Road Runner

June 17 to September 10, 2006
Curated by Linda Sawchyn

family vacations
road trips
road rage
watching the world go by through a car windshield…

Summertime in the Okanagan means road trip time, and those of us who live in the Valley expect the population to swell as car loads of families and tourists drive here to soak up the sun and enjoy a summer holiday. Road trips hold opportunities for fun and adventure, and relaxing retreats. We drive to new places to see new sights and to visit people. Sometimes we drive to the same places every year. Some road trips are made to get away from places…people…the past.

Road trips can also take us on journeys that involve risk and danger. In the Okanagan, traffic gets backed up on both sides of Kelowna’s single bridge. The drive in and out of the Valley behind a slow moving camper-trailer or a line of motor-homes not only heats up the car but often raises the blood pressure too. Hotels and motels fill to capacity and turn on the “no vacancy”sign, forcing the weary driver to perhaps drive longer than he or she should. The radio announcer instructs us to drive carefully on the long weekends and reminds us how many people were killed on the highway that same weekend last year.

Road Runner brings together work by five contemporary Canadian artists working in a variety of media who are exploring variations on the theme of road trips and car culture. The exhibition includes drawings, photographs, paintings, sculpture, video and installation work.

Vancouver-based artist Ken Gerberick has been collecting automobile parts since he was a young child growing up in the United States. During this time his two ambitions in life were to be an artist or run an auto salvage yard. As it happens, his auto part assemblages incorporate found objects salvaged from alleys and dumpsters around Vancouver.

Toronto-based artist Lee Goreas, originally from Kelowna, works in a variety of media including drawing, photography and video. Lee’s work explores the artist’s attraction to the concept of being “on the road” and the opportunities this provides for the blurring of reality and fiction, memory and imagination.

Vancouver-based artist David Pirrie’s practice includes both painting and drawing. Recently, Pirrie has turned his technical and formal skills to the subject of car crashes. While Pirrie’s work portrays the darker side of road trips and car culture, at the same time there is a delicacy and beauty in his rendering.

Jason van Horne is a Toronto-based artist who scavenges discarded materials to construct miniature vignettes that often depict scenes from a world on the verge of an apocalypse. For Road Runner, van Horne weaves his ‘madmax aesthetic’ into a new series of work that responds to the exhibition’s theme of road trips.

Collin Zipp is a Winnipeg-based multidisciplinary video/digital artist who manipulates and pushes his medium to create work that responds to, among other things, the experience of the road and landscape while traveling in a moving vehicle.

The Kelowna Art Gallery is very pleased to bring together the work of these five artists for Road Runner, and to introduce the work of Ken Gerberick, David Pirrie, Jason van Horne and Collin Zipp in their first Okanagan appearance.

It is hoped that Road Runner gives viewers an opportunity to get out of their cars, stretch their legs and walk away a little refreshed.

Linda Sawchyn

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