Exhibitions

The Michael Wright Art Gallery (MWAG), Outlet Gallery, City Hall Gallery, and Port Coquitlam Community Centre feature a rotating program of exhibitions by local and regional artists. The exhibitions advance knowledge, appreciation and understanding of the visual arts by integrating art into community life and contributing significantly to the cultural landscape of Port Coquitlam.

 

Exhibition Viewings

Visit the exhibitions in person or view online. Please follow all COVID-19 safety protocols.

Snagged / Nadine Flagel

September 30, 2021 – January 10, 2022

The Michael Wright Art Gallery (MWAG) presents Snagged, a solo exhibition by Nadine Flagel. Nadine is a self-taught textile and fibre artist whose mission is making art out of “making do.” She is interested in the repurposing of both texts and textiles. Both practices rely on cutting up existing text(ile)s, on aesthetic and sensual appeal, on thrift, and on putting old things into new combinations, thereby intensifying and multiplying meanings.

@pretextstudio
pretextstudio.com

Nadine Flagel Artist Interview

1. Tell us a bit about yourself, what is your background and how did you begin your professional practice?
I’ve been engaged with reused text(ile)s in literature and textile art for over forty years. I grew up on the west coast of Canada reading borrowed books and sewing scraps of fabric into quilts.

At the beginning of my Ph.D. in English literature, in Halifax, NS, I encountered hooked rugs when I visited Doris Eaton’s studio. The dense soft colours were a revelation and an inspiration. Upon return to Vancouver, BC, I taught myself to hook rugs. Making rugs remained a hobby for several years while I taught literature and composition at postsecondary institutions.

During parental leave with my second child, I was inspired by Issue #24 of Uppercase Magazine to begin documenting and developing my original art practice. This led to a small business selling craft supplies and teaching rug hooking skills. With the generous mentorship of Michelle Sirois-Silver, I started teaching workshops at the prestigious Maiwa School of Textiles on Granville Island. With the assistance of curator Haruko Okano in 2018, I organized a group exhibition of original hooked rugs in East Vancouver, encouraging other rug makers to self-identify as artists. I have been awarded two Creative Spark grants from the City of Vancouver for to make art with youth. With a partner, I’ve also completed a large permanent artwork for a community centre in Richmond, BC. I also write and speak in public about craft. This is my second solo exhibition.

2. What subject matter do you work with and why?
I’m interested in the limits of sustainability and in architectural forms: labyrinths, warehouses, stores, features of large buildings. These are all clearly symbolic art objects: how I render them says something about what I think about art and other artists. I’m usually irreverent in some way – often through technique, experiment, or material. But in another more consistent way I’m working through homage to the structures and frameworks that brought us here.

3. How does the idea of community relate to your practice?
In addition to having a socially-engaged art practice, where I sometimes work with youth, seniors, and other groups to generate art, I try to contribute to the communities of people who hook rugs. It’s a small group, but they are extremely generous, supportive, and well-connected. We don’t do egos.

4. What is your dream project?
A series of rugs based on all of the episodes of James Joyce’s Ulysses, to be installed in an Important Irish Library. Each episode = one wallhanging. I know a lot of the novel well from teaching it, but this project would give me a chance to re-read parts of the novel I’m not as familiar with, and to push at the boundaries of Joyce’s own spreadsheet guides to the novel (which are called the Schemata). Ulysses is a wonderful book and I can’t think of anything more entertaining and challenging than picking up its threads and pulling them into new patterns.

5. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given as an artist?
“Finish the research; don’t finish a rug.” This was during a residency when I was concerned about my productivity, especially in relation to writers and watercolorists whose output was much more significant. Rug hooking is a slow art.

6. Name three artists who’ve inspired you.
Melissa Ferreira Schwager worked in rag yards sorting fabric and then started up a small fashion design label in Vancouver, Adhesif, which specializes in salvaged fabrics, especially sweaters. She’ll take ten silk and polyester scarves and create a timeless tunic. She’s recently moved to Germany and is doing incredible eco-printing. Melissa generously gave me permission to adapt her photograph for my series of works.

