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Vancouver
Steffanie Ling
The Oasis at Field Contemporary, Vancouver
July 28, 2015

Currently installed at Field Contemporary is The Oasis, a three-hole mini golf course designed by local artists Vanessa Brown, Steve Hubert, and Allison Tweedie, with a Pro Shop stocked by Mark DeLong. Visitors are encouraged to “Come play!”

Hubert’s Wall Rider seems to be a bricolage of the artist studio, but beyond this valley of cardboard is the story of a bodily function. In your ball’s way are a nonchalantly placed empty beer bottle, a shallow fountain gently streaming yellow tinted water, and the hole for the ball itself (a red American party cup). Brown’s Swiss Cheese abuts flat curvaceous shapes with copper tubing accents. This hole channels its respective artist’s sensibilities most directly. In this sense, it could still pass as an autonomously fabricated sculpture beyond the hyper-specific conditions of this exhibition. Tweedie’s collage compositions form the backdrop of Part of a Whole: yes, it is a pun, but perhaps it alludes to how this artist who works predominantly in drawing and paper collage is a team player in this sculpturally demanding context.



Vanessa Brown, Swiss Cheese, 2015, MDF, paint, polyurethane, rocks, copper

In the Pro Shop, Delong’s marker drawings are reproduced like a logo on t-shirts and mugs, which can be sold at pedestrian prices. The retail aspect is a bit of a farce, though these blatant commodities are included in a pricelist along with each artist’s hole. Within a commercial art gallery, such gestures might start as ironic critiques and end in fallacy, but the irony seems lost in the project’s sincere attempt to simply “re-create the atmosphere of those summer evenings.”

It’s a “summer show” – a casual term applied to exhibitions marking the winding down of a certain kind of rigor that’s apparently exercised exclusively in the winter months. Usually summer shows are fun and nice. It’s free to play, but the true cost might be the suspension of your summer intellect. However, it is summer and Field Contemporary wants you to have fun, so I left the gallery and found my way to a go-cart track.


Field Contemporary: http://www.field-contemporary.com/
The Oasis continues until August 22.


Steffanie Ling's essays, criticism, and art writing have been published alongside exhibitions, in print, and online in Canada and the United States. She is the editor of Bartleby Review, an occasional pamphlet of criticism and writing in Vancouver, and a curator at CSA Space. She is Akimblog’s Vancouver correspondent and can be followed on Twitter and Instagram @steffbao.

 

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