We’ve reached 30% of our goal! Back us so that we can raise $10,000!
We’ve reached 30% of our goal! Back us so that we can raise $10,000!
This is a big year for grunt gallery and we’ve got a lot brewing: we’re celebrating our 30th anniversary! Raise a glass and take a moment with us to celebrate what we’ve accomplished.
Founded in 1984, we know there’s a lot to celebrate! Thirty years is a long time and it’s time to proudly commemorate the institution we’ve become over these last three decades. Yeah, we said institution. Becoming what we are today did not come easy. It happened over many cups of coffee and numerous bottles of beer. Our vision continues with the generous input and support from people like you. This year, we’re hosting a series of events and projects relating to our 30th anniversary. These include…
Please be advised that the Annual General Meeting of the Visible Art Society (dba grunt gallery) will be held on Thursday, October 2, 2014 at 7:00pm at grunt gallery (#116 – 350 East 2nd Avenue, Vancouver, BC, V5T 4R8).
Please join us for a fun, fast, pizza and beer-filled AGM. Vanessa Kwan, Curator of Community Engagement, will be sharing photos and talking about her whirlwind trip with the Asia-Pacific Visual Arts Delegation. Also, the first 10 people through the door will receive free tickets to grunt’s 30th Anniversary blow-out bash, GROWLER, at the ANZA club on Saturday, October 11th.
We will be meeting for the following purposes:
1. To receive the March 31, 2014 Audited Financial Statements
2. To receive the Directors’ Reports
3. To vote on changes to the bylaws
4. To elect the Society’s Officers
All members of the Visible Art Society are invited to attend.
Location: grunt gallery – 116-350 East 2nd Ave, Vancouver, BC, V5N2T5
GROWLER: grunt gallery 30th Anniversary Party
Event Time: Saturday October 11th, 8pm – 1am.
Location: The Anza Club, 3 W 8th Ave, Vancouver, BC V5Y 1M8
Tickets: $10 – available at the door.
Celebrate grunt gallery’s 30th anniversary at GROWLER. Arrive early to witness a special performance by poet Janet Rogers – Mohawk writer and Victoria’s poet laureate. Ready yourself for heavy guitars, beats and indigenous drums and visuals with The Monster Project – featuring artists Chris Bose, Bracken Hanuse-Corlett and Dean Hunt. Finally, dance your way past midnight with a DJ set by hip-hop artist Ostwelve.
This event is also the launch of grunt’s BREW editions, a beautifully crafted beer growler featuring work by artist Lorna Brown. And, custom ovoid-shaped coasters that riff on Main Street’s cultural aesthetic, created by artist Sonny Assu. Growler’s will be available at the event for only $5, be sure to grab yours before they sell out!
Janet Rogers – http://music.cbc.ca/#/artists/Janet-Rogers
A Mohawk writer from the Six Nations band in southern Ontario, Janet Rogers was born in Vancouver, British Columbia and has resided in Victoria since 1994. A published and award-winning poet, she has worked and studied in the genres of poetry, short fiction, spoken word performance poetry, video poetry and recorded poems with music and scriptwriting. You can hear Janet on the radio as she hosts Native Waves Radio on CFUV fm and Tribal Clefs on CBC radio one fm in Victoria BC. Her radio documentaries “Bring Your Drum” (50 years of indigenous protest music) and Resonating Reconciliation won Best Radio at the imagaineNATIVE Film and Media festival 2011 and 2013.
The Monster Project – https://soundcloud.com/womp
Ostwelve – https://soundcloud.com/ostwelve-productions
Ostwelve (Ron Dean Harris), was born in the Coast Salish – Sto:lo Territory of British Columbia, Canada. Being introduced to music at an early age, Os was experimenting with the art form of Hiphop by the age of 12 years old. Moving into the city of Vancouver at the age of 13, the hip-hop scene there lead him to the sounds and sights of the growing art of hip-hop.
This event is a part of our 30th Anniversary programming. To learn more visit our 30th anniversary page.
We regretfully announce that Chris Bose is unable to make it to the event this evening due to travel issues. Wanda John will be reading instead. There will be a 30-minute open mic at the beginning of the event.
Read the update here! https://www.facebook.com/events/1483774898559821/
Janet is a Mohawk/Tuscarora writer from the Six Nations band in southern Ontario. She was born in Vancouver British Columbia and has been living on the traditional lands of the Coast Salish people (Victoria, British Columbia) since 1994. Janet works in the genres of poetry, spoken word performance poetry, video poetry and recorded poetry with music and script writing.
