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Snelgrove Gallery exhibitions explore the space in us and around us

By in Culture

Two graduates from the B.F.A. program, Vanya Hanson and Lindsay Klassen, both have something to say about the way we deal with the space around us, within us and even on us.

Shell, the show by Vanya Hanson takes space and turns it into a mystifying playground. As I walked into the Snelgrove Gallery I was drawn by noises of echoes, bubbles, resonance and small speech. This place is as provocative as it is ambient: warm peaches, purples, oranges and beiges surrounded with accents of blue and green light. It is both alien and of-the-body.

It is participatory as well. Take the illuminated sign reading, “CLAP!” For the moment, if one takes the experience of viewing art as simply viewing, then this small wonder would have escaped them. After a moment of looking at the sign in bemused confusion, I clapped. Above me, a light shifted its colour — delightful!

Hanson draws from her experience with Snoezelen pools: multi-sensory environments employed in art-therapy and developed in the Netherlands. With common themes of development through play and engagement, Hanson explores the environment as a basis of understanding and learning.

A canopy envelops her section of the gallery, dipped in light and sound. Shades of pink and taupe surround you in a friendly manner, and the viewer is invited to experience vision, sound, smell and feeling alongside the structures she has created. Projection is employed, referencing the experience of water, of encasement and of motion. Sculpture takes the form, not of something to sit and consider, but something to enter and experience. Organic arcs and their surrounding enclosures give a comforting and intimate vibe. Imagine a womb.

Lindsay Klassen’s work centers around tattoos. What do you think of them? Do you love them? Do you hate them? Do you wish you could change the ones you have? Navigating along the body, Klassen muses on the possibilities of an extended personal symbology.

I was immediately struck by the sight of suspended hands and arms of sewn fabric in assorted colour, reaching out toward me in greeting. The multiples are arranged in line and float from the ceiling. Welcome to RUB ONS, a mysterious and pleasing affair, the title of which had me guessing what the show was about weeks before the exhibition. As it turns out, the name comes from an humorous encounter Klassen had, which arose when someone asked if her tattoos were real or rub ons.

“Rub ons,” she replied jokingly, which was then taken quite seriously.

“Many of my tattoos are inside jokes,” Lindsay told me.

On the walls are images created with a myriad of stickers. Small drawings perch on an opposite wall. Throughout the show, an interesting array of images shimmer with laminate and secret meanings. I left, skipping down the gallery’s blue stone staircase, musing on the reflective echo of embroidery needles.

[box type=”info”]Lindsay Klassen and Vanya Hanson’s final showing and reception of their work take place Nov. 10, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Gordon Snelgrove Gallery.[/box]

Photos: Raisa Pezderic/The Sheaf

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