Presentation House Gallery
The Polygon Gallery
333 Chesterfield Avenue
North Vancouver, BC V7M 3G9

Diane Arbus

Bishop in her Bedroom, 1968
Silver gelatin print
Edition 2/75, printed by Neil Selkirk
35.6 x 36.2 cm
Estimate: $15,000

Stamped “A Diane Arbus photograph”, signed, titled, dated, and numbered by Doon Arbus, Executor.

Diane Arbus’ portraits provide a compelling, though often unsettling, cultural anthropology of mid-century America. Honest and stark, her images of fringe groups and social outcasts were often captured over the course of personal relationships the artist forged with her subjects.

Bishop in her Bedroom (1968) is a unique interstice in Arbus’ work, where her studied portraiture blends with photojournalism. Arbus published a number of photo-essays in magazines such as Esquire and Harper’s Bazaar, penning articles as frank and captivating as the images they accompanied. Bishop in her Bedroom was to be included in her unpublished The Bishop’s Charisma, which followed Bishop Ethel Predonzan, a ‘spiritual advisor to Hollywood stars”.

This rare gelatin silver print shows Predonzan in her flamboyant boudoir in Santa Barbara, California. Daubed in sunlight, the bishop’s eyes are turned upward, her hands twisting out of prayer in the midst of revelation; yet, the Styrofoam crucifix at her side infuses her communion with tongue-in-cheek absurdity. Arbus’ eye is at once sympathetic and discerning, revelling in her subject’s mystique while questioning the inherent kitsch of this self-described head of the Cathedral of the Creator, Omnipresence Inc.

Diane Arbus (1923-1971) remains one of the most renowned photographers of the twentieth century. After leaving a career in commercial photography in 1956, Arbus turned her camera lens onto unconventional subjects: circus performers, eccentrics, nudists and transvestites, as well as mundane middle-class families. Her intimate portraits of society’s outsiders garnered widespread acclaim since their exhibition in the Museum of Modern Art’s 1967 exhibition New Documents, alongside images by Garry Winogrand and Lee Friedlander. Arbus’ repertoire has been the subject of numerous exhibitions and books, including a recent survey exhibition and catalogue, Diane Arbus: In the Beginning, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (2016); and a major retrospective that toured Jeu de Paume, Paris; Fotomuseum, Winterthur; Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin and Foam Fotografiemuseum, Amsterdam (2011-2013). Arbus’ groundbreaking photographs are housed in major public and private collections internationally.

 

  • Diane Arbus

Matilda Aslizadeh

Trophy, 2014
Lightjet print mounted on dibond
Edition 2/6
30.5 x 182.9 cm
Courtesy the artist and Pari Nadimi Gallery, Toronto
Estimate: $8,500

Vancouver artist Matilda Aslizadeh investigates image making as both a visual practice and social force, drawing on sources ranging from art history to government archives to YouTube footage. Trophy – an ornate digital collage compiled from found jpegs – marks an encounter between art and archaeology. Ambitiously self-reflexive, this visual anthology of human civilisation references a long history of image-worship that persists in the present day. Indeed, Trophy’s lack of depth and perspective is a dense, image-saturated barricade, a fabulation of our digital and globalised society as a cult of spectacle.

This panoramic work shows a vivid parade of syncretic idols. On close inspection, however, the lavish figures – variously decked in gemstones, sequins and festive light bulbs – reveal a critique of excess and waste. These effigies are not enshrined; they are kitsch, strewn about with equal decadence and dereliction. Named for the tropaion, an ancient Greco-Roman practice of erecting a makeshift monument from fallen enemies’ weapons, Trophy cuts-and-pastes the divinities into Surrealist “exquisite corpses”, forcefully depriving them of their original associations.

Trophy was first shown as a digital projection installation across floor-to-ceiling screens. For this iteration, Aslizadeh maintains the richly allegorical quality of the work in the format of a panoramic landscape.

Multidisciplinary artist Matilda Aslizadeh (b. 1975, Isfahan, Iran) holds an MFA from the University of California, San Diego. Recent solo exhibitions include Resort (2016) at Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery, Kitchener, ON; Trophy (2015) at Pari Nadimi Gallery, Toronto, ON; and Phantom Smile (2011) at SFU Gallery, Burnaby, BC. Her video Hero of Our Time (2009) was included in the touring exhibition Diabolique (2009-2010). Other group shows include Edge State (2014) at SKOL Centre des Arts Actuels, Montréal, QC; waiting for (2012) at Centre A, Vancouver, BC; and The Stalking of Absence (2010) at Tokyo Gallery + BTAP, Tokyo, Japan. Last year, Aslizadeh’s video In a dark wood… was featured at the Ontario Science Centre.

 

  • Matlida Aslizadeh

Fiona Banner

Dear Contributor, 2012
Graphite and Letraset on paper
Unique
100 x 70 cm
Courtesy the artist and 1301PE, Los Angeles
Estimate: $12,000

In 2012, acclaimed British artist Fiona Banner devised a performance event called The Exquisite Corpse will Drink The Young Wine at the Welsh Congregational Chapel in London, which focused on the Peanuts cartoon beagle Snoopy and his nemesis, First World War ace of aces The Red Baron. Famed for her wordscapes and other text-based art, Banner subsequently began a series of works exploring Snoopy as a “meme” in popular culture, including producing sheet music for the 1966 hit song “Snoopy Vs. The Red Baron” by Florida rock band The Royal Guardsmen, hitherto unpublished due to legal disputes with Snoopy’s creator Charles M. Schulz.

Dear Contributor is drawn from the script for Snoopy: The Musical (1975): specifically, the rejection of Snoopy’s manuscript – beginning with the cliché par excellence “It was a dark and stormy night” – by the fictional magazine Playbeagle. The editors’ acerbic words, stamped out by Banner in Letraset on graphite, play with Snoopy’s characterisation as a dreamer, philosopher and aspiring novelist. At once humorous and cruel, Dear Contributor posits Snoopy as the quintessential artist, his boundless imagination unbridled by self-recognition, ever aspiring to an imagined audience.