Janet has three published poetry collections to date; Splitting the Heart, Ekstasis Editions 2007, Red Erotic, Ojistah Publishing 2010, Unearthed, Leaf Press 2011. Her newest collection “Peace in Duress” will be released with Talonbooks in September 2014. Her poetry CDs Firewater 2009, Got Your Back 2012 and 6 Directions 2013 all received nominations for Best Spoken Word Recording at the Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards, the Aboriginal Peoples Choice Music Awards and the Native American Music Awards. You can hear Janet on the radio as she hosts Native Waves Radio on CFUV fm and Tribal Clefs on CBC radio one fm in Victoria BC. Her radio documentaries “Bring Your Drum” (50 years of indigenous protest music) and Resonating Reconciliation won Best Radio at the imagaineNATIVE Film and Media festival 2011 and 2013.
Ikkwenyes or Dare to Do is the name of the collective Mohawk poet Alex Jacobs and Janet created in 2011. Ikkwenyes won the Canada Council for the Arts Collaborative Exchange award 2012 and a Loft Literary Prize in 2013.
Chris Bose is a writer, multi-disciplinary artist, musician, and filmmaker, who has read and performed at universities, theatres, and coffeehouses at all points from Victoria to Montreal, as well as the BC Festival of the Arts, as a literary delegate to the Talking Stick Aboriginal Arts Festival in Vancouver and the Word on the Street Festival in Toronto.
Chris continues to make art on a daily basis, and is also a workshop facilitator of community arts events, digital storytelling, art workshops with people of all ages and backgrounds, curatorial work for First Nations art shows and projects, research and writing for periodicals across Canada, project management and coordination, mixed-media productions, film, audio, and video recording and editing, and more. He is of the N’laka’pamux Nation in BC, and currently spends his time in Kamloops, BC.
The Book of Jests began in an antiquarian bookstore in Vienna where Hyung-Min Yoon found and purchased a 1922 edition of Albrecht Dürer’s illustrations. The book, Marginal Drawings for the Prayer of Emperor Maximilian I, was bound in grey cloth with beveled edges, and contained illustrations created for the margins of a prayer book. Originally created in 1515, Dürer’s illustrations were used in the mass publication and distribution of a single Christian prayer to multiple language groups, leaving blank the centre of the page, onto which the texts of different languages could be printed. For an artist whose work has explored the ‘imperfect path’ of translation, the interpretation of images across cultural contexts, and the history of printed text, this central unmarked ground must have seemed an almost overwhelming space of possibility.
The illustrations, inked in green and orange and sepia, are familiar biblical themes – mass produced extensions of the sacred manuscripts illuminated by hand in Medieval times. Horned devils perched on filigree, winged dragons and architectural flourishes, charging mounted knights and mythological beasts: what might these have meant to the readers of some forty-three languages of the polyglot prayer book? What universalities were assumed to reside in the scrollwork embellishments, allegorical arrangements and fantastical landscapes? What process of translation transformed the meaning of these renderings placed next to such diverse scripts?
Vilém Flusser’s The Gesture of Writing is a typed work from 1991. It describes in fine, methodical detail the act of writing through its phenomenology. Written in English, it is an example of his practice of translating and retranslating his writing as a way of mining his own thought: seven versions were produced in four languages. He begins by analyzing handwriting:
“It is a gesture of making holes, of digging, of perforating. A penetrating gesture. To write is to in-scribe, to penetrate a surface, and a written text is an inscription, although as a matter of fact it is in the vast majority of cases an onscription. Therefore to write is not to form, but to in-form, and a text is not a formation, but an in-formation. I believe that we have to start from this fact if we want to understand the gesture of writing: it is a penetrating gesture that informs a surface.”
Flusser traces the movement from writing by hand as a sculptural form, forward to typing, a process that removes irregularities and unwanted incidental marks, in which “we no longer engrave with a stick, but with a series of hammers”. Placing the gesture of writing into an historical context, he notes that the practice of typing ultimately transformed how we define writing, that is, as a conceptual gesture processed through a rigidly formed technology, a template.
The Gesture of Writing contains strikeovers and typos, and moments when the hammers glanced unevenly. Reading it (so odd in PDF form!) thus also requires care and a certain level of translation, of filling in, or working to discern the author’s intent. The text lightly abrades our reading of it, a distant echo of Flusser’s process of translating and re-translating. But his process, while arduous, was not endless:
“Theoretically I could go on translating the re-translating ‘ad nauseam’ or to my exhaustion. But practically I find that the chain of thoughts is exhausted in the process long before I myself am exhausted. Thus the process of translation and re-translation provides a criterion for the wealth of the thought to be written: the sooner the process exhausts the thought (the sooner it falls into repetition), the less worthy the thought is of being written.”
Dürer’s lithographs, inscribed and re-inscribed over centuries, are now subject to a new interpretive maneuver, moving from their 14th century European Christian context to the present day. What sort of profane texts might occupy the space intended for the sacred?
