The Vision Machine exhibition at the Surrey Art Gallery is comprised of work by Emily Carr Alumni Marianne Nicolson (96) and Etienne Zack (00). The show will run from April 7 – June 10, 2012, with an opening reception on April 14, 2012 from 7:30-9:30pm. There is also a conversation with Marianne Nicolson and Etienne Zack on April 14, 2012 from 6:30-7:30pm.
In one room, the cast shadows of supernatural figures of the Pacific Northwest rise against an Athabascan landscape dominated by smoke stacks and shimmering tailings ponds. In another, a vast cityscape of vibrantly-hued architectural ruins appears as if under a giant electron microscope. The relationships between cultural history and scientific vision, economy and environment, immersive three dimensional space and the flatness of pictures are all central to the newest works by Victoria-based Kwakwaka’wakw artist Marianne Nicolson and LA-based Canadian artist Etienne Zack. Surrey Art Gallery’s exhibition Vision Machine premieres two of Zack’s largest painted canvasses to date, and the latest variation of Nicolson’s enveloping, etched glass shadow machines.
Open to the public as of April 7, 2012, Vision Machine will officially celebrate its commencement on April 14 with a talk by the artists at 6:30pm followed by an opening reception from 7:30pm to 9:30pm, and continues to June 10, 2012. Admission to this exhibition is by donation.
Vision Machine’s two acclaimed artists revel in the traditions of theatrical display and breaking down the picture frame’s boundaries by combining optical effects from the past and future. Nicolson describes her latest work as addressing “vision and perception, in particular, the differences in cultural perception regarding resource management, economy, and the massive resource extraction of oil from Canada’s tar-sands.” Zack explains that his new paintings are “a way to explore picture making to activate and pry open different pictorial, cultural, and historical forces in order to experience them yet again in idiosyncratic ways.” Both artists take the optical machinery of an earlier time (such as prisms and magic lanterns) and the outmoded electronic technologies of the recent past (like overhead projectors and videotape cassettes) back into the sensual worlds of painting and sculpture.
Comox born Marianne Nicolson (b.1969) is a member of the Dzawada’enuxw Tribe of the Kwakwaka’wakw Nation. Currently based in Victoria, Nicolson’s multimedia work has been featured in important group exhibitions including the 17th Biennale of Sydney Australia, and Borderzones at UBC’s Museum of Anthropology, both in 2010. Her solo exhibitions such as The Return of Abundance (Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, 2007), and The House of Ghosts (Vancouver Art Gallery, 2008) often engage language through innovative installations of projected light and reworked traditional cultural forms.
Born in Montreal in 1976, Etienne Zack has been based on the west coast for the past decade, partly in Vancouver and in Los Angeles. Zack has exhibited his art at many of Canada’s premiere contemporary art museums, including a solo exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Montreal in 2010. His paintings have been shown in numerous international galleries including venues in London, New York, Madrid, and Vienna. Zack was the 2005 winner of the RBC Painting Competition, and the 2008 City of Montreal’s Pierre-Ayot prize. His work will be featured in Oh Canada, the largest-to-date survey of contemporary Canadian art outside of Canada, presented later this spring at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art.
Surrey Art Gallery is located at 13750 – 88 Avenue, Surrey, BC, Canada. The gallery is open on Mondays and Fridays from 9am to 5pm, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9am to 9pm, Saturdays from 10am to 5pm, and Sundays from 12 to 5pm. The gallery is closed closed on all holidays.