Fiona Banner (b. 1966, Merseyside, UK) is among the most distinguished artists of her generation. A member of the famous Young British Artists, she graduated from Goldmiths College, London with her MA in 1993, and was shortlisted for the Turner Prize in 2002. Banner has been widely exhibited across the globe, with works in major public collections throughout North America and Europe.

Presentation House Gallery is pleased to announce our new publication, Font Book (2016) by Fiona Banner, published by Bywater Bros. Editions. The book is launching at the New York Art Book Fair, and at Presentation House Gallery’s September Issue No/4 as a take-home gift.

 

  • Fiona Banner

Raymond Boisjoly

The Writing Lesson: Seattle, 2012
Vinyl text, construction paper, acrylic glass
Edition 1/3
50.8 x 61 cm.
Courtesy the artist and Catriona Jeffries Gallery, Vancouver
Estimate: $5,000

 

In The Writing Lesson series, Vancouver artist Raymond Boisjoly makes pictograms of Indigenous place names in the Pacific Northwest using typography adapted from the logo styles of Scandinavian black-metal bands. Boisjoly appropriates the heavily stylised script, drawing parallels between the spirituality and identities of pre-Christian Nordic cultures and that of North American Indigenous people to reaffirm, as with black-metal music, pre-colonial experience.

The title refers to an anecdote of ethnologist Claude Lévi-Strauss, who documented a Nambikwara chieftain’s attempt to bolster his influence by feigning Western literacy. Text is visually distorted into a poignant emblem reminiscent of a Rorschach pattern, revealing the limitations of writing to discuss histories that have been suppressed or erased. This work reflects Boisjoly’s deliberate use of materials and concern with the production of cultural knowledge through language.

Raymond Boisjoly (b. 1981, Langley, BC) is an Indigenous artist of Haida and Québécois descent from Chilliwack. After graduating from Emily Carr University of Art and Design, he earned an MFA from the University of British Columbia (2008). He won the prestigious VIVA Award in 2016. Boisjoly has exhibited widely across North America and has been featured in important exhibitions such as Unsettled Landscapes SITELines, Santa Fe (2014) and the touring exhibition Beat Nation (2012-2014). Upcoming exhibitions this year include a solo show at Catriona Jeffries Gallery, Vancouver; La Biennale de Montreal, and a group show at the Vancouver Art Gallery. His writing has been published in several art magazines and his artwork has been the subject of many critical essays. Boisjoly is curating Screens and Thresholds, a group exhibition opening at Presentation House Gallery next month. He is an assistant professor at Emily Carr University of Art and Design, and is represented by Catriona Jeffries Gallery, Vancouver.

 

  • Raymond Boisjoly

Share Corsaut

No. 15, 1981
Polaroid print
Unique
57.2 x 47.7 cm.
Courtesy the artist
Estimate: $3,500

Share Corsaut began her career as a painter, but the vibrant hues and brisk, gestural strokes in No. 15 derive from a different medium: light. An underrecognised innovator in camera-less photography, Corsaut gained access to the large-format Polaroid studios at MIT in 1981, then the only such facility in North America. Here, she pushed the boundaries of darkroom processes, producing a breathtaking series of unique Polaroid photograms. This was a fruitful time for experimentation in Canadian art; Corsaut’s works first garnered praise in a solo show in 1981 at the Southern Alberta Art Gallery, Lethbridge and then in Vancouver: Art and Artists 1931-1983 (1983) at the Vancouver Art Gallery.

Titled in the blunt, numerical style of a late Rothko painting, No.15 flirts with high modernism: the sensuous blurs evoke abstract movement. Modernists often espoused “the autonomy of the artwork”; likewise, Corsaut’s Polaroid film seems to capture a raw, passing encounter between ambiguous forms – interplays of crimson and azure, free from intent or intervention. Nevertheless, the artist’s technique is discernable, deftly moulding trajectories of light into crisp, geometric transections reminiscent of Russian constructivism.

Share Corsaut (b. 1947, Detroit, MI) approaches questions of naturalism and photographic technology through camera-less photography. A daring, and until recently relatively unknown pioneer of experimental photography, Corsaut graduated from the Vancouver School of Art in the 1970s. Influenced by the avant-garde photography of Man Ray and László Moholy-Nagy, she began producing black and white photograms in the late 1970s. She showed locally at the Charles H. Scott Gallery, Surrey Art Gallery and Coburg Gallery in the 1980s. Her work was recently featured in the Presentation House Gallery exhibition C.1983 in 2012 and was included in Past Picture: Photography and the Chemistry of Intention, an exhibition featuring works from the National Gallery of Canada Collection at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Toronto last year.

 

  • Share Corsaut

Stan Douglas

False Creek Flats, 2002
Lightjet print
Edition 184/200 + 10 APs
35.6 x 91.4 cm.
Courtesy Bill Wu
Estimate: $4,000

This photograph of Vancouver’s False Creek Flats by legendary artist Stan Douglas, printed on the occasion of his solo exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery in London, UK, rarely becomes available.  The panoramic scene is indicative of the artist’s ongoing concern with charged landscapes and the vernacular histories of Vancouver in particular. This prescient documentary photograph alludes to the complicated past and future development of this interstitial location. Typical of the artist’s subtle approach, the serene vista belies the fraught narratives of the contested terrain with its entanglements of land ownership. Having transformed dramatically since the city’s early history, the area’s tidal mudflats were filled to support industrial activity and CPR interests, and today the site has been revived as a cultural hub named “The Flats” that features Emily Carr University’s new campus. This dense take on picturesque landscape is a classic example of Douglas’ complex portrayals of time and place.

