Jesse Birch

Nanaimo Art Gallery hosts exhibit that examines architecture

NANAIMO - The Nanaimo Art Gallery presents the exhibit Trusses, which examines architecture.

The newest exhibit, Trusses, at the Nanaimo Art Gallery examines the influence of architecture on various aspects of culture, society and on individuals.

The exhibit space itself has been designed as an architectural space for visitors to determine how it influences them.

“It’s about how our bodies are going to be affected by the space we are in,” said Jesse Birch, gallery curator. “We wanted a show that you explore partly for the pleasure of being here and partly for the pleasure of seeing beautiful things but also the story behind them.”

Although architecture does influence people it’s hard to determine exactly what effect it has.

“I don’t know if we can quantify how architecture influences us,” said Birch. “They have some kind of influence and sometimes it’s more tangible and sometimes it’s less tangible.”

Trusses features work by Shannon Bool, Lloyd House, Rebecca Loewen, Alex Morrison, Gailan Ngan, Wayne Ngan, Patkau Architects and Aaron Peck.

Attendees to the gallery will be able to see works such as an architectural design model of Strawberry Vale Elementary School, which is in Saanich. The school was designed to suit the landscape and so that classrooms in the back of the school looked out on the forest and natural landscape surrounding the building.

“Students that go there are inspired by their environment. It’s very singular,” said Birch. “If you look at traditional schools in Nanaimo they are like boxes with hallways in the middle.”

The exhibit also features work by potter Wayne Ngan. Birch said Ngan is recognized as a master at his craft. The exhibit showcases some of his earlier pieces, where he experimented with salt glazes, wood fired kilns inspired by the Sung dynasty pieces and other experimental methods. He would even throw seaweed into his kiln to see how it affected the glazes. Some contemporary pieces by Ngan are also included.

Shannon Bool exhibits her work MEC V. It references the classical renaissance paintings of Jan van Eyck and Petrus Christus. She took portions of the carpets in the foreground of the paintings and flattened them in Photoshop, while leaving portions of the piece as a transparency grid. After creating the image, she had it woven into a carpet.

Trusses is a tie-in with this week’s Festival of Architecture which begins Wednesday (June 8). The exhibition runs from Thursday (June 9) until Aug. 21. An opening reception is Wednesday at 7 p.m.

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