Picking up where we left off, the Rental Sales Gallery group took their caravan to downtown Vancouver to visit with charismatic artist, Anne John at her gallery Art at the Cave. The Gallery advertises as an “Experimental Art Space”, and Anne invites innovative, conceptual and sometimes challenging work to be exhibited.
Upon entering, we came face to face with larger than life size figures of women made of wood, twigs, moss, branches, leaves and vines. The figures were self-referential sculptures by Kathi Rick, appearing like forest goddesses, one with its face turned to the sky and arms stretched out. The other is holding a bow and arrow. They evoked power and confidence in their stance, a self-assuredness with all that nature brings forth. A looped video piece by the same artist played on two screens in a mini theater-like room behind the sculptures. Entitled “I Dress Myself in These Things Now”, the video showed a woman wandering and sustaining herself in the forest wilderness.
Moving through the gallery space, we connected with Anne near the back where some of her own work was hung. She shared some insight into her art which is usually symbolic with a sense of whimsy at times. Anne’s ideas often come to her in dreams. Titles and images arrive at the same time, but she has binders full of titles to work with. Eschewing the abstract, she is influenced by Rene Magritte and other surrealists. Her work might be figurative, but most often includes various animals and/or eggs. The egg motif, she explained, has a pleasing shape and is symbolic, representing “potential” as all animal species begin with eggs. Other works include political or social commentary, some of which address climate change.
The upper level of the Cave’s new space is a contrast to the front room namely due to the warm black wall paint versus the traditional cream or white in the front gallery space. The darker color at back was a complimentary background for the black and white photos of old Northwest logging camps and abandoned rail lines by John Tylczak in his showing called “Chasing Ghosts”. A documentary of sorts, each photograph had a little history or commentary taking the viewer back in time.
In all, Art in the Cave is an amazing space with much for the visitor to contemplate, enjoy and experience. Anne has led a long, creative, prolific career and this current phase of curating her own gallery enables her to showcase her own work as well as edgy, contemporary displays conceptualizing and commenting on subjects and issues important to her.
To see more works by Anne John, please click here.
Leaving Vancouver, the caravan surely ran into traffic, but the company of fellow art enthusiasts kept us engaged from our full day. Letting off one volunteer here and there, we pulled back into Portland energized and better informed about some of our gallery artists. We thank Kenneth Ray Wilson, Tom Relth, and Anne John for their wonderful hospitality and for taking the time to share their spaces, their time, and their nourishment, literally and figuratively!