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Vancouver Art Gallery acquires works by Rodney Graham, Susan Point, Skeena Reece, and Stephen Waddell
Rodney Graham, Paddler, Mouth of the Seymour, 2012–13. Three painted aluminum lightboxes with transmounted chromogenic transparencies. Collection of the Vancouver Art Gallery, Purchased with funds from the Vancouver Art Gallery Acquisition Fund and a financial gift from Phil Lind © Rodney Graham, Courtesy 303 Gallery, New York.

VANCOUVER.- The Vancouver Art Gallery announced the recent acquisition of significant contemporary works for its expanding collection, including artworks by Vancouver-based artists Rodney Graham, Susan Point and Stephen Waddell; Beijing-based artist Wang Dongling; Montreal-based artist Sorel Cohen; and many others.

Rodney Graham’s recent triptych Paddler, Mouth of the Seymour (2012-13), which presents a single image across three monumental lightboxes, was acquired through funds from Rogers’ Vice Chairman and Gallery Trustee Phil Lind, as well as the Vancouver Art Gallery Acquisition Fund. The work is inspired by a painting by American artist Thomas Eakins and comes from a body of work that Graham has been making since 2005, which often depicts the artist as the subject of humorous self-portraits. Graham is an internationally-recognized artist and was the recipient of the Order of Canada in 2016 and this major acquisition will bring a more complete representation of his significant practice into the Gallery’s collection.

Two contemporary cedar carvings—Up Stream Quest (2016) and Birth of a Star (2016)—by distinguished Coast Salish artist Susan Point, both currently on view in her major retrospective Susan Point: Spindle Whorl at the Vancouver Art Gallery, have been acquired, one through funds donated by Michael and Inna O’Brian. These outstanding works speak to Point’s mastery of traditional Salish forms and techniques and propel the Gallery’s commitment to growing its holdings of work by contemporary Indigenous artists. Additionally, three works by prolific artist Jerry Pethick, all of which were included in the 2015 exhibition Jerry Pethick: Shooting the Sun/Splitting the Pie, a comprehensive overview of the Canadian artist’s career, have been purchased with funds donated by Jim and Rojeanne Allworth.

Another acquisition is Raven: On the Colonial Fleet (2010), a bold installation and performance work by Canadian artist Skeena Reece, first presented at the 17th Sydney Biennale in 2010 and later included in Beat Nation: Art, Hip Hop and Aboriginal Culture at the Vancouver Art Gallery in 2012. The acquisition of this formative piece is aligned with the Gallery’s interests in collecting work by artists from this region. In addition, two large-scale photographic works by Vancouver artist Stephen Waddell have been acquired—Big Room Caveman Autoportrait (2016) and Stain (2012). Both are part of a series of black and white images taken inside underground caverns in the United States, Canada and Lebanon, and were shown in Waddell’s solo exhibition Dark Matter Atlas at the Gallery in 2016.

With the Audain Emerging Artist Acquisition Fund, the Vancouver Art Gallery continues to demonstrate a strong commitment to art from British Columbia and is pleased to acquire artworks from numerous artists currently represented in Vancouver Special: Ambivalent Pleasures (2016-17). These works include Allison Hrabluik’s carefully crafted video The Splits (2015), which employs a cast of speed skippers, hula hoopers, weight lifters, opera singers and dog trainers among others to perform a strange and at times absurd talent show; Tamara Henderson’s large upholstered sculpture Scarecrow’s Holiday (2016); Ryan Peter’s three photograms that uniquely explore analogue photographic techniques; and Eli Bornowsky’s Game Designer (2016), a diptych comprised of two round, abstract paintings that investigate experimental processes of duplication.

Renowned artist Wang Dongling has also generously gifted a large calligraphic work Heart Sutra (2016), which he created during a live performance at the Gallery in October. The artist’s innovative calligraphic form results in characters and even entire columns of text that collide to generate an energetic script. This donation will enable the Gallery to better represent its history of events and exhibitions.

Other significant donations include several works by Julia Feyrer and Tamara Henderson, which were recently exhibited at the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery in 2016 and will be shown at the Vancouver Art Gallery in the summer of 2017. Comprised of a number of themed tables laid with found and fabricated objects, this generous donation is in keeping with the Gallery’s commitment to collect works by emerging artists. Additionally, two silver gelatin prints by Montreal-based artist Sorel Cohen—After Bacon/Muybridge: coupled figures/head and arm (1980)—have also been graciously donated by the artist.

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