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 Opening Reception

Thursday, October 13th
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
in the Michael Wright Art Gallery

Coastal Sentinels​ by Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki

Michael Wright Art Gallery #200-2253 Leigh Square
October 11, 2022 – January 10, 2023

The Michael Wright Art Gallery presents Coastal Sentinels by Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki. The Coastal Sentinels collection of paintings is a reminder of what we have right now and what may be lost for future generations. The images invoke the pristine, tactile, and subconscious experience of the beach, sometimes somber and dignified, shrouded in an array of grays, at other times exuberant with the almost hallucinogenic quality of light. This body of work celebrates the natural beauty while bringing up the pain points and fragility, illuminating the key-question: Can these places be saved?

mirkov-popovicki.com

Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki: Artist Interview

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

My painting practice stemmed from being uprooted when I immigrated to Canada in 1994 at the age of twenty-eight. I left my birthplace in former Yugoslavia during the time of civil war. I was deeply affected by seeing my once harmonious country become a place of destruction. Upon arriving in Vancouver I grappled with issues of belonging and alienation. My profession in electrical engineering helped me with the logistics of finding work and earning the living but my art practice facilitated an emotional connection with my new homeland. Seeing the landscape paintings by The Group of Seven and other Canadian artists triggered a desire to see this magnificent scenery with my own eyes and document the experience. The act of traveling with my husband across Western Canada and making paintings became a conversation with the landscape, which gave me a deep sense of belonging.

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

For the past twenty years, my favorite subject matter has been landscape. I’ve developed several bodies of work inspired by my travels to the Coastal Mountains, the Rockies, and the coast of British Columbia. My visual language in those paintings is representational, utilizing expressive marks, rich textures, and vibrant colours with acrylic paint on a small and large scale. This reflects my awe of the landscape and satisfies my need to decode the physicality of spectacular geological formations.

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

The idea of dedicating my creativity to becoming an integral part of the community has always been at the core of my practice. I’ve made hundreds of landscape paintings based on my travels to the traditional territories of the indigenous nations of western Canada. The images I created in the process were born from my love for this country and my need to connect with the communities that had accepted me as an immigrant all those years ago.

4. What is your dream project?

Looking forward, I am interested in expressing my complex feelings and concerns about how the land is treated, such as the environmental, post-colonial, and access-entitlement issues, to name just a few. I plan to expand my practice toward communicating my deep investment in the coast as a home, endangered life source, and place of continuous conflicts and survival.

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

The advice that has been most helpful since the early years of my practice came from several sources. It was about developing a method of self-critiquing my work before sending it out into the world and seeking feedback from others. When done systematically and somewhat formally, by going through a personal checklist of specific points, I found this practice extremely useful and empowering.

6. Name three artists who’ve inspired you.

The inspiration from other artists has been abundant, both from historical and contemporary sources. When I think specifically about the genre of expressive Canadian landscape painting, the mentors that come to mind are the Group of Seven painters, especially A. Y. Jackson with his jewel-like colours and lively brushwork. As a woman painter, I’ve been immensely inspired by the creative journey of Georgia O’Keeffe. I also have to mention my dear late teacher, Robert Genn, whose wise words on numerous topics related to the artist’s life still inspire me on daily bases.

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

During the pandemic, I traveled less and made good use of my reference material, especially my photographs and field sketches. I developed a habit of recording my painting process and I actively share my creative journey on social media. The Coastal Sentinels series was created during this time. I started it in the fall before the pandemic but what I didn’t foresee was how large this work would grow. As the scale of the pieces increased, it felt like I was recreating the experience of walking on the pristine, wild beaches amidst the ancient volcanic rock formations and beds of tangled seaweed. Aside from the limitations that the pandemic brought on, it also allowed me to spend more time in quiet contemplation surrounded by my paintings.

Footprints and other Worm Signals by Pierre Leichner

Outlet Art Gallery #110-2248 McAllister Avenue
September 29, 2022 – January 10, 2023

The Outlet Gallery presents Footprints and other Worm Signals by Pierre Leichner. In this series of works, Pierre digs deep into poor soil fertility caused by the use of toxic chemicals to kill earth worms. The goal of this ongoing ecological art project is to increase the awareness of the public, and to take a closed look at the ecological cost of perfect looking vegetables, fruits, gardens, and lawns.

leichner.ca

Artist Talk with Pierre Leichner
Join us for an artist talk with exhibiting artist Pierre Leichner in the Michael Wright Art Gallery on Thursday, October 20th from 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm.

Pierre Leichner: Artist Interview

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

I describe as an interdisciplinary artist with a focus on the environment and mental health with a community engaged practice when available.  I began as a full-time artist in 2011 after finishing my Masters in Fine arts in Montreal and returning to Vancouver.

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

I see artists as observers and commentators about the world around us. I believe art is an undervalued means of understanding and discovering our place in the environment and understanding ourselves. There are no shortages of issues in our environment and society from climate change to oppressive regimes.

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

I believe that art is necessary for individual and community health. Participation in the arts is not only good for one’s brain but builds relationships among all ages.

4. What is your dream project?

A permanent space for environmental art with year-round exhibitions and programming. Also, a permanent gallery with studio spaces for outsider artists (artists that are underrepresented and often marginalized).

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

Keep it simple and persist doing what you believe in and love.

