Rocky LaRock (b. 1958), is a Stó:lō master carver based in the community of Sts’ailes, his mother’s traditional Coast Salish territory. As a young artist, LaRock was introduced to the ceremonial objects passed down from his ancestors. He learned traditional carving techniques and narratives that tie his practice to his heritage and community. By incorporating non-traditional methods and materials, LaRock’s distinct visual language reflects contemporary themes, drawing a connection between present life and the supernatural. He carves with a chainsaw and power tools in place of traditional carving tools. LaRock masterfully renders the character and essence of spiritual figures, in some cases depicting beings in the process of decay, divided between the living world and the underworld. His work challenges perceptions of indigenous art, moving beyond ceremonial to contemporary art. The Reach (Abbotsford) recently presented a survey of his work in E’yies’lek Rocky LaRock: The Wild Inside (2021).
On view in the gallery are three works from Evan Lee’s Forged series, returning from a recent exhibition at the Evergreen Art Gallery. Through the arduous process of producing high-resolution still-life scans of cheaply produced dollar-store items, diamonds (both real and fake), or the painstaking manipulation of moistened instant noodles into abstract figures, Lee considers the extraordinary within the multitude of mundane, easily discarded and mass-produced objects that occupy our lives.
Evan Lee lives and works in Vancouver, B.C. His first major solo exhibition Captures was held at the Presentation House Gallery in North Vancouver in 2006, and included catalogue essays by Jeff Wall and Peter Culley. Since then, Lee has exhibited in numerous museums and institutions including the Vancouver Art Gallery, the Art Gallery of Windsor, the Contemporary Art Gallery, the Surrey Art Gallery, the Richmond Art Gallery, the Confederation Centre for the Arts, the Liu Hai Su Art Museum, and at the Winnipeg Art Gallery as a Sobey Award Finalist in 2014. Lee’s work has been published in Artforum, Frieze, Canadian Art Magazine, Art on Paper, Border Crossings, Flash Art, Yishu Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art and other publications.
Colleen Heslin’s recent work contains only the essential information, encompassing the vital energy necessary for life, evoking natural phenomenon, including the light of the sun, the glow of the moon, and the cycles of a day and a season. Her abstractions draw on spiritual meditation paintings from 17th century Hindu Tantras in Rajasthan, India, 19th century Amish quilt designs, along with 1960s Minimalism.
Recognized for her innovative, textile-based methods, Heslin’s work considers modern histories of painting and social aspects of the medium regarding gender and labor. Heslin pushes the limits of painting; it’s definitions, classifications and hierarchies, disrupting medium-based expectations. Heslin’s work is in the collections of the Vancouver Art Gallery, the Musee d’art Contemporain de Montreal, Simon Fraser University, and she has had solo exhibitions at the Charles H. Scott Gallery, the Esker Foundation, and the McMichael Canadian Art Collection.