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the poetics of space

October 26, 2018 – January 06, 2019

Poetics of Space

Artist Multiple Artists

Curated by Daina Augaitis, Chief Curator Emerita and Emmy Lee Wall, Assistant Curator

Organized by Vancouver Art Gallery

Maxwell Bates, Rebecca Belmore, B.C. Binning, Lee Bontecou, Bertram Brooker, Karin Bubaš, Arabella Campbell, Emily Carr, Share Corsaut, Christos Dikeakos, Michael Drebert, Lawren Harris, Owen Kydd, Beatrice Lennie, Landon Mackenzie, Myfanwy MacLeod, Jason McLean, Alex Morrison, Ben Nicholson, James Nizam, Dennis A. Oppenheim, Annie Pootoogook, Pudlo Pudlat, Kyohei Sakaguchi, William Vazan

The Poetics of Space is a touring exhibition from the Vancouver Art Gallery that features historical and contemporary artworks that explore the idea of space from a wide range of perspectives. The exhibition’s title comes from Gaston Bachelard’s 1958 book of the same name that presents an experiential understanding of home and personal environments. In the book Bachelard discusses the way our perceptions of shelter influence the very essence of how we think and imagine. The exhibition is divided into three sections, and features works by twenty-five artists that together contemplate space – through optical perceptions, experiences of the domestic, and the experimental mapping of broader terrain.

The first section, “Fracturing of Form” grounds the exhibition historically, highlighting works from the early to mid 20th century that rethink and ‘fracture’ linear perspective as a tool to understand space on a two-dimensional plane. This section features works by celebrated Canadian painters Emily Carr and Lawren Harris, alongside pieces by outstanding, yet lesser known, artists like Beatrice Lennie and Maxwell Bates.

The following area, “Psychic Weight of the Domestic,” focuses on the intimacy of inhabited structures or other familiar locations to reveal how they are laden with emotional intensity and symbolic meaning. A third section, “Mapping of Space” features works in which artists have defined sites in non-traditional ways, mapping according to their own purposes, or acknowledging its layered socio-cultural histories. Ultimately, the exhibition reveals the expansive and subjective ways in which artists have grappled with depicting and defining space over time. The works included in The Poetics of Space are primarily drawn from the Vancouver Art Gallery’s permanent collection.

Speaking through shared experiences and understandings of the environments that surround us, The Poetics of Space is the fourth exhibition in a year in which Nanaimo Art Gallery asks the question: how can we speak differently? In Hul’q’umi’num, the language of the Snuneymuxw people: scekwul yuxw ‘alu kws nec’s tu sqwal ct

The Poetics of Space is organized and circulated by the Vancouver Art Gallery and curated by Daina Augaitis, Chief Curator Emerita and Emmy Lee Wall, Assistant Curator, Vancouver Art Gallery. This exhibition is part of the Across the Province touring program, which is generously supported by the Killy Foundation.



Nanaimo Art Gallery is situated in the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of Snuneymuxw First Nations, and we are grateful to operate on Snuneymuxw territory.