Stan Douglas (b. 1960, Vancouver, BC) is one of the most celebrated artists working today. Since the 1980s, Douglas’ practice has investigated the legacies of modernity through the camera, and the intertwined relationship between them. Douglas has had many survey exhibitions, the most recent in 2013, Stan Douglas: Photographs 2008-2013, at Carré d’Art – Musée d’Art Contemporain in Nîmes, France that toured Europe through 2015. Douglas has been featured in important biennales across the globe and Documenta. He was awarded the Scotiabank Photography Award (2013) and the International Center of Photography’s Infinity Award (2012), among others.  A solo show at the Hasselblad Center in Gothenburg, Sweden will open in October on the occasion of Douglas receiving the coveted Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography. Douglas’ work is in major museum collections around the world. He is represented by David Zwirner Gallery, New York and London; and Victoria Miro, London.

 

 

  • Stan Douglas

Walker Evans

Walker Evans
City Lunch Counter, Lexington Ave., c.1930
Silver gelatin print
Printed for the book First & Last (1978)
13 x 20.5 cm.
Estimate: $3,500

Hand-written notation on verso from Evans estate executor John T. Hill, “This print was made from Walker Evans original negative by Amos Chan under the supervision of Evans’ estate. John T Hill”.

No other photographer has captured the zeitgeist of 1930-1940s America as cogently as Walker Evans. From his iconic suite of Depression-era photographs commissioned by the Farm Security Administration, to his acutely personal snapshots of strangers on the New York City subway, Evans is celebrated for his proclivities as artist, historian, and modern anthropologist. Indeed, his images are embedded in social memory thanks to the fastidious nuance with which he depicted vernacular scenes.

Before the rural FSA photographs or subway portraits, Evans was displaying the same shrewd sensitivity that would distinguish him as one of the most important artists of the twentieth century. City Lunch Counter provides a transitory glimpse into a lunchroom near Grand Central terminal. Like a diorama behind glass, Evans’s early print preserves a particular moment in New York: a hectic period for business where lunch breaks could be shortened with coin-operated automats. Anticipating the photographic experiments of later practitioners like Lee Friedlander, Evans deftly composites background windows and foreground reflections, building an even fuller picture of New York’s bustling atmosphere. The three men, variously engaged with and oblivious to the camera, are neither mythologised nor heroic, but utterly everyday. Characteristic of Evans’s work, City Lunch Counter is equally momentary and momentous.

Walker Evans (1903-1975, b. St. Louis, Missouri) is a foremost figure in twentieth-century photography. Taking up the camera in 1928, he became a progenitor of American documentary photography. Evans was a staff photographer for Fortune for twenty years, during which he worked with writer James Agee on an illustrated article on tenant farm families, a collaboration that resulted in the landmark publication Let Us Now Praise Famous Men. After leaving Fortune, Evans served as a professor of photography and graphic design at Yale University until 1974, a year before his death. His photographs are included in museum collections worldwide and, together with his writing, continue to be widely published. The most recent catalogue, Depth of Field (2015), was produced in conjunction with a major touring retrospective, and will be seen at the Vancouver Art Gallery this October.

 

  • Walker Evans

Fred Herzog

Maritime Mural, 1960
Archival pigment print
50.8 x 76.2 cm.
Edition 7/20
Courtesy the artist and Equinox Gallery, Vancouver
Estimate: $4,800

Fred Herzog’s oeuvre is significant, not only as a vivid record of postwar Vancouver but also as pioneering colour photography. Determined to capture the visual liveliness of the world, Herzog shot almost entirely on Kodachrome colour slide film at a time when art photography was almost exclusively in black and white. Shortly after emigrating from Germany in 1953, he began a focused study of Vancouver’s urban fabric and has not stopped since. Drawn to vernacular architecture and places in transition, his astute observations have become rare documents of the city’s history.

Herzog developed new techniques for exploring the formal qualities of colour. Maritime Mural demonstrates his keen eye for detail and mastery of colour, with the shipwrights’ deep shadows visually anchored by the ship’s rusted, blue-orange hull. He would have waited patiently for the dramatic light conditions that illuminate the collage of textures. This photograph recalls the artist’s early years in Vancouver when he worked on the Canadian Pacific Railway ships in the port before joining the University of British Columbia as a medical photographer, and is an early example of his penchant for documenting waterfront scenes.

Presentation House Gallery was one of the first galleries to exhibit Herzog’s work in 1986 and since his retrospective at the Vancouver Art Gallery in 2007 he has gained wide acclaim.  Fred Herzog (b. 1930, Stuttgart, Germany) has been featured in numerous international  exhibitions, including the touring show Eyes Wide Open! 100 Years of Leica Photography (2015) and Cartier Bresson: A Question of Colour  (2013) at Somerset House, London, UK. In 2014, he was the recipient of the Audain Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Visual Arts and he has an honorary doctorate from Emily Carr University (2010). His work is in major public and private collections across North America, and he is the subject of several monographs with a forthcoming book published by Steidl.  Herzog is represented by Equinox Gallery, Vancouver.

 

 

  • frhz

Frank Horvat

Au Chien Qui Fume, Jardin des Modes, Paris, 1957
Inkjet print
Edition of 30
91.12 x 61.6 cm
Courtesy the artist
Estimate: $11,500

Frank Horvat revolutionised fashion photography, moving it from the confines of the studio and out into shops, bars and the street. In the early 1950s, after travelling to Pakistan and India as a freelance photographer, Horvat settled in London, working for Life Magazine and Picture Post. In 1955, the same year his work was first shown in the Museum of Modern Art’s landmark exhibition The Family of Man, Horvat moved to Paris where he started focusing on fashion photography. He joined Magnum Photos as an associate photographer from 1958-1961.

Au Chien Qui Fume is a testament to the artist’s early, transformative inventiveness. First appearing in the French haute couture magazine Jardin des Modes, Au Chien Qui Fume upends all conventions of fashion photography; the shot is ornately detailed, set in a bar populated with patrons. Dishes litter the curved countertop and chic architecture converges with the quaint décor, lending the image a vivacious energy. Even so, the model emerges unruffled from the visual clamour, her cocktail dress drawing the admiring gazes of fellow diners. In its compositional ingenuity alone, Au Chien Qui Fume is truly a remarkable photograph.

