Hold On features the works of three Vancouver artists exploring stasis, pauses and revolution as both literal and figurative motifs.
Kathy Slade’s film Tugboat (2007) pictures a tugboat “wrapping doughnuts” in Vancouver’s industrial harbour. The 16mm film loop is both playful and melancholic, as it is unclear whether this workhorse of BC’s resource and shipping economies is caught in playful abandon or if the boat is revolving in a momentary lapse of agency.
Reminicent of David Hockney’s 1967 painting A Bigger Splash, Steven Hubert’s photograph The Dive (2006) features the artist diving headfirst into a large swimming pool. Contrary to Hockney’s image, however, Hubert’s photograph depicts the moment just as his head touches the pool, with no evident disruption to the water’s surface. Rigid as a board and fully clothed, the artist’s body seems stuck there, propped at an uncomfortable angle. The unnatural circumstances of Hubert’s dive challenges an otherwise simple and anticipatory reading of the image, suggesting that time itself may be in question.
Aaron Carpenter presents Rerememberer (2008), a large fabric banner with REREMEMBER written in large coloured letters. Reminiscent of home-made banners used in public demonstrations, Carpenter’s work plays on the formal construction and etymological roots of the word remember, suggesting that ‘re’ as a prefix in the contemporary sense might be repeatable ad infinitum, that one might rereremember, and so on. As a banner, the word takes on a political importance, making imperative not only the remembrance of history, but also its continual re-examination.
UM, ER and UH (2008) are a series of drawings that continue Carpenter’s interest in language. The words are classic examples of speech disfluency, parts of speech generally thought to be without purpose, though occasionally used for dramatic tension or effect. Some linguistic experiments, however, have suggested that these utterances may facilitate language, as their removal from speech led to significant decreases in listener comprehension. Carpenter exalts these under-privileged words, rendering them in coloured pencil-crayon as a further means of democratisation and as a general reaction to the authoritarianism of much text-based art.
This exhibition is the second in a two-part collaborative series between the Or Gallery and Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, marking Or’s move to the Del Mar Inn, a space which has housed both the Contemporary Art Gallery and more recently, the Belkin Satellite. The exhibition’s title makes conscious reference to the building owner’s commitment to maintaining the building in spite of pressures from nearby developers to sell.