the inherent class struggles emerging through the industrialization of France and separation between the wealthy and working class. Evan Lee’s After Vue de Boulevard du Temple, 1938 by Louis Daguerre is a reproduction of this detail of Daguerre’s picture rendered in shoe polish in lieu of ink or paint.

Lee’s use of shoe polish examines a common “low value” everyday product as an artistic medium, which he applies using different processes such as screen printing, or with paintbrushes. Shoe polish is chemically similar to paint or an encaustic, and once applied remains fixed. The material adds both colour and shine to any surface, like a faux-finish or veneer which conceals the surface underneath. Often performed by marginalized workers, shoe shining represents a form of labor tied to class and economic status. Lee’s sculptures, Cameos depicting silhouetted figures carved out from tins of shoe polish draw attention to the workers. 

Lee’s large-scale shoe polish paintings resemble iconic monochromatic paintings seminal to modern art of the 1950’s and 60s. This work considers tension between high art and low-class materials, pointing to the classism inherent in the economy of artistic production.

Evan Lee lives and works in Vancouver, BC. His first major solo exhibition Captures was held at the Presentation House Gallery in North Vancouver in 2006, and included catalogue essays by Jeff Wall and Peter Culley. Since then, Lee has exhibited in numerous museums and institutions including the Vancouver Art Gallery, the Art Gallery of Windsor, the Contemporary Art Gallery, the Surrey Art Gallery, the Richmond Art Gallery, the Confederation Centre for the Arts, the Liu Hai Su Art Museum, and at the Winnipeg Art Gallery as a Sobey Award Finalist in 2014. Lee’s work has been published in Artforum, Frieze, Canadian Art Magazine, Art on Paper, Border Crossings, Flash Art, Yishu Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art and other publications. 

This work was made with partial support from the BC Arts Council.

Featured works, from top: Evan Lee, After ‘Vue de Boulevard du Temple’, 1938 by Louis Daguerre, 2023, screen print with shoe polish on watercolour paper, 15 x 11 in; Evan Lee, Cameo, 2023, homemade shoe polish, vintage shoe polish tins, 2-1/2 in. diameter.

Exhibition: Open Work (years from today) at CSA Space

Evan Lee
Open Work (years from today)
Exhibition Opening: November 2, 2023 at 7pm
Curated by Christopher Brayshaw

 
In his first solo exhibition at CSA Space since 2006, Vancouver artist Evan Lee presents Open Work (years from today), an installation of experimental lens-based, printed images.
 
Over the past 25 years, Lee has been producing works inside and outside of photography. During this time, Lee has always been interested in the people and places of his home in East Vancouver. However, his early works demonstrated a tenuous relationship with the depiction of human subjects and he opted instead to explore them through still life surrogates such ginseng roots and dollar store objects.
 
In particular, the motif of the elderly recurs in Lee’s conception of the city, as explored in his previous CSA Space installation, Manual Labour, and was also important in his own life, as exemplified by his large-scale photograph, Portrait of the Artist’s Grandmother. Although the city and its people have changed considerably in this time, this familiar figure remains the same.
 
Lee has explored the subject of elders through drawings, photographs, 3D modelling and 3D prints. In his latest exploration, Lee pairs photographs of old women with paper doilies. Comprising Open Work (years from today), these temporary printed images offer a meditation on the passage of time, reflecting the paradoxical nature of memories and observances: timeless yet fleeting, fragile yet enduring.
 
Evan Lee lives and works in Vancouver, BC. Recent public exhibitions include Forged at the Art Gallery at Evergreen, FUGAZI at Teck Gallery, SFU, Tyrannyat the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, and Everything Under the Sun: In Memory of Andrew Gruft and Kids Take Over at the Vancouver Art Gallery. Lee is represented by Monte Clark Gallery.
 
CSA Space, 2414 Main St, Vancouver, BC
See Pulpfiction Books (2422 Main St.) for admission during regular business hours:
Mon-Sat 10am-7pm, Sundays and holidays 11am-7pm


 

Exhibition: Evan Lee | Forged | at Art Gallery at Evergreen

Evan Lee: Forged Opening Reception | Sunday, November 21st, 2021
2-4 PM | Opening Remarks 2:45pm
 
We are hosting our first public opening reception since the
start of the pandemic for the exhibition Evan Lee: Forged
on Sunday November 21st from 2-4pm at the Art Gallery at
Evergreen.
 