Throughout his distinguished career, Frank Horvat (b. 1928, Abbazia, Italy) has worked for major publications including Jardin des Modes, Elle, Glamour, Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar. Horvat also collaborated with important designers such as Coco Chanel and Givenchy, as well as the Parisian nightclubs Le Sphinx and Crazy Horse. His work has been included in major group exhibitions, including Fashion Photographs (1985) at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, UK and Vanités (1993), Centre National de la Photographie, Paris, France. In 2012, Presentation House Gallery held a major solo exhibition Horvat: Fashion, curated by New Yorker photography critic Vince Aletti. His fashion work is the subject of a major monograph released by Hatje Cantz this year.

 

  • Frank Horvat

Henry Hunt

Bear and Halibut, 1980
Painted wood, signed and dated on base
47h x 15.2w x 15.8d cm
Courtesy Uno Langmann Ltd
Estimate: $5,500

Henry Hunt is a celebrated Northwest Coast Indigenous artist. Born in Fort Rupert in 1923 and descended from distinguished Tlingit linguist and ethnographer George Hunt, he is hailed today as an ambassador of Kwakwaka’wakw culture. He apprenticed under Mungo Martin at Thunderbird Park, a site owned by the Royal British Columbia Museum in Victoria that presents Northwest Coast First Nations art, and in 1962 assumed the prestigious role of Master Carver, with his son Tony as his chief assistant.

During his tenure at Thunderbird Park from 1954-1974, Hunt realised numerous high-profile commissions, including a ceremonial monument for the Canada Pavilion of Expo ’67, as well as a remarkable 9.75 metre totem pole erected in 1970 at Alert Bay, BC in memory of Mungo Martin. Among his most auspicious carvings are the exclusive presentation poles that the Government of British Columbia commissioned from Hunt as gifts for visiting dignitaries, including Lyndon Johnson, Lester Pearson and Queen Elizabeth II. These specially-ordered totems were heavier and taller – about eighteen inches – than commercially available “tourist” carvings.

Bear and Halibut is emblematic of Hunt’s acclaimed masterworks. Created in 1980, this intricate carving maintains the craft and artistry of Hunt’s presentation poles. Hewn from a single piece of wood, the sculpture balances rugged and spontaneous elements with the artist’s legendary finesse. Hunt’s sought-after works rarely appear on the market.

 

  • Henry Hunt

Owen Kydd

The Boss, 2016
Archival inkjet print
Unique
76.2 x 101.6 cm.
Courtesy the artist and Monte Clark Gallery
Estimate: $6,500

Representations of motion have been explored since early in the twentieth century: Cubism abstracted forms by depicting many perspectives in a single image, while futurism sought to express the mechanistic speed of modern life. Owen Kydd’s The Boss echoes these complex aesthetics through photography, questioning our assumption that photographs remain frozen while moving images are time-based. In Kydd’s works, time is never still; it is constantly being negotiated.

Over the past ten years, Kydd’s art has occupied the interstice between still and moving images. Not content to simply depict a photographic instant, the artist has garnered widespread praise for his “durational photographs” – short video loops played on customised screens, which defy cinematic narrative by focussing on an almost static scene or subject.

With The Boss, Kydd finds captivating new ways to expand this approach.  Here, two discrete video frames have been superimposed, deftly blending photorealism and abstraction. The result is not a long exposure or motion blur: Kydd’s photograph is crisp, with each distinct moment of a figure in the foreground visibly etched. Equally beautiful and confounding, The Boss signals an exciting development in the artist’s process.

Owen Kydd (b. 1975, Calgary, AB) earned his MFA at the University of California Los Angeles and holds a BFA from Simon Fraser University. He has exhibited nationally and internationally, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and a solo exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery in 2009. Kydd’s practice has been the subject of numerous articles in publications such as Artforum (2016), Canadian Art (2014) and Aperture Magazine (2013), and his work is in major public collections including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; and the Vancouver Art Gallery. Kydd lives and works in Los Angeles and is represented by Monte Clark Gallery.

 

  • Owen Kydd

Evan Lee

Fugazi, 2016
Archival inkjet print
Unique
61 x 61 cm
Courtesy the artist and Monte Clark Gallery, Vancouver
Estimate: $4,500

Evan Lee often works outside of photographic conventions, exemplified by this unique print produced without a camera. This high-resolution digital scan of cubic zirconia, magnified fifteen thousand percent, is indicative of the provocative themes that recur in the artist’s cross-disciplinary practice. This print is from a new, eponymously titled series, that extends his interest in visual transformation and psychedelia, as in the Phoropter (2012) and Stain (2003) series, and the economic and cultural worth of fake goods as in Dollar Store Still Life (2006). “Fugazi” is a slang term,for counterfeit diamonds drawn from Mafia films, and fittingly so; Lee’s captivating new works reveal the tabooed beauty of a fake synthetic material. Here, the artist’s considerations of both mirage and economy are evident in the kaleidoscopic playfulness of this image.

Lee’s Fugazi captures a crystal rich with variegated textures and vivid colours. Yet, the enlargement results in inevitable loss of detail with sections flattened into blurred, hyper-saturated mosaics. The depthless colour spills outside the central form, creating a polygonal plane on which the zirconia floats. This digital distortion is reminiscent of three-dimensional stereoscophy. A fraught cultural symbol, the cubic zirconia carries multiple interpretations: one can debate whether it conveys an ersatz, ostentatious glamour, or an assertion of its own quirky validity, independent of an authentic diamond.