Smoking Lily is the Victoria-based fashion label with fabulous silkscreen prints on comfortable jerseys. Zero-waste, local creativity. I’m working on a quilt made out of all my old Smoking Lily tees.

Michelle Sirois-Silver is an extraordinary rug artist who tells me I can do it all and tells me how and then shows a piece that is so impossibly beautiful that it brings tears to my eyes, dammit.

7. How has COVID-19 impacted your professional practice?
At first it delayed things because I was providing childcare instead of getting prepared for my first solo show. But then as the kids went back to school it offered more time to make art. What I miss most is teaching – that’s why I’m so excited to teach a small workshop alongside this exhibition!

Symbols of Transformation / Jennie Johnston

September 30, 2021 – January 10, 2022

The Outlet Gallery presents Symbols of Transformation, a collection of works from our Fall Artist-in-Residence, Jennie Johnston. Jennie grew up in rural Quebec and has a Fine Arts Degree from Mount Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick. Her work studies the human condition as it relates to nature, social justice and ancestry.

@jenniejohnstonartist
jenniejohnston.com

Jennie Johnston Artist Interview

1. Tell us a bit about yourself, what is your background and how did you begin your professional practice?

I grew up in rural Quebec on a dairy farm and was surrounded by creative women in my family. This allowed me to feel empowered to explore my artistic side from a young age. I went to Mount Allison University in New Brunswick and graduated with a BFA in 2001 and then moved to Vancouver. I spent a few years pursuing other interests in fashion and music before meeting my husband and beginning our family. During my time at home with my sons, I was able to explore my interest in quilting and embroidery and when my youngest son was two years old, I felt ready to begin applying for exhibition opportunities and pursuing an art career.

2. What subject matter do you work with and why?

My interests in my ancestry, identity, and nature factor heavily into my work. This has emerged with imagery of birds, especially crows, and exploring memory and liminal spaces. In some ways, I am looking to explore who I am and where I come from, while also reflecting on how humans interact with each other and the earth.

3. How does the idea of community relate to your practice?

I have developed several community-related projects which allow me to engage others to learn about and appreciate quilting and embroidery. I also participate in community-based projects lead by others such as the UDHR Quilt project based in Australia and the Patchwork Healing Blanket based in Mexico. These projects allow me to be a voice in dialogue with other makers and artists and speak out about social justice issues that are important to me.

4. What is your dream project?

I am beginning a body of work this fall that I have been planning for over 5 years. This work explores my identity, ancestry, and place in Canada as the descendent of settlers to this land. Making this work and eventually exhibiting it will be the culmination of a long-held dream.

5. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given as an artist?

The best piece of advice I’ve been given is to look at my career as a marathon rather than a sprint and to avoid comparisons with other artists. Since social media is so prevalent for artists now it is getting harder not to compare the success of other artists to your own. But we must focus on our own journey and let the journeys of others inspire us rather than make us feel inadequate.

6. Name three artists who’ve inspired you.

Norman Gladu
Judy Chicago
Faith Rinngold

7. How has COVID-19 impacted your professional practice?

When work from home orders came into effect in March of 2020 my husband took over our third bedroom which was my home studio space. Letting go of that space was very hard for me, but I learned to work more fluidly and adapt to change as best I could. Which was also a lesson that being a parent has taught me. Other than that, it did not change my practice much at all. I kept working, sharing, and looking for opportunities to be in the community with my art.

 

Lifeforms / Jessie Somers

October 13, 2021 – January 10, 2022

The City Hall Gallery presents Lifeforms by Jessie Somers. In this collection of works Somers takes an explorative look at westcoast wildlife. This exhibition features unique resin coated paintings, impressions of creatures and natural spaces found in our home, British Columbia.

@jessiesomersart
facebook.com/jessiesomers

Jessie Somers Artist Interview

1. Tell us a bit about yourself, what is your background and how did you begin your professional practice?
Art has always been a meaningful part of my life, from a young age I was drawing and observing my environment with a critical eye. Through high school I found art was a helpful tool for communication and self-expression, it gave me something words couldn’t when I struggled through depression or self-doubt. The choice to study fine art professionally at a university level was simple, but really gave me the confidence to learn and speak about my work and to continue on and share with others.