6. Name three artists who’ve inspired you.

Hans Haacke, Joseph Beuys, Gilles Clement

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

Several cancellations for exhibitions and projects. A decrease of direct in person contacts being replaced by virtual meetings. Although I see some advantages, I worry that like with  emails correspondence they cannot replace in person communication.

God’s People are Beautiful by Coral Chen

City Hall Gallery 2580 Shaughnessy St
September 29, 2022 – January 10, 2023

The City Hall Gallery presents God’s People are Beautiful by Coral Chen. Coral bleeds, sings, and prays through her brush. An alchemist of light, color and flow, her masterful fingers weave exquisite precision into the fluid transmission of watercolors.

Love is present in every stroke. Stories are found in every curve. And Serenity is found in the eye of the Beholder who pauses long enough to listen.

coralyechen.com

Coral Chen: Artist Interview

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

I was born in a photographer’s family, and art has always been in my blood. After graduating from Jianghan University fine arts school (Wuhan, China) in 1988, I dedicated myself to raising my five children. Together, we lived in the USA, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Canada, where I now reside.

I am the elected representative of Canadian artists to participate in the 2022 Fabriano watercolour Festival, Italy.

My painting “Blessed are the Meek” won the winner of the International Watercolour Society 2022 7th International Golden Brush online Contest.

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

I work with all kinds of subjects. Inspired by God, nature, and the beauty of imagination, my heartfelt portraits are a prayerful offering to the Spirit.

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

Community support is the backbone of the local artists. Art events have enriched the local people’s life.

4. What is your dream project? 

Painting a series of First Nation people’s life or people’s life by the Coquitlam River.

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

The best art is in between the likeness and non-likeness.

6. Name three artists who’ve inspired you.

Modigliani, Claude Monet, and Andrew Wyeth.

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

I got more time to paint. But I couldn’t go to other countries for watercolour festival events, etc.. International shipping paintings for exhibitions are even more expensive.

Resurgence by Enda Bardell

Port Coquitlam Community Centre 2150 Wilson Ave
September 28, 2022 – January 10, 2023

The Port Coquitlam Community Centre Gallery presents Resurgence by Enda Bardell. In this series of works Enda personifies the trees of Pacific Spirit Park in Vancouver, BC. During her walks in this space, Enda was drawn to the decayed old growth tree stumps providing nutrition for new growth, creating a magical metamorphosis. They stand their ground, their purpose in life, as in death, is providing strength and leaving a valuable legacy for the next generation.

endabardell.com

 

Enda Bardell: Artist Interview

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

The beginning of my art career is long and varied. I was born in Estonia from where my family fled to Sweden as refugees to escape the Soviet Occupation of our country. My father’s crime was defending his country.

We immigrated to Canada after 7 years in Sweden when Stalin demanded the return of the refugees as they were considered to be the property of the USSR.

In the area where we lived, some of the Swedish children were not allowed to play with us refugee children which catapulted me into art. I had already started drawing when I was about six years old living in a remote location after someone gave me some art supplies. Later, when my mom worked in a paper factory where I had access to paper and cardboard I began making paper dolls and designing back to front wardrobes for them to give to girls in hopes of making friends to play with. I don’t know if this would be considered “professional practice”.

When arrived in Vancouver, Canada, one of my first schools was Admiral Seymour Elementary where my grad 6 teacher, Mr. McLaughlin, suggested I send one my drawings to an interschool art competition where I won a book for the school library. From then on I was an “artist” – painting in oils!

I continued with art until I found boys more interesting and married young. Reconnected with art again in the late 1960’s in acrylic hard-edge art under the mentorship of iconic Joan Balzar. In the early 1970’s I transferred to fabric art, designing ladies wear, and some men’s wear, pillow slips and aprons, selling at home parties which eventually led to opening Enda B. Fashion Limited.

Picked up acrylic hard-edge again, landing 2 works in the Estonian Art in Exile exhibition in 2010. This was preceded by connected with Toni Onley, who influenced me greatly in fast and loose watercolour painting which is what I paint now.

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

I love landscapes, especially the freedom and openness of skies without any man-made subjects except freighters in English Bay where I swim. I am deeply drawn to old growth trees with character, which I personify having had a deep relationship with trees as my friends when I was young in Sweden. I love creating old growth trees to give them character by whatever means works! I am also attracted to exposed formations rocks and microalgae at low tide at Point Grey Foreshore which I began to explore while distancing during the beginning of Covid. Some of these microalgae mounds and fossils take on a position of their own in self-defense!

3. What is your dream project?

A dream project for me would be to practice both hard-edge abstract in acrylics, which requires precision and planning, with intervals of painting loose and fast watercolours for pure enjoyment.

4. Name three artists who’ve inspired you.

Beginning with some of my favourite inspirational artists from a young teenager were Vincent Van Gough, Emily Carr, Lawren Harris, Joan Balzar, Mark Rothko and Toni Onley.

Exhibition Viewings

Michael Wright Art Gallery
#200-2253 Leigh Square
Fri – Sat 9:30 pm – 4:00 pm

Outlet Art Gallery
#110-2248 McAllister Avenue
Mon – Sat 9:30 pm – 4:00 pm

Port Coquitlam Community Centre
2150 Wilson Ave
Mon – Fri 7:00 am – 9:00 pm
Sat – Sun 8:00 am – 5:00 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