Evan Lee (b. 1975, Vancouver, BC) lives and works in Vancouver. His first major solo exhibition Captures was held at the Presentation House Gallery in 2006, and the catalogue included essays by Jeff Wall and Peter Culley. Since then, Lee has exhibited in numerous museums and galleries including the Monte Clark Gallery, Vancouver; Vancouver Art Gallery; the Art Gallery of Windsor; Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver’ Surrey Art Gallery; Richmond Art Gallery; the Confederation Centre for the Arts, Charlottetown; and the Liu Hai Su Art Museum, Shanghai as well as the Winnipeg Art Gallery as a Sobey Award Finalist in 2014. Lee’s work has been widely published and collected.

 

  • Evan Lee

Tim Lee

Untitled I-IV (Alexander Rodchenko, 1928), 2008
4 lightjet prints
Edition: 7, AP
70 x 70 cm each
Courtesy the artist, Lisson Gallery, London and New York; Johnen Galerie, Berlin; and Galerie Rüdiger Schöttle, Munich
Estimate: $40,000

Vancouver artist Tim Lee restages key moments in art history and popular culture, exploring the cross-section of parody and fandom as the artist both challenges and furthers these histories. He has often paid homage to the Russian Constructivist artist and graphic designer Alexander Rodchenko (1891-1956) who was an innovator in photography. Influenced by cubism and the Futurists, he played liberally with skewed angles and geometric forms. This fascination with new perspectives came to a head in Rodchenko’s camera work, where he disrupted casual means of looking by shooting his subjects from oblique, often aerial viewpoints. Dramatic and vertiginous, Rodchenko’s photographs reinvigorated the everyday, presenting mundane subjects as strange, fascinating presences that demanded a closer look.

In this cunning series of photographs. Tim Lee adopts the visual logic of constructivist aesthetics, He upends the conventions of camera advertisement, using toppled and slanting perspectives to throw these normally straightforward shots into cinematic motion. Lee identifies a paradox in camera advertising: that the camera being depicted was not used to capture the picture. Thus, he has arranged an intricate series of mirrors that allowed his Leica camera to photograph itself.

Lee notes that the works, which are perfectly square in dimension, may be rotated ninety degrees counter-clockwise on the wall – just one of the many ways that Untitled I-IV preserves the restless, inquisitive essence of Rodchenko’s photographs.

Tim Lee (b. 1975, Seoul, South Korea) works across photography, text, video, and sculpture. Since graduating with a Master of Fine Arts from the University of British Columbia in 2002, he has exhibited his work widely including solo exhibitions at Presentation House Gallery; the Hayward Gallery, London; DAAD galerie, Berlin; and Asia Society, New York, as well as group exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Mori Art Museum, Tokyo; Haus der Kunst, Munich; and biennales in Sydney, Yokohama, Istanbul and Shanghai. In 2008, Lee was the recipient of the Sobey award. He is based in Vancouver, and is represented by Lisson Gallery, London, New York, Milan; Johnen Galerie, Berlin; and Galerie Rüdiger Schöttle, Munich.

 

  • Tim Lee

Elizabeth McIntosh

Gloria, 2015
Oil on canvas
61 x 50.8 cm.
Courtesy the artist and Diaz Contemporary, Toronto
Estimate: $7,500

Gloria is a new painting by lauded Vancouver artist Elizabeth McIntosh, whose explorations continue to propel the medium beyond established conventions. At first glance, Gloria appears depictive, evocative of a still-life painting, perhaps a bouquet of tulips, its form reduced to bare essence; on closer view, the work abstracts into geometry and colour, interpolating shaded crimson with broad, vivid strokes of vermilion. In this play between representation and abstraction, McIntosh resists autonomies of modernism, opening a more contingent and nuanced field of interaction. Gloria is both a study and a critique, its content drawn from art history and then utterly reimagined.

Elizabeth McIntosh (b. Simcoe, ON) holds an MFA from Chelsea College of Art, London and a BFA from York University, Toronto. She premieres a body of new paintings this month at CANADA, New York (2016). Her work been included in exhibitions at VENUS, Los Angeles (2016); the Logan Centre, University of Chicago (2014); MOCCA, Toronto (2012) and the Vancouver Art Gallery (2009).  She will be featured in the forthcoming Vitamin P3: New Perspectives In Painting (Phaidon Books, 2016), and a monograph of her work was published by ECU Press (2010). McIntosh was the recipient of the 2013 VIVA Award and has been granted a Fogo Island Residency in 2017. Her works are held in the collections of the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; Museé d’art Contemporain, Montreal; the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; and the Vancouver Art Gallery. She is based in Vancouver, where she is an Associate Professor at Emily Carr University of Art and Design.

 

  • Elizabeth McIntosh

Press Photograph

“Vancouver Jobless Smash Post Office Windows”, c. 1938
Silver gelatin print
25.4 x 20.32 cm.
Estimate: $500

On May 20, 1938, over 600 jobless men occupied Vancouver’s central post office – what is today the Sinclair Centre. The Great Depression had flattened Canada’s economy, and the federal and provincial governments had compounded the desperate plight of the unemployed across the country when they ceased funding relief camps—which had hitherto provided housing and work opportunities—earlier that year.  A post office sitdown was organised to protest the governments’ lack of effort. Lasting for a month, it came to an end on June 19 – a day now memorialised as “Bloody Sunday” – when RCMP and city constables, armed with truncheons and tear gas, brutally evicted the protesters. The police mounted their attack early in the morning, hoping to avoid a spectacle. Thankfully, photographers from Vancouver’s newspapers were at the ready. This unique gelatin silver print, captioned and modified for press publication, captured that historic morning.

Rare prints such as this one are not only important historical artefacts; the print’s materiality underscores the necessary ways images have been used, and their role in how histories are written. In this photograph, bold outlines have been inked around the figures’ contours, bolster in the picture’s graphic quality in anticipation of the degraded quality of its reproduction in the next day’s newsprint. There is an uncanny quality to the men cringing in reaction to tear gas, hunched in the frame of a smashed window, their soft features and textures undulating between rigid black lines, as though collaged into the image. Each sensationalist detail is highlighted in a stark reminder that images are mediated for particular ends.

