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Hyakkin Still Life (series), 2017

In 2006, Evan Lee created a series of works entitled Dollar Store Still Life that depicted cheaply manufactured goods purchased at a dollar store but presented in the style of traditional Dutch and Flemish still life genre paintings. Historically, these still life paintings were intended to showcase an individual or family’s wealth, capturing their most valuable possessions. They were also considered allegories of time, depicting rotting fruit and flowers and presenting moral lessons about vanity, the pursuit of worldly goods, and the certainty of death. Lee’s 2006 still lifes composed of inexpensive consumer commodities questioned contemporary values placed on popular goods, as well as the economy of overseas manufacture and import.

The term Hyakkin refers to a “100 yen store” in Japan. For the revisiting of this series, Lee composed still lifes using only items from Daiso, a Japanese dollar store located in Richmond. Returning to the series 10 years later asks us to consider changes in the economic and geopolitical state of our consumer culture: do these Asian goods change our expectations of a still life? What is the value of a dollar one decade later? Lee’s series continues his discourse on contemporary values as they relate to consumer goods, and asks us to reflect on the economic and demographic changes that have occurred over the past decade.

Billboard Installation, Hyakkin Still Life for Capture Photography Festival

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.

Full Circle

Installation Views (photography: Christopher Rollett)

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.

https://www.artforum.com/picks/evan-lee-80968

 

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

Exhibition: Shimmer and Paste – Evan Lee and Ben Reeves at Richard Rhodes Dupont Projects, Toronto

Shimmer and Paste

Evan Lee and Ben Reeves

Richard Rhodes Dupont Projects

opening November 5, 2016

http://dupontprojects.com/exhibitions/ben-reeves-evan-lee/

Vancouver artists Evan Lee and Ben Reeves have left their mark on contemporary Canadian art—Lee for his always-intelligent explorations of post-photographic reproduction and Reeves for his deconstructive approach to painting. Together they represent a generational engagement with the status of the image. Career-long friends despite the often-exclusive camps of photography and painting in which they find themselves, they come together in this exhibition to demonstrate mutual considerations of light and collage.

In his “Phoropter” series, Lee works with images of ophthalmic phoropters used for testing binocular vision. In Lee’s collages however, the spiraling clusters of optics seem to belong to anything but binocular beings. He pushes the post-photographic towards the post-human. With his “Fugazi” works, we see high-end fake diamonds enlarged 1500 percent against geometric backgrounds of Lee’s devising. The result pushes 2-dimensions and 3-dimensions into a merged, indeterminate space, lit by the far-off white light on the original zirconia and the designer colours of the background. The blurring of categories becomes Lee’s analogy of the many-tiered layers of mediated reality.

Reeves brings a painters knowledge mediation that matches Lee’s. Where in the past he has broken painting down to its brush stroke by brush stroke accretion, his new work give us seaside beach views painted on burlap with overlapping elements of fine-grained painted canvas. The horizons in the pictures are as far away as the white light in Lee’s diamonds. Depicted space becomes a negotiation of textures, materiality, colour and pigment. The disjunctions of the collage elements, however, are paradoxically naturalized by the landscape setting where we are used to seeing intrusive trees interrupt the view. Reeves’ paintings let us think about the interruptions and about the sustained continuities that take our eyes as far as they can see.

About Richard Rhodes Dupont Projects
Launched in 2016 as part of the new Dupont St. gallery scene in Toronto, Richard Rhodes Dupont Projects is devoted to a developing exhibition program of contemporary Canadian art. Founding editor of C Magazine and editor of Canadian Art from 1996 through 2015, Richard Rhodes brings his expertise to exhibitions by emerging and established artists from across Canada and abroad. Rhodes offers audiences and collectors an informed critical eye that has launched and nurtured numerous careers in the Canadian art world over the past three decades. www.dupontprojects.com.

For more information:
[email protected]
(647)978-8129

Location:
Richard Rhodes Dupont Projects
1444 Dupont St.
Unit 31
Toronto ON M6P 4H3

Black and White Photographs, 2006-2008

35 Boxes

34 Hedge-Entrance

33 Vegetable-Garden1

32 Portrait-Grandma

LEE Trained Tree

LEE Visitors

LEE Artist Moving

LEE 69 Pender

Black and White Photographs

Prompted by pervious documentary projects such as Closer than they Appear, Manual Labour, and Old Women, as well as the Portrait of the Artist’s Grandmother taken shortly before her passing, these large-scale black and white near-documentary photographs re-create events from the artist’s life.

Installation view, Drawing Photography, Monte Clark Gallery
Installation view, Drawing Photography, Monte Clark Gallery

Black Panther Coloring Book, 2014-2016

Black Panther Coloring Book

Building upon recent projects, which similarly explored media images of events that concern migration, race, identity and protest, the artist has created new works that are based on the images in the Black Panther Coloring Book using a combination of media and forms.

The Black Panther Coloring Book was a document secretly produced and distributed by the FBI’s covert Counter Intelligence Program, which strategically attributed the book’s authorship to the Black Panther Party. This ‘children’s book’ contained graphic ‘anti-white’ and anti-police imagery, and was mailed to prominent civil rights supporters with the hopes that the offensive content would cause them to reconsider their support, thereby undermining the growing movement. This document and the uncanny circumstances of its existence complexly allude to past and present issues of race, authorship, identity, subterfuge and power, and it has renewed significance in the present day.

Ichiban, 2016 (series)

Ichiban DSC_0105 Ichiban DSC_0102

Ichiban DSC_0093 Ichiban DSC_0090

EVANLEE_03-11-2016_00005

Installation view, Ichiban/Fugazi, Monte Clark Gallery
Image courtesy: Chris Rollett

In Ichiban, the artist mixes paint and instant ramen noodles with other found objects to create experimental sculptures that consider the artificial nature of “instant” food, as well as reflecting on ephemeral form and temporality in the artworks themselves. Like the companion work, Fugazi, Ichiban alludes to the complex relationship between that which is “real” and that which is “artificial” in our contemporary culture and art. Lee’s project reflects on his earlier works, such as the Dollar Store Still Life series (2006), which also examined the economic and cultural values of fake and artificial consumer goods

installation photo by Chris Rollett

Fugazi, 2016 (series)

EL Fugazi 24 in 2

EL Fugazi 24 in 1

CZ3-02-F0-004 retouched ALT BACKGROUND B

CZ3-03-F0-003 retouched ALT BACKGROUND B

EVANLEE_03-11-2016_00008

Fugazi consists of 5-by-5 foot prints created from digital scans of cubic zirconia, relatively inexpensive but high quality imitations of diamonds. A “Fugazi“ is a slang term used in Mafia films for a counterfeit diamond. The images are captured at a high level of detail and are enlarged fifteen thousand percent to a scale that renders the gems’ internal appearance as mesmerizingly random, distorted and fractured, while the effects of digital image-loss and artifacting emerge to aid in their visual transformation. The patterns of abstract shapes and reflected colours appear kaleidoscopic and at times groundless, an aesthetic that Lee manipulates further by constructing geometric backgrounds in response to the resulting visual space.

Fugazi also continues the artist’s interest in psychedelia, illusion and optics, as explored in such earlier works as Every Part from a Contaflex Camera… (2006); Stain (2003); and Phoropter (2012). Contrary to the reproducible nature of photography, each of the Fugazi prints, made on fine art paper, exists only as a signed unique edition of one.