Canadian Art

See It

Tim Gardner/BGL: Hello, Again

Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver Apr 17 to Jun 7 2009
Tim Gardner <i>Untitled (The Blowhole, Blackcomb)</i> 2008 Courtesy 303 Gallery New York Tim Gardner Untitled (The Blowhole, Blackcomb) 2008 Courtesy 303 Gallery New York

Tim Gardner <i>Untitled (The Blowhole, Blackcomb)</i> 2008 Courtesy 303 Gallery New York

The Contemporary Art Gallery’s exhibition of Tim Gardner’s work in Vancouver is both a homecoming of sorts and an overdue introduction. In early 2007, news that Gardner was exhibiting at the National Gallery in London, England, came as a surprise to all but a few art world insiders. Who was this Canadian in the world’s pre-eminient painting museum? His under-the-radar trajectory illustrated a growing trend where homegrown art talent has learned to seek out opportunities abroad. He had gone from the University of Manitoba to graduate studies at Columbia University in New York, worked in Attila Richard Lukacs’ studio there, and then went on to representation by top commercial galleries in New York and London.

And what’s not to like? Gardner’s watercolour paintings idealize the natural beauty of mountain ranges and coastal scenes and carry a contemporary edge where snow-capped peaks are foregrounded by a pair of high-range skiers, or hikers move through a verdant interior wilderness, or a lone windsurfer gazes at an ocean horizon. There’s something infinite and intimate in the work, linking Gardner to the likes of both Eric Fischl and Caspar David Friedrich.

Paired with Gardner at the CAG are Jasmin Bilodeau, Sébastien Giguère and Nicholas Laverdière, better known as BGL, who cover the other end of the Canadian art spectrum. The Quebec City trio has been charming audiences across the country with a signature brand of politically astute and coyly absurdist installation art. In their new work at the CAG, marshmallow + cauldron + fire=, a rotating tree sculpture is balanced on one side by a branch of worm-eaten green plastic leaves and on the other by a hanging chainsaw. The precarious sustainability of resource-based economies and the natural environment links to Alexander Calder and modern pioneer romance. There is also a rendering of an open campfire, complete with a cauldron “roasting” over plastic flames. This supplies the answer to BGL’s title formula: marshmallow + cauldron + fire= what? Fun. (555 Nelson St, Vancouver, BC)

This article was first published online on April 23, 2009.


  • Through the Looking Glass

    The Quebec City trio BGL finds time to play

  • Shannon Oksanen: Soft Summerlanding

    In her new exhibition “Summerland,” Shannon Oksanen riffs on 1960s fluff and fun in the form of Elvis, water-skiing and Viva Las Vegas. It’s fun, but also funereal, revealing the dream life of a more innocent society as it fades into dimmer, dustier history.

  • Nuit Blanche: The Great White Trope

    In just its third year of operation, it’s clear that the Nuit Blanche festival’s “all-free, all-night contemporary art” theme is capable of launching a thousand artistic ships. Here’s a few choice picks amid the overwhelming number of projects slated to be on view.



[an error occurred while processing this directive]


  • Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller: Black Birds

    New York critic Joseph R. Wolin heads to the Park Avenue Armory where Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller are creating a buzz (and other sounds) at the US premiere of a dark, nightmarish installation originally created for the 2008 Biennale of Sydney.

  • Grange Prize 2012: Hot Shots

    One of Canada’s largest cash-value art prizes—$65,000 in total with $50,000 going to the winner, $5,000 to three runners-up—announced its finalists this week. Take in their wide-ranging works in this slideshow.

  • Wanda Koop: Into the Woods

    A visit to Wanda Koop’s cabin near Riding Mountain National Park in southern Manitoba proves intriguing for Vancouver critic Robin Laurence. There, Laurence writes, Koop bridges old Grey Owl myths with a new series of paintings on our increasingly digital culture.

  • Brad Tinmouth: Survival Strategies

    The basement of an art gallery may seem an unlikely place to create an emergency shelter. However, Xpace's lower gallery is an ideal setting for Brad Tinmouth's “If Times Get Tough or Even If They Don't,” which evokes a cold-war bunker.

  • Wim Delvoye: Blame it on Paris

    Silk-covered pigs, lattice-cut car tires and a tattooed man are just a few of the works that Belgian artist Wim Delvoye has shuttled into the old, Gothic wing of the Louvre this summer. Jill Glessing reviews, finding a terrific amalgam of high and low.

More Online

Report a problem