Category Archives: From the Archives

Artist editions for sale!

“Hello & welcome to the Contemporary Art Gallery!”

Have you been by in the last few months? There are 3 great exhibits showing right now, and you should make time to come visit! When you’re by & chatting with the friendly front desk volunteer, you might spy a few Artist Edition prints behind them. Don’t forget to look behind you as well, because there is another print hanging to the left of the BC Binning Gallery entrance. Let me tell you about these pieces that we have displayed in the entrance foyer. For even more information, visit the publication page at

Thomas Bewick, Limited Edition Print, Apr 2009
Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, UK, Edition of 75.
$150, unframed

A limited edition printed on a hand press by Iain Bain from the original wood-blocks. Of the 3 subjects, the Bulldog was engraved for the 1790 edition of the Quadrupeds; the Lesser Redpole, and the tail-piece of the man relieving himself beside a fragment of ruined wall were made for the first 1797 volume of the British Birds. What is amazing about Thomas Bewick’s work is both the delicate and intricate marks he was able to make with the tools of the time, and the witty narrative that Bewick injected into his work. To quote the exhibition notes:

Intended as illustrations of ‘some truth or point of some moral’ they provide an invaluable insight into social history while also demonstrating the artist’s imagination and wit. As such these narrative works will provide an interesting counterpoint to the work of many internationally established artists in Vancouver, engaging in image making which critically examines and reflects on the city and conditions which surround them.

Robert Orchardson, Study for Endless Façade ,Limited Edition Giclée print, Nov 17, 2011
Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver / Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, UK, Edition of 50.
$150, unframed

This limited edition print, 13″ x 18.5″, was produced to coincide with the exhibition Robert Orchardson Endless façade which ran from November 2011 until January 2012. The show transformed half of the gallery into another world as visitors walked through a giant triangular entrance way into a science-fiction-like set featuring Robert’s work. I quite liked the following quote from the exhibit notes:

He also sees this sense of possibility inherent in stage sets, where a narrative exists between the material character of the set itself, and the ‘other’ identity it adopts within the context of a play.

His installation partially revisited stage sets designed by Isamu Noguchi in 1955 for a Royal Shakespeare Company production of King Lear.

Rodney Graham Jacob Grimm’s Study in Berlin/Wilhelm Grimm’s Study in Berlin (1960), Etchings, 1992
Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver, 2 prints unframed.
$2,000 (pair), unframed

Perhaps you’re stopping by the gallery after having spent some time checking out Rodney Graham’s new exhibition over at the Vancouver Art Gallery? Remember, the CAG is only 5 blocks away from the VAG so you can continue your gallery-viewing excursion all afternoon!

We are showcasing a set of etchings by Graham that was published by the Contemporary Art Gallery in 1992, and was conceived in relation to Five Interior Proposals for the Grimm Brother’s Studies in Berlin (1992), the project Graham exhibited at Documenta in Kassel, Germany. The images are variations on the studies occupied by the Brothers Grimm in the 1860s in Berlin, based on period watercolours.

Scott Massey, Via Lactea (above Glacier Lake) – Limited Edition Print, Feb 2012
Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver, Archival inkjet print, edition of 15, unframed.
$150, unframed

There is still time to see Via Lactea (above Glacier Lake) at the Yaletown-Roundhouse Station (Canada-Line), co-presented Contemporary Art Gallery and Translink for the Canada Line Public Art Program.To coincide with the exhibition, Massey has produced a limited edition, Via Lactea (above Glacier Lake) (2012), an archival inkjet print, edition of 15, 20 x 20 inches.

In Via Lactea (above Glacier Lake), Massey combined 170+ photographs of the night sky on the same strip of film. I like that I can walk down to Davie street and not only see the night sky in the middle of the city, but I also get to see it during the day time. For more information about this exhibition, please see:

Interested in buying one of these editions? Come down to the Contemporary Art Gallery Tuesday – Sunday, Noon-6PM and speak to someone at the front desk, or email

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From the Archives – Spotlight on Elspeth Pratt: from “Bluff” to “Second Date”

It is always exciting to retrace the path of an artist you admire.

Today, the gracefulness and lightness of Elspeth Pratt’s work adorns the urban Offsite exhibition space of the VAG. It looks novel and contemporary, seemingly hand-made and whimsical but rendered in a scale that is normally out of proportion to the material.