2. What subject matter do you work with and why?
Like many other amazing artists, I draw inspiration from nature, the environment, and the animal life forms that make their home here on the West coast. I’m especially drawn to aquatic themes.

3. How does the idea of community relate to your practice?
I want my work to be relatable and accessible to everyone in our community. From something as simple as the use of color in my work to broader themes such as environmental impact, I wish for the viewer to come away with a sense of curiosity and appreciation for the natural spaces we live in.

4. What is your dream project?
I tend to work on a smaller scale with my paintings as I’m hindered by challenges with space and resin can be difficult to work within a larger way. A dream project of mine would be to create a series of larger pieces incorporating natural materials found in BC. Or perhaps to find a way to collaborate with the public in an interactive art experience.

5. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given as an artist?
Not so much advice, but words I find inspire me, “By all means create.” No matter where you are in your creative journey, create with whatever means you have available! These words became a daily mantra while working alongside other artists at Opus Art Supplies.

6. Name three artists who’ve inspired you.
While I was working at Opus I met many amazing and inspirational local artists living in BC. I definitely draw on their successes and consistent work to keep me going. A few names that come to mind include April Lacheur and Sarah Ronald and the artists at Art Focus. I also greatly appreciate the creative minds of the children I work with on a daily basis at Hazelwood Early Learning Center.

7. How has COVID-19 impacted your professional practice?

It’s been a difficult year and a half with COVID heavily impacting life for everyone, opportunities for in-person art viewing are just starting to become available again, and many art markets were canceled or postponed, making it challenging to make a living as an artist. While the future is still full or unknown, I’m so glad I am able to keep on creating. Creativity is contagious!

This is Love / Joon Lee

September 30, 2021 – January 10, 2022

The Port Coquitlam Community Centre Gallery presents Is This Love by Joon Lee. In this collection of works, Lee explores the intoxicated feeling we attribute to love. It transcends the past, present, and future that binds our emotional experiences. Time does not bind love; it is the only aspect of life that can manipulate time naturally.

@kdotclee
kdotclee.com

Joon Lee Artist Interview

1. Tell us a bit about yourself, what is your background and how did you begin your professional practice?
I’m Joon from Seoul, South Korea, residing in Vancouver and I started my practice with hand cut collaging to discipline and challenge colour theory, form, and composition to juxtapose its rhythm.

2. What subject matter do you work with and why?
I work with a variety of subject matter as my main interest in the arts catalogues the form of experimentation through colour. As visually stimulating colour is, I believe that it can also affect one’s mentality and their mood.

3. How does the idea of community relate to your practice?
Art in itself is meant to be shared to push it’s limits and discover new experiments so I love the idea that art is surrounded by our community as it tends to spark a conversation.

4. What is your dream project?
I would like to sculpt giant egg shells so I can “egg” the whole city as to make a witty tribute to nature that’s been overrun by concrete buildings.

5. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given as an artist?
Inspiration and motivation won’t give you answers. Focus on the discipline within experimentations every day and I promise that you’ll find your voice, your authenticity.

6. Name three artists who’ve inspired you.
Cy Twombly, Willem De Kooning, Barbara Hepworth

7. How has COVID-19 impacted your professional practice?
I had to adapt to the shift of how people seek art and learned to progress my work to simpler forms to juxtapose current affairs. Now my practice is a form of escapism rather than a commentary of the modern times.

Exhibition Viewings 

Exhibition viewings are now available. Facial coverings are required.

Michael Wright Art Gallery
#200-2253 Leigh Square
Saturdays 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Outlet Art Gallery
#110-2248 McAllister Avenue
Tues, Thurs and Sat 9:30 am – 4:30 pm

Port Coquitlam Community Centre
2150 Wilson Ave
Mon – Fri
7:30 am – 1:00 pm
4:00 pm – 8:00 pm

City Hall Gallery
2580 Shaughnessy St
Mon – Fri 8:30 am – 4:30 pm

For general inquiries please contact arts@portcoquitlam.ca

Contact

Lesley Perrie 
Public Art & Engagement Specialist
Tel 604.927.8442
Email perriel@portcoquitlam.ca