This is a solo exhibition of photography, painting and
sculpture by Evan Lee, a Vancouver-based Chinese Canadian
artist who explores the limits and possibilities of materials
(particularly lens-based media) through experimentation,
adaptability and an economy of means.
 
Vaccine passports are required to attend the event. Masks are
required in doors, and we encourage everyone to continue
practicing social distance. Opening remarks will take place
at 2:45pm. This event is wheelchair accessible.
 
Register here: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/evan-lee-forged-opening-reception-tickets-199452737507
 

Exhibition: Full Circle, Monte Clark Gallery

EXHIBITION
EVAN LEE – FULL CIRCLE

19 September to 19 October, 2019

Opening Reception 19 September

Monte Clark Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of new works by Evan Lee. Full Circle includes figurative oil paintings that are derived from the artist’s original photography, displayed alongside photographs printed on canvas.

Known as an artist who works in a wide range of media, Evan Lee has been particularly interested in the space between painting and photography. In past projects such the Forest Fire, Flashers and Black Blot/Black Bloc series, Lee improvises with imaging technologies and traditional techniques to create photo-painting hybrids that defy categorization. With his Fugazi and Ginseng Root series as well as his Migrant Ship Re-Creation Project, Lee explores ways to activate the non-rational in photography through his use of lensless and appropriated images. In his new work, digital artifacts and jpegs from the artist’s own photographs are translated into paint and pigment.

In Full Circle, Lee uses technology to invoke the poetic, exploring the people and places of his Vancouver home as subject. In stark contrast to the unexpected colour and surface of the oil paintings, the large photographs printed on canvas are simply enlarged and not altered in any way. Speaking plainly, the they reveal the true nature of photographic depiction while simultaneously reflecting on it. Together, these works continue Evan Lee’s exploration of pictorial possibilities.

Evan Lee, detail, Hole In Glass, 2019, photograph.

Evan Lee, In a Restaurant, 2019, oil on canvas

 

Public Art/Exhibition: Double Meaningless, No.3 Road Art Columns, Richmond

The City of Richmond invited me to mentor emerging Richmond Artists Crystal Ho and Chad Wong to produce public artworks on the theme of Migration. I wanted to try something a little different and work with text and language. My project, Double Meaningless, 2018 is a response to the ongoing debate in Richmond over signage and English language requirements.

 

https://www.richmond.ca/culture/publicart/no3rdartcolumns.htm

 

Exhibition: The Pacific, Libby Leshgold Gallery

Exhibition curated by Cate Rimmer
Opening Reception: Friday October 20, 2017 at 7:00pm

The Pacific, the inaugural exhibition at the Libby Leshgold Gallery, brings together artists from countries in and around the Pacific Ocean.

The exhibition considers the Pacific Ocean as a shared and connected space. It explores the idea that although the Pacific is an immense body of water there is a strong sense that it is a space of connection between peoples that live beside or are surrounded by it — that it brings people together rather than separates them. In contrast, much of the narrative around the Atlantic Ocean has historically perceived it as a space of distancing and division.

In thinking about the Pacific Ocean as a shared space we can consider the histories and contemporary concerns as linked while also being specific to each place. The show will include works that address environmental issues such as rising sea levels, nuclear contamination, the impact of industry and the built environment on the ocean. It will also consider human migration and the experiences of migrants. Finally it will touch upon our deep personal and spiritual bonds to the waters of the Pacific.

Some of the work in the exhibition include excerpts from Charles Lim’s Sea State, which was shown at the 56th Venice Biennale at the Singapore Pavilion, Paula Schaafhausen’s Ebbing Tagaloa, an installation made of sand and coconut oil, and Khvay Samnang’s Air, a video made in the Fukushima Prefecture shortly after the nuclear disaster occurred. Isabel and Alfredo Aquilizan will be making a large site-specific installation in the gallery in the weeks leading up to the opening.

