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.

Beyond Visions and Vistas​ / Art Focus Artists’ Association

January 13, 2022 – April 25, 2022

The Michael Wright Art Gallery (MWAG) presents Beyond Visions and Vistas, a group exhibition by Art Focus Artists’ Association. This exhibition includes work from local artist and featuring imagery of Port Coquitlam’s buildings, rivers, and parks. There are over 30 members in Art Focus ranging from emerging to highly accomplished artists who work in various mediums. Art Focus is highly involved in the community and raises funds annually for their local scholarship fund.

artfocusartistsassociation.com

Art Focus Artists’ Association: Artist Interview

1. Tell us a bit about your group
AFAA was established in 1993, There are over 30 artists in our group and our members all share the love of creating artwork. Our membership is open to any level of experience with some artists wishing to pursue it as a hobby and some working toward a professional level. We meet 3 times monthly from September to June. In usual times (not COVID-19) we have 2 art shows each year. We have public Facebook and Instagram pages as well as our own website at artfocusartistsassociation.com

2. Which artists are in your network?
Artists of all levels and artistic ability may join Art Focus.

3. If an artist wanted to join Art Focus, how might they do that?
In-person at a meeting or online at artfocusartistsassociation.com

4. How can art bring a community together?
Art brings a community together in different ways. By creating art within a club, members share experiences and a sense of community. This is evident in our plein air painting excursions.

Art in a city embellishes it and makes it more livable. Group projects where the public is invited creates ties in the community. Art Focus welcomes the public to attend free demos by professional artists. Also we have a scholarship fund for deserving students who will pursue studies in the arts that go out to 3 high schools every year: RiverSide High School, Terry Fox High School, and ArchBishop Carney High School. All these initiatives create an “art” outreach.

5. Describe the intended impact of your projects.
a) Our group projects have included a community-included painting that was later given, by method of a draw, to one individual who participated in the project.
b) We have completed two large murals: one for the Dialysis Clinic (which serves Port Coquitlam & other communities) and the Heritage flood mural.
c) Created a large Canada flag group project which has been used at several Canada Day celebrations. Some community members take their photo in front of it.
d) We host a children’s painting tent at Canada Day.
e) We participate in PoCo Farmers Markets.

6. What’s the purpose or goal of your work?
Our group projects draw our group together and provide awareness and sometimes participation of the community.

7. How has COVID-19 impacted your professional practice?
a) COVID-19 limited our in-person meetings. However to hold the group together, we continued to meet online via Zoom.
b) We met weekly over the summer, masked and distanced, to paint plein air at various locations.
c) We created a virtual art show in lieu of being able to offer one in-person.
d) To keep further connected as a group, we have a private members-only Facebook site where fellow members may keep in touch with each other, offer tips, information etc.

Far From the Shallow​ / Sepideh Saba

January 13, 2022 – April 25, 2022

The Outlet Gallery presents Far From the Shallow, a solo exhibition by Sepideh Saba. Sepideh is an Iranian Canadian artist who has been working with watercolour since 2017. Her paintings capture the dynamic vistas of British Columbias landscapes and seascapes. Her work is an attempt to capture the feeling of ‘having been there’ and recapturing the experience. It is about fresh air, serenity, peace and memory of a place.

ssaba.art
ssaba.ca

Sepideh Saba: Artist Interview

1. Tell us a bit about yourself, what is your background and how did you begin your professional practice?
I’m Sepideh Saba, originally from Iran and moved to Vancouver in 2010. I am a full-time software Engineer. Throughout my life I always enjoyed doing an occasional sketch of an object or a landscape. In 2017 to decided to pursue this hobby a bit further. To find what I really like to do I started trying different mediums: oil painting, acrylic, and watercolor. When I started trying watercolor, I instantly fell in love with it, and I knew that moment that I want to do watercolor for rest of my life. I found a deep passion in watercolor and since then my focus is to advance my skills in watercolor in my free time.

2. What subject matter do you work with and why?
I mostly do landscapes, but anything that gives me a good feeling I like to paint it the way I feel about it.

3. How does the idea of community relate to your practice?
Community is very important to an artist as the art meant to be shared. In last few years I couldn’t contribute to community the way I wish to. I am hoping to do more community work related to my art and get more involved in art groups and start teaching.

