On Saturday afternoon I stopped at the Vancouver Art Gallery to pick up my freshly printed membership card. I was short on time but I flew through the new exhibition Unreal. As it merits more time that I gave it, I will return for a leisurely viewing but to peak your interests here is an excerpt from the press release and some works that jumped out at me.

Gathie Falk, “Dress with insect box” 1998, Paper-machet, acrylic varnish

This exhibition presents works by artists who explore beyond the realm of what is considered real … They aim to unhinge us from our typical views of the world and open our eyes to the marvellous, the fantastical, the weird and even the monstrous.

Daina Augaitis, Curator

Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun “Shaman Dancing in Sunset” 1987

Since the origins of Surrealism in the 1920s, the tension between the recognizable and the unfamiliar has inspired and informed artistic practices. Unreal, drawn primarily from the Gallery’s permanent collection and augmented with local loans, considers contemporary artists’ explorations beyond the rational and looks at the ways in which they delve into ideas around desire, fantasy, anxiety and the absurd.

Vancouver Art Gallery

Angela Grossmann, from MINIATURE WORKS, 2002-2010, 4 x 6 inches each

As with surrealist art, the work in Unreal looks as if it emerged from the artists’ unconscious minds, challenging the rational and the controlled, tapping into the uninhibitedly imaginative.

Robin Laurence

Angela Grossmann, Older Younger, 2003, 6 x 4 inches

It isn’t even on their website yet but this summer the VAG will host an exhibit of major surrealist works. While the international names are not included in Unreal it is interesting to see how elements of surrealism make their way into contemporary Canadian artists works. I would not have thought of Angela Grossmann’s work as surreal but they definitely fit within the exhibit.

Note: a little disclaimer, I work with some of the artists included in Unreal, studied under another and a few other’s I know for various reasons. Even if I didn’t personally know any of these artists I would still think it is a show well worth seeing, so go see it!

Unreal artists on the web

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