Diverse Voices from Vancouver, BC


July 19 - September 1, 2018

Panel Discussion: July 19, 5pm
Opening Reception: July 19, 6 - 8pm
First Thursday Reception: August 2, 6 - 8pm

In July, Elizabeth Leach Gallery presents Diverse Voices, an exhibition of work by seven mid-career artists from Vancouver, British Columbia. On July 19th the gallery will host a panel discussion (5 pm) followed by an opening reception (6 - 8 pm).

The artists included in Diverse Voices have process-oriented, intensive practices that infuse elements of technical experimentation. Each artist’s work demonstrates a unique resonance with materiality, whether experimenting with the physicality of paint or clay or conceptualizing about how to create light forms as three-dimensional objects in space.

Diyan Achjadi, Brendan Tang, and Howie Tsui combine ancient and contemporary aesthetics in their ceramics, prints, and drawings, and mix historical influences with aspects of popular culture to address themes of cultural hybridity. Jeremy Hof, Angela Teng, and Mark De Long experiment with the physical properties of materials, subverting expectations of how these materials are traditionally seen. James Nizam studies the material and spatial qualities of light, rendering it into sculptural geometric forms.

Diyan Achjadi utilizes historical prints and surface ornamentation as springboards for creating narratives of cross-cultural imaginings, influences and contaminations, retranslating and reinterpreting them through drawing, printmaking and animation. In Sinking and Dip, two large works on paper, the artist combines images from Albrecht Dürer prints, ceramic and wallpaper patterns, Islamic design, and other sources, and transforms them into colorfully expressive compositions. The work reflects Achjadi’s concerns about environmental fragility, particularly that of Indonesia, where she was born. 

Brendan Tang’s ceramic sculptures unite Asian and Western culture idioms and references.  In his on-going Manga Ormolu series, Tang appropriates traditional palettes, landscapes and floral patterns of Chinese Ming dynasty ceramics, adding what he calls “techno-pop” robotic elements inspired by a multitude of popular culture influences, including Japanese animation, graphic novels, toys, science fiction, and video games.

Howie Tsui has long been involved with Asian folklore, myths and ghost stories combined with pop culture and their relevance to contemporary times. He produces work in a variety of media, including drawings, paintings, sculptures, installations, videos and animations. His new Mech series of ink paintings and digital collages fuses diecast robot fragments into the form of scholars’ rocks, exploring the shifting nature of identity and re-examining the objects through the lens of canonized cultural objects. 

Jeremy Hof forms his paintings on paper, canvas, and sculptural objects over an extended period of time, building up multiple layers of acrylic paint, and then sanding the surface to reveal their method of construction. Hof favors bright colors and geometric forms, and in a new series of painted rocks, Hof casts the paint in a mold created from remnants of soapstone and alabaster, achieving three-dimensional sculptures composed entirely of paint. 

Angela Teng has developed a technique of crocheting with paint. Her abstract paintings combine elements of painting and craft and reflect her abiding interest in geometric abstraction and op art. She works on the crocheted paintings on her lap so that they resemble soft sculptures that play with the contrast between softness and rigidity. Once mounted on the wall they “behave like a painting again.” Teng also experiments with flocking material, applying it to painted surfaces to achieve images with subtle gradations of color and texture. 

Mark De Long is a self-taught artist working in a range of media including collage, sculpture, drawing, painting, and sequential art. His cardboard and paper collages, made from discarded materials, are stitched together with cotton embroidery thread to form vibrant patterned wall pieces and three-dimensional boxes. De Long created the works in this exhibition from cardboard produce boxes secured from the Chinatown neighborhood where he lives, using the text and stamps found on the boxes as design elements in his patterning. 

James Nizam’s conceptual photographic practice is labor intensive and time-based, requiring extensive research, experimentation, and planning. Combining his interest in constructed environments with the study of the physical qualities of light, Nizam cuts holes in the walls of empty rooms to record the movement of the sun over time, taking multiple exposures to create geometric forms in the space. In his recent Starlight Drawings series, Nizam spends hours photographing the night sky in complete darkness, capturing starlight on film as patterns of light and color, enabling the viewer a glimpse of the seemingly imperceptible. 

Curator Bio

Rachel Rosenfield Lafo is an independent curator and writer based in Portland, who previously was Director of the Richmond Art Gallery, Richmond, BC; Director of Curatorial Affairs at the DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park, Lincoln, MA, and Associate Curator at the Portland Art Museum, Oregon. She has organized numerous exhibitions of contemporary art, authored catalogues, essays, reviews and articles, has served as a juror, visiting critic, panelist and lecturer, taught curatorial studies and museum administration. Her most recent writing project is an interview with Portland artist Malia Jensen for Sculpture magazine.