4. What is your dream project?
My dream project is that one day I fully focus on painting series of city scape, especially the older part of Vancouver with lost of people, cars, and old building I want to capture the livelihood of the city.

5. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given as an artist?
To slow down and enjoy the process of painting. This advice is very important to me as I am a new artist and sometimes the finished artwork is not what I expected or takes longer than I anticipated to complete.

6. Name three artists who’ve inspired you.
With the power of social media and getting to know many artists, most of the artists inspire me through the journey they took to become an artist, their artwork, and their artistic vision. I learn something from everyone.

7. How has COVID-19 impacted your professional practice?
Yes, very much. Most of my exhibition, classes, and group painting were cancelled due to Covid-19 and I found myself not having the passion to paint for a short while. Hopefully slowly I am building that up again.

Under a Sky, Labelled Blue​ / August Bramhoff

January 13, 2022 – April 25, 2022

The Port Coquitlam Community Centre Gallery presents Under a Sky, Labelled Blue by August Bramhoff. August is a visual artist based in Vancouver, BC. Her main practice is analog photography, with a focus on street photography from a community perspective. In 2013 she was involved in an accident that left her with permanent brain damage, “I identify as an artist living with a disability, and also as being a member of the LGTBQIA2S+ community.”

augustbramhoff.com

August Bramhoff: Artist Interview

1. Tell us a bit about yourself, what is your background and how did you begin your professional practice?
I was a creative child; always playing make believe and creating stories. I loved to draw and I loved my paint set. When I was in my late teens I bought my first second-hand camera, and I started learning how to take Photographs. I taught myself how to shoot by reading books and assisting on Photo Shoots. In my own time I would take a lot of photos of friends and I got into street photography, which lead to shooting live events, concerts, editorials, and corporate clients.

About eight years ago I survived a very serious accident. As I was rehabbing and regaining my strength, I realized how close I came to completely loosing my ability to create. This motivated me to take the next step and cement myself as a working artist, which also came with the challenges of learning how to live with a disability.

Today I credit my love for film photography for getting me through some of my most challenging times. Although I still face difficulties, I always have a reliable companion in my camera.

2. What subject matter do you work with and why?
I still shoot a lot of street/scenery photography. It’s always available, it’s constantly changing, and it challenges me to interact with and observe the environment. I find that it is also adaptable; if I don’t have the strength to go for a trek in the woods, I can usually find a great shot somewhere in my neighbourhood, or in my backyard.

3. How does the idea of community relate to your practice?
Community is important to my art practice. Being a working artist can be difficult, and it is important to have the support of a community to keep you going. Many times I have attended and/or participated in community events, and not only do I meet a wide variety of interesting people, I also have a relaxed environment to try new projects, and also hone my existing skills.

The small business community is also very important to my work. If there were no Camera Stores, Art Supply stores, and local Photo Labs it would be difficult to gain access to the supplies and services I need to be an artist. I appreciate having these businesses where I live and they are an important part of my working life.

4. What is your dream project?
I would like to try my hand at shooting a short movie, all in film, of course.

5. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given as an artist?
One of the best pieces of advice I ever heard was to push yourself to where you feel just a little bit uncomfortable. When you feel like to you’re feet can’t touch the bottom of the pool, but you are not about to drown, this is where you can make some of your best work.

6. Name three artists who’ve inspired you.
Joni Mitchell; She taught me how important it is to tell a story.

Nicolas Roeg; impressed upon me his cinematic style.

Douglas Copland; the first author I ever read that wrote like he wanted to.

7. How has COVID-19 impacted your professional practice?
The pandemic has created distance. For the first time as Photographer I did not feel comfortable approaching anyone that was less than six feet away. The events and rituals I took for granted shut down and/or faded. It became very quiet very fast.

Again, I found myself in a place where I wasn’t sure what might happen to me. Having lived through an event that had an adverse outcome on my health, I took/take COVID-19 very seriously. I was very fearful. At the same time, I also felt a sense of abandon; I thought if I don’t do it today, I might not be able to do it tomorrow. This conflicting sense of duties are, I think, the only way I was, and have been able, to keep having creative output.