As newspaper archives move to digital formats, the material qualities of photographs as both aesthetic objects and historical documents are rapidly changing.  In this milieu, it is no surprise that rare original prints such as these are now sought-after by museums and private collectors: their marked-up surfaces and tears tell a much more subtle, complicated story than what was written in the newspaper column.

 

 

  • Anonymous: Vancouver Jobless Smash Post Office Windows

Jonah Samson

Gold-toned Van Dyke Print, 2016
Van Dyke print, gold toned
Unique
96 x 71 cm
Courtesy the artist and Macaulay & Co. Fine Art, Vancouver
Estimate: $5,000

Self-taught artist Jonah Samson has amassed a large collection of found photographs in a process he refers to, wittily, as “hunting and gathering”. With expertise in the medium’s history and processes, Samson has combed through sites such as eBay for photographs that might appear mundane at a glance, yet have bizarre and mysterious qualities. His practice is informed by the offbeat humour of absurdist theatre; his 2013 exhibition Another Happy Day drew its title from a play by Samuel Beckett. More recently, his 2016 solo show, Every Exit Is An Entrance Somewhere Else, is named for a line from Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead.

Gold-toned Van Dyke Print comes from this latest body of work. Samson refrains from speculating on the backstory of this vintage snapshot, leaving its title as anonymous as the photographer and subject. Instead, he allows the warm, evocative tones and energetic strokes to imbue the picture with a sense of an acutely lived and felt moment. Through labour-intensive analogue processes, Samson works with a negative image of the found photograph, its inversion of black and white setting the figure against a luminous backdrop. What used to be wisps of light swirling around the figure now appear black. At a glance, these ambiguous lines could be mistaken for cursive writing: perhaps a caption, or a signature teasing out the identity of the enigmatic figure.

Jonah Samson (b. 1971, Louisdale, Nova Scotia) lives in Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, and has exhibited nationally and internationally, including solo exhibitions at Macaulay Fine Art and Co (2014, 2016); Otherworldly (2012) at the Musée Eugène Leroy, Lille, France (2012) and the Museum of Arts and Design, New York (2011); Pleasantville (2011) at Studio 9, Istanbul; and Unearthed (2010) at the Sainbury Centre for Visual Arts in the UK. His exhibition Another Happy Day at Presentation House Gallery in 2013 was listed as one of the top 10 shows that season by Canadian Art, and the accompanying publication was named one of the top releases at the New York Art Book Fair by The New Yorker. His work has appeared in numerous books and periodicals, and his new Presentation House Gallery artist book will be launched in October 2016.

 

  • Jonah Samson

Nicolas Sassoon

Geode 7, 2011
Clear print mounted on mirror
Unique
29.8 x  38.1 cm.
Courtesy the artist and Wil Aballe Art Projects
Estimate: $2,500

The rapid rise of new media artist Nicolas Sassoon is extraordinary. Practicing in Vancouver since 2008, this trailblazing French artist and curator has been at the forefront of net-based practices, gaining prominence through both through galleries and online. A key aspect of Sassoon’s practice has been envisioning hypothetical locations using image-rendering software. His screen-based animations are often materialised through 2D and 3D printing. This was the focus of his recent solo exhibition Dream Homes (2014) at Wil Aballe Art Projects, where Sassoon translated ideas of an idyllic holiday retreat into austere, cubic structures in greyscale landscapes.

Undoubtedly, Sassoon’s earlier series Home Studies (2011) propelled the artist’s ongoing inquiry into virtually imagined spaces, and in particular utopian and dystopian possibilities. Geode 7 presents a version of Buckminster Fuller’s geodesic dome – an icon of optimism – as a strange and disjunctive object. The work recalls op art of the 1960s, newly manifest for a twenty-first century context. For this unique iteration, Sassoon has mounted a clear print upon a mirror, inventively marrying early computer rendering language with cutting edge technology.

Nicolas Sassoon (b. Marseille, France, 1981) has exhibited in numerous solo and group exhibitions internationally, including Beyond the Trees: Wallpapers in Dialogue with Emily Carr (2015) at the Vancouver Art Gallery; Windows (2014) at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London and Change of State (2013) at the New Museum, New York, US. This fall he will premiere a new animation work at Rhizome in New York City. He is the Digital Arts curator for the New Forms Festival, Vancouver (2014-present) and curated the group show Witchcraft at Initial Gallery last year. Sassoon is a member of the online collective Computers Club and a co-founder of the collective WALLPAPERS. He holds an MFA (2007) from École Européenne Supérieure de l’image, Angoulême, France.

  • Nicolas Sassoon

Rachelle Sawatsky

Untitled, 2016
Watercolour and glaze on ceramic
51.43 x 40.32 x 5.7 cm
Courtesy the artist and China Art Objects, Los Angeles
Estimate: $3,700

Rachelle Sawatsky employs painting, drawing, ceramics and writing to explore internal narratives. This arresting piece from a recent series of ceramic works has received acclaim from critics and curators alike. Its smooth façade is balanced with tips steeped in muted, naturalistic shades of primary colours, and the asterisk shape suggests a form

Intriguingly, the soft hues of the ceramic bear traces of lived movement. An extension of Sawatsky’s painting practice, the sculpture has undergone two distinct processes. The first is a traditional glazing and firing. Then, Sawatsky immersed the clay in a pool of shallow, diluted paint, where it sat for an extended duration. As people moved around the bath, the water’s slight oscillations stained the ceramic surface. These sensitive materials thus chronicle the traces of fleeting encounters and experiences in a visceral way, exposing the limits of conventional narrative.