The artist looks to the role of the Jester, an ancient figure found the world over, and found in close proximity to power. Able to speak the unspeakable, the Jester claims an uneasy space of intimacy and exclusion, whether in a monarch’s court or, these days, on late night television. The Jester draws and re-draws the line between insult and adulation, using flourishes, oblique angles and sidelong curves in his speech. Jokes – like prayers – are most often spoken.
Transposing the method of the polyglot prayer book, Yoon sought out political jokes in English, Italian, Hebrew, Hindi, Spanish, Korean, Mandarin, Russian, Japanese, Arabic, German, Greek and Czech from friends and associates. They address classic themes such as hypocrisy, corruption and oppressive bureaucracy yet riff on the culturally specific paradoxes and absurdities of power. Certain formats – light bulb jokes, doctor jokes, and the like – repeat across nations, historical moments and regimes. Using a font developed in Dürer’s times, Yoon letter-pressed these jokes into the Terra nullius at the centre of the illuminated pages. By indexing the landscapes, forms and figures of the illustrations to the content of the jokes, new meanings are constructed. Emil Hácha, the President of Czechoslovakia during Nazi occupation, becomes a hooded monk waiting for dinner; German Chancellor Angela Merkel is seen as the Virgin Mary, no less, and Berlisconi becomes King David. Bound in deep magenta, the photo-lithographs with their letterpress texts form a new volume of flagrant iconoclasms – and in the case of the Arabic scripts, near-blasphemies. Yoon’s method proposes the artist as editor, as publisher of a trans-historical, multilingual anthology, in a finely crafted limited edition.
In the gallery, in addition to the book, framed prints reproduce several two-page spreads. These particular excerpts are often in a left-page question, right-page answer format, or one printed page weights the blankness of its neighbour. In the archive area behind the exhibition space, a video records the artists’ hands turning the pages of the book. She takes care to time the page-turning correctly: in comedy timing is everything. This video of the silent reading, along with Yoon’s process of photographing and photographing the pages, as well as the framing and reframing of the letterpress jokes remind us of Flusser, translating and translating again. From one medium to another and back again, Yoon re-works her thinking along Flusser’s chain, to the point when all possible meanings have been extracted, seeking exhaustion.
The event will take place from 6:30-8:30pm at grunt gallery and in the adjoining Amenity Space. We will cut the cake at 7:15pm.
Please join us for a slice of cake and a glass of wine or iced tea. We will have refreshments for children and the party is dog friendly. Stop by to check out a slideshow of past and present art exhibitions; meet our board and staff; or take a break to socialize with your neighbors.
Artist Sola Fiedler will have her Vancouver tapestry on view in the Amenity Space. Sola produced this work in her studio at Main Space over the past few years. This monumental work is truly spectacular and representative of the important work that happens regularly in our building.
Whether you’re an old friend of grunt or a new one, we want to celebrate this momentous time with you.
There is no need to RSVP. Come one, come all, and invite your friends.
We hope to see you on August 28th as we raise a glass to 30 years of supporting Vancouver’s artist communities!
Written by Anastasia Scherders
Valerie Salez’ installation project Play, Fall, Rest, Dance, exhibited at grunt from June 2 to July 5, 2014. Over the course of one month, the gallery space was continuously transformed. You could anticipate that, in visiting grunt, you’d witness Salez’ effort to facilitate art-making that was full of possibilities, and you’d get a glimpse of the experience of artistic exploration and uninhibited creativity of four children with disabilities: Amelie, Deshik, Henry and Isabelle.
Upon meeting Salez, the first thing she told me about Play was there are no rules. This is one of the philosophies that underscored the project; and with those words I was encouraged to let go of my own assumptions surrounding art and art making, and the limitations that we often impose upon creative expression and creator. With Play, she facilitated a kind of freedom in art making, providing the materials, tools, and guidance for children to create within a safe and accessible space.
Salez invited me to sit in on an art-making session with 12-year old Henry, who is autistic. The three of us sat cross-legged on the floor, surrounding a large piece of particleboard where pieces of chalk, charcoal, and a hammer and glue gun lay. Henry, who loves working with the hammer, had broken some of the chalk into fine powder. Valerie pushed the powder around with her fingers, smudging it onto grey cardboard while Henry carved small details into a piece of yellow chalk with a razor blade. “Like any good artist, he will try anything,” says Salez.
Scattered next to me was a collection of Henry’s drawings that he brought from home – highly detailed pencil-drawn characters crowded each page. Salez explained to me that Henry, whose bold and energetic painting dominated the gallery wall behind us, draws all the time. The white wall seems almost limitless compared to the confining boundaries of a piece of paper. Through Play, Henry has experimented with new forms of artistic expression.