Curated by Cate Rimmer, The Pacific extends the research begun in the multi-part exhibition The Voyage, or Three Years at Sea. It will include the work of Isabel and Alfredo Aquilizan (Philippines), Taloi Havini (Papua New Guinea), Charles Lim (Singapore), Genevieve Robertson (Canada), Jane Chang Mi (Hawaii), Khvay Samnang (Cambodia), Simryn Gill (Malaysia/Australia), Michael Drebert (Canada), Paula Schaafhausen (Samoa), Kalisolaite ‘Uhila (Tonga/New Zealand), Evan Lee (Canada), Beau Dick (Canada). There will be a series of talks and events scheduled around the opening and during the run of the exhibition that will include artists, migrant communities, social historians and scientists.

http://libby.ecuad.ca/exhibitions/2017/the_pacific.html

 

Exhibition: Pictures from Here, Vancouver Art Gallery

Exhibition: Pictures from Here, Vancouver Art Gallery

curated by Grant Arnold

May 19 – September 4, 2017

http://www.vanartgallery.bc.ca/the_exhibitions/exhibit_picturesfromhere.html

“The rise of photo-conceptualism in Vancouver has influenced not just contemporary artists
across Canada, but contemporary art practices around the world.”

– Grant Arnold, Audain Curator of British Columbia Art

Comprised of photographs and video works by Vancouver-based artists that date from the late 1950s up to the present, Pictures From Here reflects the development of the innovative lens- based practices that emerged as a counter- point to the lyrical landscape tradition that dominated art making in this city well into the 1970s. At that time, Vancouver-based artists such as Ian Wallace, Jeff Wall and Christos Dikeakos adopted intellectually rigorous approaches to photography that both articulated an affinity with the challenges to tradition put forward by the modernist avant-garde and acknowledged the place in which they were working.

The term “photo-conceptualism” emerged out of this moment and has become intrinsically linked to the rise of Vancouver as an internationally known centre for the production of contemporary art. However, while terms like photo-conceptualism may be useful in describing approaches to photography that draw upon the critiques of the image mounted by Conceptual Art and post- modernism, they can also efface significant differences in the practices of artists whose work might be associated with the label.

Focusing on representations of the city and its surrounds, Pictures From Here acknowledges the legacy of the innovative approaches to photography developed in Vancouver, while also emphasizing the diverse range of interests and socially engaged practices that have informed lens-based art in the city over the past four decades. The exhibition is comprised of work drawn from the Vancouver Art Gallery’s Collection and from private collections, many of which have not been previously exhibited in Vancouver.

Pictures From Here includes work by artists Roy Arden, Karin Bubaš, Christos Dikeakos, Stan Douglas, Greg Girard, Rodney Graham, Mike Grill, Arni Haraldsson, Fred Herzog, Barrie Jones, Evan Lee, N.E. Thing Co., Marian Penner Bancroft, Henri Robideau, Sandra Semchuk and James Nicholas, Althea Thauberger, Jeff Wall, Ian Wallace, Paul Wong , Cornelia Wyngaarden and Andrea Fatona.

Organized by the Vancouver Art Gallery and curated by Grant Arnold, Audain Curator of British Columbia Art.

Exhibition: A Spring Exhibition, Centre A, Vancouver

SPRING EXHIBITION

Patrick Cruz, Gwenessa Lam, Evan Lee, Mehran Modarres, Byron Peters, Tadasu Takamine, Alex Cu Unjieng, and Qahraman Yousif

Opening March 16th, 7pm, 2017

In recent months the world has tipped past a precipice toward a dramatic time of transition. The shift is not necessarily sudden. The political trends of silencing scientists, appealing to nationalism, looking suspiciously on migrants or making hay by regulating religious dress have been fermenting for a while. Anti-diversity, anti-internationalist calls to patriotism have taken the Western world by storm, as though the post-WWII order is crumbling. It is no longer a given that those in power will pay even rhetorical homage to the advancement of democracy and human rights or the value of domestic diversity and international cultural and economic exchange. In such a moment, both the value and the feebleness of our cultural institutions become glaringly apparent and we are challenged to consider the role of art.

In Spring Exhibition we bring together the work of old and new friends to constitute a contemplative space stimulating considerations of the value of diversity and free expression, the struggles of migration and the possibility of cultural exchange.