Rachelle Sawatsky (b. 1983, Richmond, BC) is an artist and writer who lives and works between Los Angeles and Vancouver. Her work has been exhibited internationally, at China Art Objects, Night Gallery, Public Fiction, the Finley Gallery, Harmony Murphy Gallery and Artist Curated Projects in Los Angeles; at Presentation House Gallery, SFU’s Audain Gallery, and Artspeak Gallery in Vancouver; at Or Berlin in Berlin; at Galerie Mezzanin in Vienna and at the Tate St. Ives in the UK. Her work has been written about in Artforum, Frieze, C Magazine and Art Review. Sawatsky has an MFA from University of Southern California in Los Angeles (2013) and a BFA from Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design in Vancouver (2005).

  • Rachelle Sawatsky

Gordon Smith

Untitled, 2016
Mixed media and acrylic on paper
91.4 x 71.1 cm framed
Courtesy the artist and Equinox Gallery
Estimate: $9,500

At 97 years, veteran Vancouver artist Gordon Applebee Smith continues to astound. His painting practice spans over six decades, and he continues to extend his fresh, indomitable creativity in unexpected directions. His deserved renown for powerful and closely wrought landscape paintings has been strengthened by an ongoing, testing exploration of modernist idioms and the borders between representation and abstraction.

Presentation House Gallery is delighted to premiere a bold new work by Gordon Smith for this special occasion. Dovetailing painting and collage, the artist elegantly fuses formal modes: a pale, earthen pallet evokes nature, over which string and other collaged objects adhere. The work is imbued with spontaneous, expressive motility, proving once again that this treasured artist, having long mastered the medium of painting, remains a dauntless innovator.

Gordon Smith, OC, OBC (b. 1919, Hove, Sussex, England) is one of Canada’s most influential painters. He graduated from the Vancouver School of Art in 1945, before studying advanced painting at the California School of Fine Arts, San Francisco under Elmer Bischoff in 1950. Over nearly sixty years, Smith’s work has been exhibited in galleries across Canada and internationally, including a major solo exhibition, The Act of Painting, at the Vancouver Art Gallery in 1997. In 2013, his paintings were featured in concurrent solo shows Studio Abstractions and Shore Lines at Equinox Gallery, Vancouver, where Smith is represented. Recent group exhibitions include From Nature (2013) at Equinox Gallery and Shore, Forest and Beyond: Art From the Audain Collection (2011), Vancouver Art Gallery. Smith was the recipient of the 2009 Governor General’s Award, Visual and Media Arts, and he holds an honorary doctorate degree from Emily Carr University of Art and Design. He has received numerous high-profile commissions, and his work is held in major public and private collections throughout North America and Europe. Around Vancouver, Smith’s iconic murals can be seen in the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Vancouver Law Library, Chan Centre for the Performing Arts, and the Wosk Centre for Dialogue at SFU.

  • Gordon Smith

Joseph Staples

Value/Devalue, 2012
3 collages of photocopies on paper
Unique
16.51 x 11.43 cm. image size, 30.5 x 25.5 cm. framed
Courtesy the artist
Estimate: $2,000

Joseph Staples has been garnering rapt attention in Vancouver and abroad with his collage works: complicated, kinetic bodies constructed out of image reproductions. For his 2012 exhibition Value/Devalue, Staples derived an entire show from a single found photograph. Photocopying this source material, he created six collages; then, he reproduced these collages as enlarged screen prints, which he also cut and reassembled. Through this material process, whereby Staples’s strategy of repetition was not contained to an individual work but extended across a series, in which the artist investigated notions of value, facsimile and originality.

Presented here are three of the original collages that inspired the other works in Value/Devalue. Delicately cut, the layered papers distort a vernacular found portrait into enigmatic, disrupted assemblages. The diversity of the three works is striking. They attest to Staples’s extraordinary ability expand images beyond themselves, envisioning – and realising – countless possible works within a lone picture.

Joseph Staples (b. 1974, Saskatchewan) is a visual artist based in Vancouver. In 2014, Staples won the Contemporary Art Society of Vancouver’s Emerging Artist Prize, and inaugurated Burrard Arts Foundation’s residency programme. Recent exhibitions include Light Box Space (2016) at Gallery 295, Vancouver; Elegant Living (2015) at Wil Aballe Art Projects, Vancouver; Joseph Staples and Chic Connell (2014) at Southeastern Contemporary Art Gallery, Hammond, Louisiana. His work was also included in WE: VANCOUVER, 12 Manifestos for the City (2012) at the Vancouver Art Gallery, curated by Bruce Grenville. He has also created public artworks, including Falun Dancer (2014) located at Burrard and Alberni in Vancouver.

  • Joseph Staples

Larry Sultan

Reading in Bed, 1988
From “Pictures from Home” series
Archival pigment print
Edition 2/10 + 2 APs
50.8 x 61 cm.
Estimate: $20,000

In his seminal photographic series Pictures From Home (1982-1991), the American photographer Larry Sultan captured his parents in both spontaneous and constructed scenarios of various mundane domesticity, revealing the socialised and idiosyncratic aspects of family life. The pictures make evident that the photographer is not a privileged, passive voyeur but rather an active participant inextricably bound to his subjects. Sultan upends conventional family albums whereby parents record the lives of their children, to highlight the dynamic tensions in family relationships. In keeping with photographic discourse of the period, through subtle means, Sultan undermines the claim that photographs can be truthful and implicitly suggests that pictures that purport to be documentary are really an elaborate fiction.

While beautifully lit and quite possibly staged, Reading in Bed appears to be a casual shot. Intimacy and humour are made palpable in this everyday scene, which is equally a perceptive inquiry into the camera’s construction of family and an expression of love. Sultan’s nuanced use of photography invokes the medium’s most rudimentary appeal: to preserve a moment in time, and its subjects.

