This focused group exhibition is curated from existing and new work by artists from Victoria and Vancouver. Thematically, this is an exploration of the various ways fear permeates our society, from personal to cultural and even global concerns.
As an exhibition, Don’t Look Now offers multiple perspectives on the topic of fear, all through the lens of unique installations. Now with clarity stemming from 2020 and the overlapping calls to action for health care, social justice, and infrastructural reform, we can see how artists have observed and absorbed these conversations and it is now time to present them for consideration and open discussion.
“I wanted to discuss the different ways fear presents itself in our lives.” notes VAC Executive Director and the Curator of the Pat Martin Bates Gallery, Kegan McFadden.
The four artists in Don’t Look Now are local or with ties to the Island. Todd Lambeth will be expanding his painting practice to create site-specific murals at the Gallery, as part of a series he began during the Covid-19 lockdown… Taking the word ‘fear’ as a starting point. Whereas Wendy Welch is showing a suite of watercolour paintings that directly reference climate anxiety. On display is her series ‘A World Without Ice’ that uses the stark white sheets of watercolour paper as a stand-in for the ice flows which are increasingly disappearing. Her blue jagged lines of pigment delineate the cracking and crumbling of the ice as the ocean heats up. These two installations are met by an impressive one-to-one scale replica of an F150 truck made of paper by Brendan Lee Satish Tang. Tang grew up in Nanaimo in the 1980s and made this work reflecting on his time there as someone who didn’t quite fit in… the truck becomes a metaphor for xenophobia.
“When I curate group exhibits, I am interested first in how the works speak to one another, and then also how the conversation can be complicated to produce new ideas.” says McFadden.
The installation that turns away from fear and into celebration is provided by local artist Monster Boy, whose felted wool sculpture of a fantastical unicorn acts as “a celebration of the trans form in fantasy. It’s a love letter to all the trans elders who have come before, and paved the way for what we have today, and how important it is to protect it.” says the artist.
“As our neighbours to the south (and closer to home) continue to challenge trans* rights and freedoms of expression, it’s so important to be able to make space for trans* joy as a counter to the fear-mongering that pits community members against one another.” clarifies McFadden.