Oxygen Art Centre

Presenting a Juried Emerging Artists Exhibition 

Wayfinding: Identity and the Kootenays

Exhibition Dates: June 7 – July 7, 2018

Opening Reception: Thursday June 7, 7-9pm

Artist Talk: Saturday June 9th, 12pm

Gallery Hours: Wednesday – Saturday 1-5pm

Participating Artists: Annika Dixon-Reusz, Danan Lake, Spencer Legebokoff, Eija Loponen-Stephenson, Lydia Miller, and Vance Wright. Honourable Mentions: Bethany Pardoe and PCSS’s ‘The Socks Project’.

In this professional, juried exhibition featuring emerging Kootenay artists, youth respond to the theme of Wayfinding: Identity and the Kootenays through textile work, photography, installation, sculpture, painting and video.

Wayfinding can be defined as the ways in which people (and animals) orient themselves in physical space and navigate from place to place. It is a cognitive, social and embodied process of locating self in the context of surroundings, tracing a route to and from a given place. Wayfinding: Identity and the Kootenays examines how this process of locating oneself shapes six young Kootenay artists, many of whom have left to pursue studies elsewhere but trace much of their artistic inspiration to their strong identification with the Kootenay region.

Questions the exhibition considers include: How do you locate yourself as a young Kootenay artist, geographically, politically, historically or otherwise?  How does living in or originating from the Kootenay region influence your art practice? If you were to build or draw a map of your personal relationship to this region, how would that look, feel, and be read?

Danan Lake, born in Argenta, explores his relationship to home through a sculptural installation that investigates the landline, a symbol or rural isolation and community reliance.  Taking up outdoor recreation, Annika Dixon-Reusz of Rossland manipulates mountain bike tires into an elaborate textile art garment, while Spencer Legebokoff of the Slocan Valley photographs rural and urban skateboarding as a means of exploring and shaping his surroundings. Ymir’s Eija Loponen-Stephenson’s two delicate rice paper dresses speak to the duality of a rural and urban identity, while Nelson-based indigenous artist Vance Wright’s embroideries take up mapping as a way of engaging with queer politics and decolonization. Finally, Kootenay-based Lydia Miller explores her connection to the region and nature at large through delicate sculptural works made with local, found materials.

Honourable mentions include Nelson-based highschool student Bathany Pardoe, who’s adept paintings take up regional subject matter, and The Socks Project, a group project exploring wayfinding by a senior art class at Creston’s Prince Charles Secondary Secondary School.

Artist Bios:

Annika Dixon-Reusz was born and raised in Rossland, BC a small town in the Kootenays. She only left the Kootenays recently to go to school in Vancouver to pursue her love for art and design at Emily Carr University. However, she returns home regularly for holidays and summer vacation for some mountain air and family time. Growing up in the Kootenays Annika learned to ski and bike at a young age and recognises what it means to belong to a strong community. Being raised in the Kootenays Annika learned about the importance of community and surrounding oneself with loving, motivated people. Rossland’s mountains, lakes and trees, ground her, and tug her to always return home.

Danan Lake was raised in the Lardeau Valley, at the north end of Kootenay Lake, where his family has lived for several generations, living in the forest and making their living from working in the forestry industry. Lake’s upbringing in a rural community is a major part of his artistic identity and has been a focus of his work since attending NSCAD University in Halifax, where he works primarily in sculpture but extends into print, ceramics, and intermedia.  Lake has been active in the artistic community, creating and exhibiting work since 2013. His work exists within the context of contemporary art and art history but is rooted in his rural upbringing.

Spencer Legebokoff was born and raised at the base of the Slocan Valley, nestled amongst the mountains, and grew up exploring the Slocan River and surrounding coniferous forests. He shares a deep connection with the landscape, being rooted in the natural landmarks from birth. Spencer spends his time exploring foreign cinema, running his late-night radio show “Lo-Fi Lounge” and skateboarding.

Eija Loponen-Stephenson is from Ymir BC and presently attends OCAD University where she studies sculpture and installation.  Eija Loponen-Stephenson works predominantly in performance and textiles, while her sculptural work is firmly based in the process of performative fabrication. She is always asking how the labour put into domestic tasks considered to be women’s work can be dislodged from the patriarchal system of consumption where the mending and cleaning is continuously done and undone. Through performatively engaging in these tasks she seeks to gain autonomy within the roll of the domestic woman by creating products which are not usable in the arena of the home.

Lydia Miller was raised in the Kootenays, and appreciates the privilege of existing in such lush and accessible surroundings. After leaving the area to complete her BFA from ACAD University, she promptly returned home to the comfort of the mountains. Through her work she aims to pay respect and draw attention to the importance of balancing our coexistence with nature’s flora and fauna.  The ethereal linear arrangements of Lydia Miller’s work illustrate her ties to the energies and environments that most influence her.

Vance Wright is an indigenous artist born and raised in the west Kootenay region. His artistic practice covers a wide range of methods and materials, focusing more on creating a consistent aesthetic through inter-disciplinary practices. As a result, his work jumps from painting, to pen and ink illustration and even to embroidery. During his studies at Selkirk College, Vance developed a keen interest in social politics, such as material culture, cultural & ethnic relations, queer politics and processes of reconciliation & decolonization, which he attempts to bring into his artistic practice in hopes of starting discussion and encouraging critical thought.

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