During the months of July and August, South Main Gallery will fill an age-old summer void and engage Vancouverites with a host of current shakers in the contemporary art world. Summer Seven at SoMa, more of an arts festival than an exhibition, will welcome cutting edge creators from Vancouver, Salt Spring, Portland, Bellingham, São Paulo and Los Angeles, and present their work in seven-day solo shows throughout the summer. Yes, you heard right: every week a new solo exhibit. This insolence decries the complacent attitude held by the gallery status quo.
“It’s always seemed odd to me that galleries resign themselves to uninspired and uninspiring group shows in the summer. We want to challenge that way of thinking,” says gallerist Don MacMillan, owner of SoMa Gallery
The festival will open with the works of Bellingham-based artist Jennifer Gauthier (July 7 – July 13). Raised in Maple Valley WA, Jennifer often reflects on her hometown for inspiration for her mixed media, idyllic paintings. Next, Charlie Edmiston (July 14 – July 20), born and raised in Los Angeles, who began his career as a graffiti artist, will present a site-specific mural, alongside his ‘material exploration’ paintings. West Coast artist Zandra Stratford (July 21 – July 27) will showcase works that employ her ‘subconscious semiotic’: muted tones punctuated by semi-symbols, almost recognizable repeating characters as though conveying a disrupted signal, or dream-remembered language.
Tristesse Seeliger & David Crompton (July 28 – August 10) will have the only two-person show of the festival. Tristesse Seeliger works with mixed media, using painting and collage. Since 2014, she’s working on a body of work focused on geometry, territories, perception, and cartography. Using the principles in the mathematics of tiling and patterning, she disassembles and then reassembles maps that concentrate on the shapes, textures, and color to recreate new territories. David Crompton, Tristesse’s husband, is a visual artist, designer, and photographer born and raised in Vancouver BC. Since graduating from Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design in 1999, his work has been screened and exhibited internationally at galleries, festivals, and on media channels including SXSW (Austin); Transmediale (Berlin); the European Media Art Festival (Osnabru?ck) and CBC Radio 3 amongst others.
Saci Pedro (August 11 – August 17) is a Brazilian artist who has a series based on the experimentation and connections of different materials that can be found in the urban landscape. He will bring Vancouver his Nike's Land series: works in diverse mediums, which explore the iconic Swoosh symbol of the brand, often revisited by the artist.
Finally, the last show (that will be up during the Closing Reception) will be by Portland-based artist Jeanne Fries (August 18 – August 25). Fries’ work is concerned with the physical and non-physical expression of power dynamics in contemporary society. Her recent work uses interactive technology: the viewer triggers a circuit when getting or receiving a text or phone call when they are within 1.5 meters of the piece, causing a series of LED lights to turn on, thus completing the work. During the closing reception, visitors will be encouraged to interact with her pieces.
These are all thought-provoking exhibits and a welcome relief from Vancouver’s propensity for listless summer shows. They are not to be missed.