In my Photography practice, I adapted and made changes. I traded my usual gear for a foam core box and made an incredible series of Victorian-era pictures. When I did leave my house to shoot, I started putting distance to my images, which changed how I related to the environment. I took in the whole scene instead of pieces. Later, when the restrictions were rolled back, I started to shoot in street photography style, but the distance is still there. The distance may never go away.

The Tranquillity / Vera Sidorova

January 13, 2022 – April 25, 2022

The City Hall Gallery presents The Tranquillity by Vera Sidorova. Vera is a local Port Coquitlam multimedia artist and art tutor practicing with traditional and digital media. Her work includes coloured pencil portraits and lifelike botanicals, as well as acrylic still-life painting.

veraartsketch
facebook.com/VeraSidorovaArt

Vera Sidorova: Artist Interview

1. Tell us a bit about yourself, what is your background and how did you begin your professional practice?
I was born and raised in Russia – a country famous for literature, ballet, classical music, architecture, etc. I grew up in a house with a huge library. Once, when I was around 8 years old, I tried to copy one of Leonardo da Vinci drawings from an art book with felt markers but was dissatisfied with the result. His lines looked like he drew them easily but yet it was impossible to reproduce them. So I only dreamed about being able to make something simple and beautiful. Since then I enjoyed art from my books and visiting galleries but never had a chance to practice it on a serious level.

After graduation from high school I chose a publishing business career. It looked very promising and interesting and it was close to art. After receiving my bachelor degree I worked on TV, published educational books for kids, some business newspapers and magazines.

A few years later my family moved to Canada. I had to study again and think about my new career. I was very anxious about my language skills, especially communication. It was exhausting – everything was new to me – country, language, culture. At that time doing art was my way to deal with stress. Later I decided to participate in community art projects to get real life experience. Surprisingly, I won a city grant for making art to be printed on Christmas cards. Also I won space in an art gallery to display my watercolours at a personal exhibition. It happened in 2015, one year after we moved to Canada. These little achievements motivated me to move forward as an artist and my dream came true. Officially I became an art tutor in 2021. Now my specialisation is realistic acrylic painting. However, I have experience with other techniques as well.

2. What subject matter do you work with and why?
I like to paint realistic still lifes. It is one of the first things that art students study at school. This practice should be an easy one but it actually has a lot of room for professional development. Some artists do still lifes as a warm up and prefer to paint something more alive or different. I like bringing it to another level. Still lifes gives me some challenges that I am after. I also love still life for its expressiveness. I can show any emotion in still lifes using composition, choice of colours and values, technique as I would do at portrait painting.

3. How does the idea of community relate to your practice?
I would not become a professional artist without community support. Making art as a hobby feels good, making art as a profession feels awesome. All my students belong to the same community as myself. I am glad that I can share my experience with people who have similar goals and interests.

4. What is your dream project?
I would write a book about making art, especially how to see and notice things like artists do. I am still quite far away from it. So far it is just a dream that requires a huge collection of visual examples, and enormous experience with students. Another dream project (more realistic one) is an installation where I could show to the community how the colours of human made objects changed over time. Some colours we see now everywhere did not exist less than 100 years ago.

5. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given as an artist?
Practice. Practice includes painting object observation and hands-on experience with chosen materials. For realistic painting artists should not skip observation, otherwise art will have a symbolic appearance not realistic one.

6. Name three artists who’ve inspired you.
I love Leonardo da Vinci’s work. Trying to copy his masterpieces still hurts. Probably he became a genius because graphite pencil with an eraser was not invented during his days, so he had no room for mistakes.

My recent inspiration is Canadian artist Paraskeva Clark, in particular her self-portrait with a Concert Program, 1942. It is a great example of out of the box thinking. She painted all important parts of the portrait except the concert program. She integrated the real program to canvas. I love it.

Also, I like local artists, for example Michael King. He frequently paints PoCo landscapes. I visited some places from his paintings. He definitely can choose the best angle of view and composition at plein air. He has a talent.

7. How has COVID-19 impacted your professional practice?
I lost my part time job because of COVID-19. But I had more time to think about opening my home art studio. Hard times make people, especially business owners, to be more creative. At the beginning of the pandemic I thought it would be the worst idea to create a business but one year later I opened mine.

 

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