In this blog entry, I’d like to consider Pratt’s journey towards becoming an important figure in the Vancouver art scene in relation to the CAG.

In several ways the CAG played an important role in her artistic career, being the site of her first solo exhibition. In 1985, Pratt  reflected on social commentary, urban issues, art, architecture and man-made environment through her formal sculptures.

In 1988, Robert Linsley, with assistance from the CAG, curated an exhibition of three Canadian sculptors held at Sala 1 gallery in Rome.  Among them, Elspeth Pratt would travel to Italy to present her abstract yet gestural sculptures to a European audience in an exhibition entitled “Architettura: Astrazione”.

These are not the only instances Pratt has shown work at the CAG. She also exhibited  Bluff in the gallery’s street front windows in 2007. This site-specific work commented on the lack of foresight that characterises downtown Vancouver’s residential-highrise industry. 

Currently Pratt’s name is listed among 1000 others in  the windows as a reminder of the gallery’s artistic legacy and in commemoration of their 40th anniversary.

To view a short video of the artist commenting on her work, please follow this link:

To read a recent article on Elspeth Pratt’s work at the VAG Offsite location, please refer to:

Ksenia Cheinman

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From the Archives: Letterhead

circa 1972

Wouldn't you like to get this in the mail?

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From the Archives…Douglas Coupland and ‘ten years later’

As a student entering the Library and Information Studies program at UBC, managing, categorizing and organizing information is a common and enjoyable task. However, even for someone who seeks to impose rationality and logic, a dollop of semi-orderly chaos always makes the day more exciting.

Beyond the gallery walls, down a long hallway, past numerous doors, in an unusually bright and clean room is the location of CAG’s archive. While tidy in appearance, with boxes dedicated to various years in the life of the gallery, the content of these time capsules is rather muddled and heterogeneous, making it quite an adventure to sift through folders of its history.

 Having been given the responsibility of going through the archive in the anticipation of the CAG’s 40th Anniversary, it became part of my weekly routine; as if a participant in a bingo game, I scanned through the numerous pieces of paper, dates, newspaper articles and rare images to find a winning combination, a highlight of some sort, an informational jackpot.

“BINGO?”, echoed in my mind when I got to the box labeled “1986” and its folders dedicated to the 10th Anniversary of the CAG which was inaugurated with an exhibition entitled “Ten Years Later”, showcasing the work of seven mature artists who were intertwined with the gallery from its inception.  By 1976 the former Greater Vancouver Artists Gallery (present day CAG) had become incorporated as a  non profit charitable society from its beginnings in 1971 obtained the Local Initiatives Project (LIP) grant with which it was able to fund artists Marian Penner Bancroft, Judith Lodge,Liz Magor, Al McWiliams, Richard Prince, Judy Williams, and Robert Young (amongst many, many others) in their production of nearly 3,000 artworks over the ten year period and which became part of the City of Vancouver Collection.

Besides the general interest with regard to what the gallery and its anniversary exhibition were like almost 30 years ago, I found particularly fascinating and differing reviews of ‘Ten Years Later’.

The real “BINGO!” happened when I came across a short, time-stained and hastily cut-out article entitled “Gallery Bingo” by Douglas Coupland. Written when he was 25, this review was already marked by the witty and informal tone he was to become known for later on. Rather than describing the show, Coupland commented on the effect of this anniversary on the institution, on the transformation of the gallery’s image over the years:

“I sensed amongst the crowd an undercurrent of discomfort at their now having become the art establishment, condemned to dressing seriously and playing the role of adults regardless of whether or not they actually feel it.”

Interestingly enough, it seems that by its 40th Anniversary, instead of growing into a more conservative and staid establishment, the gallery has maintained its playful vitality.

Ksenia Cheinman, CAG Library and Archive Volunteer

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Do you remember the Summer of 1984?

1984 Poster for ART TALKS

The Contemporary Art Gallery is celebrating its 40th Anniversary, and as part of commemorating the occasion we’ve been reflecting on our past, searching through the archives and discovering some random mementos.

We found the above poster in the ‘best of the ’80’s file’, did  you or do you know someone who might have attended any of the advertised talks? If so, we would love to hear your recollections of what must have been some memorable Summer of ’84 Vancouver nights.

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