Preluding this exhibition, on February 24th, on occasion of the 130th year since Vancouver’s first Anti-Chinese riots we held The Unwelcome Dinner.  Chefs Wesley Young and Jacob Deacon Evans grounded diners’ palates in Vancouver’s foundational fissures and fusions, and host Henry Tsang, accompanied by various speakers, reflected on the history of racism and white supremacy in this city. Now, we invite Patrick Cruz, Gwenessa Lam, Evan Lee, Mehran Modarres, Byron Peters, Tadasu Takamine, Alex Cu Unjieng, and Qahraman Yousif to set the stage for a season of contemplation.

Qahraman Yousif’s work Lodge 179 is a reflection on the experience of imprisonment and migration and its effects on how language is experienced. Mehran Modarres’ Ma Miaeem, va Miravim/We Come and Go investigates hybridity and language through interventions in an English textbook from her childhood. Tadasu Takamine’s Ask for Trade illuminates moments of transformation during initial cross-oceanic engagement. Alex Cu Unjieng’s I Know Very Well, But Still utilizes décor in response to the gendered inequities of representation. Patrick Cruz’s Luzviminda explores cultural displacement and immigrant identity. Works from Gwenessa Lam’s Mongrel Histories series meditate on the history and value of cultural hybridity. With renderings from his Untitled Migrant Ship Re-Creation Project, Evan Lee examines the dual functions of depiction and construction in the portrayal of migrants. Byron Peters’ talk, Anti-Racist Mathematics and Other Stories, surveys selected communication and control technologies and their historical roots. In ad hoc constellation these artists’ works constitute a space for contemplation of the complexities of contemporary cultural/technological/political climate and the possibility of diversity.

Parallel to Spring Exhibition, Y Vy Truong and Christian Vistan have curated a selection of publications from Centre A’s reading room. At the centre of this gesture is documentation from the 1971 Vancouver Indo-Chinese Women’s Conference. The re-presentation of the literature produced for the Vancouver Indo-Chinese Women’s Conference expands public memory and re-conceptualizes the history of feminist movements in Canada. Truong and Vistan’s reading room challenges the Eurocentric memories, perspectives and tendencies in art, activism and other avenues of culture making in Vancouver, offering an inclusive space for the public to engage in conversations, to sip tea and consider paths forward.

Please join us for the opening of Spring Exhibition, at 7pm on March 16th, at Centre A, 229 East Georgia. The exhibition will be on display until May 13th. Regular gallery hours are Tuesday-Saturday, 12pm-5pm. Over the course of the exhibition we will be holding talks, recordings and other events as relevant.

Exhibition: In the Open, Western Gallery, Western Washington University

In the Open

January 4 to March 10, 2017

https://westerngallery.wwu.edu/open

In the Open brings together an international and multigenerational group of artists who have captured images in public spaces, utilizing the invasive potential of the lens gaze to examine these civic regions. The exhibition spans over 40 years of artists looking at ‘open’ space and how it has been defined, surveilled and controlled.  Often working from a source image to articulate social inequalities, the works in the exhibition consider how we frequently consent to inequitable though legislated conditions. In this way, the project aims to open questions about what is our right to privacy when we are out in the open and how are these locations monitored and regulated.

Our public spaces have become arenas for unprecedented frenzies of digital media. Surveillance cameras and smartphones are capturing images and uploading them from every street corner. As these photos become instantly transferable, finding themselves in internet, print and cable media, questions about the control of these pictures has become amplified. Over the last few decades, artists have anticipated this fervor and recorded the increasingly slippery boundaries of what constitues public or private use and the increased inability to control the contextualization of these images.

Through the artists’ conceptual picture making, questions are posed about what is being photographed when we are out in the open. What is ‘taken’ in these snap shots and why? Analysis of the motivations behind this compulsive production continues to reveal systems of desire, persuasion and control. Boundaries both official and personal are defined through this manipulation, the artists working to picture how these mediating systems articulate the social realities of their individual subjects.

Artists

Michel Auder, Fiona Bowie, Dries Depoorter, Janice Guy, Antonia Hirsch, Ron Jude, Garry Neill Kennedy, Evan Lee, Wanda Nanibush, Roxy Paine, Bettina Pousttchi