UTOPIAS CONSTRUCTED II
September 12 to October 10
Utopias Constructed II brings into dialogue the works of Hossein Amanat, Jim Breukelman, and Holly Ward as they consider the geographical and socio-political conditions in which utopia might be found. The tower, a timeless symbol of eminence and prestige, constitutes a nexus at which these interpretations converge.
Breukelman’s photographs trace how urban development in Vancouver subverts utopia, even as it paradoxically strives toward it. In his Counterpoint series, Shangri-La semiotically connotes an idyllic paradise, one that is at odds with the the abrupt, zigzagging textures of the now-iconic tower, depicted during its construction. Amanat’s architectural drawings are similarly grounded in familiar geographies and milieus, yet remain abstracted as ideas (or ideals). His speculative towers exist only as possibilities, exerting their own social and ecological dynamisms on an alternative vision of the world: one in which the structural lines of each building embrace the sinuous, even chaotic colours of their environs. Theorizing utopia from the vantage of academia’s ivory tower, Ward’s sculptural work Ideas and Integrities, Version 2 is an assemblage of shelved books, hung from the gallery ceiling. This library responds to political and economical postulations of utopia, echoing the liminality of Amanat’s images through a gesture of physical suspension.
Hossein Amanat is an architect based in Vancouver, British Columbia. Amanat founded Amanat Architect in 1966 and directs on all projects undertaken by the firm.
Jim Breukelman earned a fine arts degree at the Rhode Island School of Design where he studied under Harry Callahan and Richard Leibowitz. He founded the Fine Art Photography program in 1967 at the Vancouver School of Art, now the Emily Carr University of Art + Design. In 2012, he received a Mayor’s Arts Award in Visual Art from the City of Vancouver.
Holly Ward received her BFA (interdisciplinary) from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in 1999 and her MFA (studio) from the University of Guelph in 2006. She has received numerous awards for her artistic output, including the Joseph Beuys Memorial Scholarship (NSCAD) and The Canada Council for the Arts Creation/Production Grant.
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