Elisha Burrows, grunt’s Exhibition Manager who was video recording this session with Henry, asked Salez if the art world is pretentious. “It can be,” replied Salez. “It can be a world of criticizing and classifying; I don’t like to see my work in those ways. I want my work to be accessible.”
Play, Fall, Rest, Dance followed Salez’ residency at Open Space Gallery last summer where she worked with children for the first time. “Open Space invited me to do whatever I wanted. At that moment, I wanted to have fun and create art with children without intellectualizing or conceptualizing it,” said Salez. “Kids go to art galleries, see the work of adults, but aren’t allowed to touch anything. Now, they are the artists, able to touch everything.”
And no two sessions were alike. Some days they’d listen to music or spend most of their time talking. Some days they wouldn’t talk at all. Some days the kids got stuck. Salez felt the biggest challenge came from the children’s inhibitions, which she deeply empathizes with. Since childhood, Salez has suffered from severe, sometimes life-threatening, depression and is familiar with the debilitating feeling that comes from a lack of self-esteem and confidence. “It has really been a mirror for me. I am observing them and observing myself – my insecurities and fears, and theirs,” she says.
Throughout the process, Salez talked to the children about failure and would ask them what is the worst that can happen if we fail? “Kids need freedom, but it is hard for children to feel free. They are so worried about making mistakes, about doing right or wrong. They don’t feel comfortable making decisions. I want to empower them to make decisions, I want the kids to feel confident and brave, but I don’t want to influence them too much. It’s a fine balance.”
Salez emphasizes that Play is about her and the children spending time with materials in a space. She spent four sessions with Amelie, Deshik, Henry and Isabelle, allowing time to develop a rapport and build trust to support an experience of teaching and learning, exploration and discovery. Salez feels they came to understand one another through constant learning and negotiation. “I had all sorts of assumptions,” she says. “They’ve all been blown out of the water.”
When asked about curating the space and removing some of the children’s work over the course of the exhibition, Salez says it felt natural and intuitive. “That’s my playtime. The kids are okay when I erase their work. They will just make something else.”
Once the art making part of Henry’s session was over, we worked together to clean up the materials and sweep the floor. While I pushed around a broom, Henry transformed his straw broom into a ninja’s baton, stopping it firmly in midair, then spinning it in every direction. Henry spun around the room in circles, too. Witnessing Henry’s re-imagining of this object, it seemed that the most striking quality of Salez’ work is the way in which it has nurtured beautiful and ephemeral moments of uninhibited imagination, creativity and play.
“The kids are okay with doing something for the sake of doing it,” says Salez. “They are okay to walk away with nothing except the experience.” Unlike the end of a school day, the kids of Play do not take home an object they have crafted. Instead, they take home the most challenging and delightful experience of having worked to create something.
Anastasia Scherders, who moved to Vancouver in 2012 from Brantford, Ontario, began volunteering at grunt gallery in November 2013. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English and Theatre & Film from McMaster University.
[Published by VANDOCUMENT]
Words by Brit Bachmann + Edits by Christopher Millin + Photos by Alisha Weng
Last month Western Front, grunt gallery, Arts Factory, VIVO and C-Space were awarded acombined $4.5 million in the form of CACs, or Community Amenities Contributions. This money was part of $6 million donated to the City of Vancouver by Rize Alliance Properties in exchange for zoning permits for their development on the corner of Broadway and Kingsway.
The amenities contributions will help fund new programming and development for these established arts organizations in Mount Pleasant. The CAC has been met with mixed responses, however. While $4.5million is a substantial chunk of money to the average person, certain organizations argue that it is not enough money to kickstart a cultural revival against the gentrification that is occurring in the neighbourhood, especially with the inflating costs of living and operations.
VANDOCUMENT will be interviewing representatives from each arts organization awarded CAC to hear their individual perspectives on arts funding and urban development. We previously publishedan interview with Elia Kirby, and this week we talk to Glenn Alteen of grunt gallery.
Until the mid 90′s, Mount Pleasant was a low-income area of Vancouver. The affordability of live/work spaces attracted artist-runs operating on minimal funding. Organizations such as grunt gallery acted as drop-in centres for the neighbourhood. These galleries helped establish community identity by providing exhibition space to emerging and established artists alike.
CAC Party at grunt gallery July 10th, photographed by Alisha Weng
grunt gallery opened in 1984 in a storefront now occupied by The Whip on East 6th Ave. Back then, its programming focused on promoting local artists and ‘outsider art.’ grunt has expanded its reach since then. Its mandate is to provide artists with resources to further their practices, with an emphasis on community engagement. Glenn Alteen was one of the founding members of grunt. Since 1990, he has acted as Director.