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New Two Rivers Gallery exhibition focuses on humour and identity

Two Rivers Gallery is presenting a new exhibition, which features photographs, installations, and video art created by five prominent Canadian artists.

For over a year, Two Rivers Gallery’s curatorial team has been looking at artists who use humour in their works, in particular, those who explore the role of humour in illuminating the complexity and twist and turns of identity in Canadian society.

The artists in this show employ humour to explore perspectives on identity, drawing inspiration from the gaps between social conventions and preconceived ideas. Through their works, the artists invite us to contribute to the negotiation of identity and self-presentation within a diverse pluralist society. These artists delve into the experience of being an immigrant to Canada, challenge the audience’s viewing experience, contemplate memories, and address the social, historical, and narrative foundations of the nation and the terms of inclusion.

Wei Li’s Household Items 1 & 2, replace parts of ordinary objects with the human body/skin. She writes, “I create grotesque anthropomorphic hybrid containers which trigger the viewer’s visceral and emotional responses. The gestures in my works are symbolic and metaphoric. I use the body/skin as material to activate social commentary on identity, diaspora, femininity, motherhood, and popular culture.”

The exhibition features two of Ken Lum’s works, Melly Shum Hates Her Job (1989) and Alex Gonzalez Loves His Mother and Father (1989) that have been borrowed from The Vancouver Art Gallery. Both photos are selected from Lum’s “photo-text” works, through which the artist reflect on issues of class, gender, and race.

Brendan Lee Satish Tang’s installation Reluctant Offerings reflects on childhood memories, poking fun at toxic masculinity. Tang anchors the installation around a life-sized paper replica of a Ford F-150 from 1984, the year he and his family relocated from Ireland to Nanaimo.

Chosen from her Group of Seven Awkward Moments series, we are exhibiting five photographs by Diana Thorneycroft: Algonquin Park, Mirror Lake, Winter on the Don, Early Snow and West Wind. Thorneycroft builds vignettes using backdrops of work by Group of Seven artists that feature Canadian icons in difficult moments. Darkly humourous, she uses these images to explore aspects of Canadian identity.

Four works by Jin-me Yoon are also exhibited here. A set of six postcards comprising the Souvenirs of the Self series (1991) addresses issues of stereotype and representation as Yoon poses as a tourist at sites around Banff. Three photographs from a recent body of work titled Long Time So Long (2022) present characters adorned with costumes and masks inspired by Korean theatrical traditions. Set against backdrops of disrupted land, these characters, reflecting conflicting expressions, seem to question where they are and what is happening in the world around them.

Artist Discussion & Opening Reception

Please join everyone at Two Rivers Gallery for an artist talk and opening reception on Thursday, February 1, at
7:30 p.m. Featured artist Brendan Lee Satish Tang will be in attendance to discuss his work in the exhibition as well as his artistic practice. This event is free and open to the public.

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