Blank canvas for students

Patrons of the Anne Leonowens gallery on Granville Street take
in Maggie Xie’s exhibition BRANDA. (Photos: Gabby Peyton)

Gallery hosts new artists, new work every week

The smell of latex in Gallery 3 is palpable when walking into Maggie Xie’s exhibition BRANDA at the Anna Leonowens gallery.

Hundreds of inflated latex gloves line one wall.

The opening reception for six NSCAD University students was held Monday evening.

Maggie Xie, Tamara Deedman, Claudia Legg, Erin Christensen, Shelbey Dodds and Violeta Izquierdo introduced their work to the packed Granville Street gallery.

BRANDA explores the nature of capitalism, the sterile nature of society and how social media promotes “people branding.”

Xie’s exhibition BRANDA consists of hundreds of latex gloves and explores the nature of capitalism.
Xie’s exhibition BRANDA consists of hundreds of latex gloves and explores the nature of capitalism.

“Globalization has made every city similar, ” said Xie.

For her, the gloves initiate conversation about “how sterile work places are,” and how people are scared to show anything personal.

Just how many gloves are on the wall?

“500, 600, 800, you have to stop counting after awhile,” she said.

The walls at Anna Leonowens are rarely bare.

Every Monday evening the gallery holds an opening reception for exhibitors featured that week.

From graduate and undergraduate exhibitors to visiting artists in the summer, the gallery is a blank canvas for more than 120 exhibitions a year.

“We are the only gallery — that I know of — in North America that does this,” says Kate Walchuk, exhibitions coordinator at Anna Leonowens, talking about the large number of exhibitions.

The turnover for exhibitions is fast.

When the gallery closes 4 p.m. on Saturday, artists immediately dismantle their work.

Walchuk says they enforce the “campsite rule” at the gallery meaning artists must leave the space just as they found it.

The walls must be repainted, showing no signs of the previous artist, by 10 a.m. Sunday.

New artists have 24 hours to put their shows together before the opening reception on Monday.

“There’s weirdly more pressure, but it makes people take risks,” says Walchuk.

“You make it happen.”

Deedman’s A Thousand Miles in the Other Direction in Gallery 2B explores the artist’s confrontation with her past and present life with photographs and a collection of children’s dresses.

Patrons paused frequently to watch the projected images of a hand composing text with a sharpie in time-lapse.

Without taking special care to examine Claudia Legg’s exhibition Queer Gestures, it would be easy to miss the message in Gallery 2A.

The large pieces of red acrylic have faintly printed text behind them, only visible at certain angles.

“How to disappear,” is the first line behind Camouflage.

The “instructions” that follow include how to hide identifying features like a pride T-shirt and faux-hawk.

A piece from the jewelry exhibition glimpse:home. Violeta Izquierdo’s piece Usaquen is made from sterling silver and resin.
A piece from the jewelry exhibition glimpse:home. Violeta Izquierdo’s piece Usaquen is made from sterling silver and resin.

Gallery 1 features the jewelry of three artists Erin Christensen, Shelbey Dodds and Violeta Izquierdo in their exhibition glimpse:home.

Their inspiration is ubiquitous; for Izquierdo it’s her birthplace Columbia.

For Christensen, it’s an alpine meadow, while Dodds explores the relationship between body and ornament.

Next week’s opening reception  will feature the works of Quincy Brimstein, Laura Grier, Rose Erin Durnan, Greta Pepper, Pauline Stryker and Lex Habrich.

It will be held Tuesday, Feb. 17 at 5:30 p.m..

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *