During June and July, South Main Gallery will engage Vancouverites with shows of current shakers in the local contemporary art world. On its third annual edition, Summer Seven at SoMa is more of an arts festival than an exhibition. The gallery will welcome cutting-edge creators from Vancouver and present their work in two-week shows throughout the Summer.
Uncannyland | Julia Cundari, Jackie Dives, Ivana Sepa, and David Vegt
May 31 – June 14, 2019
Opening Reception: Friday, May 31, 6 to 9 pm
Explored initially psychologically by Ernst Jentsch in a 1906 article, and made widely known by Sigmund Freud in his 1919 essay called Das Unheimliche, the concept of the uncanny can be defined as "the strangeness in the ordinary." Jacques Lacan expanded it, writing that the uncanny "places us in the field where we do not know how to distinguish bad and good, pleasure from displeasure," resulting in irreducible anxiety that gestures to the real.
In Uncannyland, four artists work within the boundaries of the uncanny through completely distinct styles and mediums. Julia Cundari's works explore the performativities of space concerning the 'unknown.' With darkly rendered abstract paintings, Cundari contemplates moments of stillness within our current ecological climate and state of urban redevelopment. Shadowed gardenscapes, depicted as eerie nighttime environments, puts the viewer in a new, unfamiliar space, questioning what is portrayed, and how it makes one feel.
Parallel, Ivana Sepa examines the same relationship between the human and natural world, employing a completely distinct visual narrative: in her paintings, the human figure is distinguishable, though always trying to merge with its surroundings, escaping our gaze. What holds the tension in these works are the dualities they evoke: calm and fear; hide and seek; peacefulness and restlessness. One is left in the limbo – not sure how to distinguish pleasure from displeasure. Moreover, this feeling is also carried through David Vegt's paintings.
In Vegt's works, the human figure is front and center, and unapologetically realistic. In a tribute to the history of painting and an ode to old masters, Vegt appropriates from still-shots from a fast-paced contemporary music video to force the viewer into stopping and looking. In an era of fast consumption media, his paintings are impossible to dismiss easily. The devilish surroundings speak directly to a generation born into the world of house-parties, but that is most likely oblivious to the artistic visual references (Rembrandt, Repin, and Caravaggio). Vegt's navigates the limits of the familiar and unfamiliar, where a drunken girl embraces a goat; and a partygoer dubbed as Joan D'Arc.
Finally, Jackie Dives' photographs come as a synthesis, with minimalist and surrealist juxtapositions of rotting vegetables with everyday objects, merging the natural, the human, and the psychological struggle. In her work, the artist revives the idea of the Memento Mori – a Latin expression loosely translated as 'remember that you will die.' Her sculpturesque images are abstract autobiographical still lifes that contemplate aging and death, elevating mundane objects to treasured keepsakes, serving us the 'strangeness in the ordinary,' one uncanny image after another.
June 15 – June 28, 2019
Matthis Grunsky is an artist from Halifax, NS, currently living in Vancouver, BC. In 2013 he received a BFA from NSCAD University and earned an MFA from Emily Carr University in 2016. Matthis’ work revolves around ideas of composition, colour, framing and the aesthetic potential of the everyday. Developing from a background in painting, his work has expanded to include a variety of materials and techniques including plaster casting and computer programming. In the past year Matthis has exhibited at the Ministry for Casual Living in Victoria, BC, and siteFactory in Vancouver, BC. He also has attended the Arteles Center for Creativity in Haukijärvi, Finland, and recently was artist in residence at the Bonnie McComb Kreye Studio Residency in Victoria, BC.
June 29 – July 12, 2019
Andrea Soos is well known for her playful abstractions that combine creative mark making, patterning, and gestural application of colour. Working with a fresh modern palette, Soos’ paintings allow the viewer to freely journey around the canvas, enjoying the twists and turns of her engaging compositions. Soos works intuitively across each canvas, creating unexpected and tactful brushstrokes in her process-driven practice. Although she may not know the outcome of the piece when she begins, the artwork evolves as a visceral and therapeutic practice, driven by music and song lyrics. Viewers of Soos’ work connect with the many visual entry-points and feel at liberty to apply their own experiences and history to the marks on the canvas. Soos lives and works in Victoria, British Columbia, where she also trained for her BFA.
July 13 – July 26, 2019
Zoe Cire is native to Alberta, born and raised in a small prairie town called Ponoka. Currently residing in Vancouver, British Columbia, Cire has graduated from Emily Carr where she obtained her Bachelor's in Visual Arts and Minor in Curatorial Studies. Cire is an amalgamation of cultures including Cree and Metis on her maternal side and Czech and Hungarian through her paternal lineage. Cire identifies as Metis and her identity as a Metis woman in contemporary society is a dominating aspect in her work. Primarily a painter with interdisciplinary crossover, Cire’s works celebrates history, one made recognizable by her kin and reminiscent of what she knows colloquially as the “bush”.