Larry Sultan (1946-2009, Brooklyn, NY) was an influential photographer and educator. He earned an MFA at the San Francisco Art Institute (1973), and taught for twenty years at the California College of the Arts.  His photography has been widely published, including ground-breaking self-published collaborations with Mike Mandel How To Read Music In One Evening (1974) and Evidence (1977). Based on documents found in government and corporate archives, the Evidence project is acclaimed as a watershed in the history of conceptual photography. Sultan was the recipient of numerous awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship (1983), and his works continue to be internationally exhibited, including a recent retrospective at LACMA, Los Angeles. Works from Pictures From Home were featured in Presentation House Gallery’s 1995 exhibition Death and the Family.

 

  • Larry Sultan

Hiroshi Watanabe

Suo Sarumawashi, 2008
3 pigment ink prints
Edition 10 of 50
20.3 x 20.3 cm each
Estimate: $1,000

Hiroshi Watanabe’s portraiture has achieved well-deserved renown. From commedia de l’arte actors to kabuki players, exquisite studio portraits and intimate street scenes, his compelling black-and-white photographs have been lauded for their nuanced expression. Watanabe’s work was included in Eye To Eye, Presentation House Gallery’s portrait exhibition last year, and will be featured in the forthcoming publication.

Watanabe’s portraits are not of people, however, but of monkeys. For over 1,000 years, “monkey dancing” has been a Japanese custom, originating as a military ritual before evolving into a popular form of street entertainment. Japanese macaques, sporting traditional costume, perform acrobatics and comical skits alongside specialised trainers. Watanabe’s 2008 series Suo Sarumawashi (literally “monkey dancing”) examines a small cohort of these unconventional performers.

This exclusive auction offer is a set of three prints from the Suo Sarumawashi series. Far from indulging in the finely-crafted costumes or any exotic appeal of performing macaques, this grouping spotlights the often-overlooked personalities of these dramatised monkeys: puzzling at times, all too relatable at others. They wonder, play, and brood before the camera, revealing their intriguing character in the absence of an audience.

Hiroshi Watanabe (b. 1951, Sapporo, Japan) is a Japanese photographer who lives and works in Los Angeles, California. He self-published his first monograph Veiled Observations and Reflections in 2002, before self-publishing a series of four portfolios of portraiture entitled FACES (2003-2005). Watanabe has produced seven additional monographs since, with a forthcoming publication on his monkey series. He has won numerous awards, and his work is housed in such noteworthy collections as the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, George Eastman House, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, J. Paul Getty Museum, San Jose Museum of Art, and New Mexico Museum of Art.

 

  • Hiroshi Watanabe (1 of 3)

Michael Wesik

Taevas, 2016
2 silver gelatin prints, selenium toned
Unique
170.2 x 135.9 cm. each
Courtesy the artist
Estimate: $15,000

Michael Wesik’s diptych of dramatic photographs reflects his mastery of analogue printing techniques. Drawing inspiration from nature, Wesik’s atmospheric images are at once familiar and barely recognisable. In keeping with the artist’s longstanding interest in the sublime, this picture suggests an ominous magnitude and expansive beauty. Titled Taevas, which translates as “sky” or “heaven” in Estonian, Wesik’s paired images resonate with charged energy, evoking a blustering skyscape even as they resist straightforward depiction.

Reading the movement of the sky and adjusting his exposure times accordingly, Wesik takes ten to thirty minute exposures. Every chance movement of the camera and its subjects registers as wild abstraction patterns in the image. Working with 11 x 14″ negatives, his wet-process prints are developed by hand and often involve experimentation with unique tinting processes. For Taevas, Wesik has toned the silver gelatin prints with selenium to amplify their rich tonal range, and to contrast their deep blacks and fulminous whites. The result is a powerful testament to the materiality of camera art, and the intricate analogue processes that digital technologies still strive to emulate.

Michael Wesik (b. 1978, Vancouver, BC) is technically rigorous photographer whose meticulous precision is in the mode of Ansel Adams. His sought-after landscape photographs were recently featured in the group exhibition From Nature (2013) at Equinox Gallery, Vancouver. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Art History from the University of British Columbia. Wesik lives in Vancouver.

 

  • Michael Wesik

Paul Wong

Hoops (Havana), 2011
Inkjet print
Edition 1/3
161.6 x 120.65 cm
Courtesy the artist
Estimate: $10,000

Vancouver artist Paul Wong is, in a word, notorious. From his early days as an incorrigible “Mainstreeter” to his prestigious Audain Prize earlier this year, Wong remains an uncompromising provocateur, dealing with themes of race and sex through performance, video installation, and photography. Like Warhol, Wong draws consistently from popular media and the entertainment industry in works both satirical and astonishingly self aware.

Hoops exemplifies Wong’s multimedia sensibility and concern with the aesthetics of glamour. Captured on a rooftop in Havana, Hoops depicts photographs of a dancer as a series of film stills organized as if it were a contact sheet. The work’s raw immediacy is grounded in an animated, moment-to-moment fluidity. The heat of bodies on a Cuban night is palpable through its smouldering colours. Yet, Wong skilfully creates a sense of voyeurism, throwing a barrier between subject and the viewer. The small, compacted frames simulate windows as much as filmstrips, powerfully situating the viewer outside the dancers’ milieu. Thus, every look at Hoops is a stolen glance – a daring, surreptitious peek into an incandescent scene. At once aloof and intimate, the grid invokes the presence of lens, screen and image frame, seductively testing degrees of separation between see-er and seen.

Paul Wong (b. 1954, Prince Rupert, BC) is an award-winning artist and curator known for pioneering early visual and media art in Canada, founding several artist-run groups and organising events, festivals, conferences and public interventions since the 1970s. Wong has shown and produced projects throughout North America, Europe and Asia. His works are in many public collections and numerous private collections. His work is included in the exhibition Dreamlands: Immersive Cinema 1905 – 2016 at the Whitney Museum that opens this October. Along with major commissions and grants, Wong received the Bell Canada Award in Video Art in 1992 and the Governor General Award in Visual and Media Art in 2005. In 2016, Wong was awarded the coveted Audain Prize for Lifetime Achievement.

 

  • Paul Wong