Leanne M. Christie, Sara Graham and Devon Knowles
November 14, 2020 – January 31, 2021
Have you lately found yourself walking along the same routes in your neighbourhood time and time again? These familiar spaces, already well trodden, have become sites for repeated investigation under the restraints of the global pandemic. You might have started looking a little closer, noticing previously unseen details, documenting your surroundings with a fervour formerly reserved for exploring new places encountered on holiday. This practice of walking, of slow looking, of being in relation to your surroundings is a practice as old as humankind, and for many artists this way of “being in the world” is central to creative practice. This is true of Leanne M. Christie, Sara Graham and Devon Knowles, whose art explores a common interest in (to borrow Christie’s concept) conversing with the urban environment. Author Rebecca Solnit describes how “walking is a mode of making the world as well as being in it,” and the same can be said of art.
The exhibition Wayfinding brings together recent work by these three local artists, who live and create art in response to their cities—Coquitlam, Port Moody and Vancouver—and the urban architecture that makes up these spaces and others like them. Through mediums such as oil painting, photography, experimental stained glass and casting, Christie, Graham and Knowles consider the language and materials of city building. They look closely at the city—its architecture, infrastructure and detritus—refashioning their discoveries through colour, patterns, shapes and expressive renderings. Each pushing toward abstraction, they respond to their rapidly developing surroundings and the speculative possibilities of the built environment. These artists’ individual ways of being in the world are communicated through their art, which at the same times feeds back into the world as it is shaped by humans.
About the Artists | Leanne M. Christie
Leanne M. Christie paints in conversation with the cities that surround her, from her studio in Vancouver’s Chinatown to her home in Coquitlam. As she moves between these urban environments, whether by walking, cycling or transit, she finds inspiration for her oil paintings in the transitory moments of everyday life. Originally from South Africa, Christie has lived on the West Coast of Canada for over a decade. Her artwork has been exhibited locally at Vancouver’s Eastside Cultural Crawl and Art Rental & Sales at the Vancouver Art Gallery, and her work is represented by Van Dop Art Gallery, New Westminster, and Pousette Gallery, online.
About the Artists | Sara Graham
Sara Graham is primarily concerned with the issues and ideas of the contemporary city. Mapping has long been a central tenet of her artistic practice. Using a cross-disciplinary approach, she creates diagrammatic drawings, sculptural models and photographs that describe and represent urban networks, traversing that liminal space between the real and the imagined. Graham’s works have been exhibited widely across Canada, including at Kenderdine Art Gallery, Saskatoon; Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto; Dalhousie Art Gallery, Halifax; and the Rooms Provincial Art Gallery, St. John’s. Currently based in Port Moody, she is the city’s inaugural Artist in Residence in 2019-2020.
About the Artists | Devon Knowles
Devon Knowles investigates the histories, economies and social meanings of diverse materials, from denim fabric and aluminum to coloured glass and concrete. Through sculpture, drawing and site-specific and public art projects, her material–centred practice considers the production methods of both materials and objects and how together they influence and form the language that surrounds them. Knowles’s work has been exhibited internationally in Berlin, Los Angeles and New Mexico and locally at such galleries as the Vancouver Art Gallery, SFU Galleries, Or Gallery and the Western Front. She was awarded the 2015 City of Vancouver Mayor’s Arts Award as an Emerging Artist in Public Art. Knowles lives and works in Vancouver where she is faculty at Langara College, snəw̓eyəɬ leləm̓ and is represented by Equinox Gallery, Vancouver BC.