The Tree: From the Sublime to the Social

Organized and circulated by the Vancouver Art Gallery with the generous support of

July 24 to September 26, 2010

What becomes a legend most? Canadian icons that retain their symbolism generation after generation, such as the beaver, the canoe and the lone, struggling tree, come to mind. This exhibition on the tree as a subject in art was curated by Daina Augatis (Chief Curator and Associate Director of the Vancouver Art Gallery [VAG]), with the assistance of VAG Assistant Curator, Emmy Lee. It was organized by the Vancouver Art Gallery and opened there in 2008. A smaller, touring version of the show was offered to the public galleries in British Columbia by the VAG’s Across the Province Program, an excellent initiative that works to connect all B.C. residents with works in the permanent collection of the VAG.

The 34 works included range from historical paintings by Emily Carr and members of the Group of Seven, through to works by contemporary photographers fascinated by the layers of social meaning linked to the image of a tree. The Kelowna Art Gallery has augmented the show with six additional loans of works from the Vancouver Art Gallery.

This exhibition should have wide appeal to people visiting the Kelowna area as tourists, as well as to the community itself. It provides a convenient opportunity to view original works by several of the well-known contemporary Vancouver photographic artists, whose reputations now extend internationally. These include Rodney Graham, Karen Bubas, Liz Magor and Ian Wallace. There is also a minor thematic around the province’s relationship to the tree, and the fraught history of its logging industry. The show is accompanied by a free, full-colour brochure produced by the Vancouver Art Gallery.

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