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Reach exhibitions blend philosophy and art

The Reach Gallery Museum in Abbotsford has been adding exhibitions since January, and now features five separate exhibitions.

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By Martin Castro (Contributor/Photos) – Email

Print Edition: March 25, 2015

Fiona Howarth’s silver gelatin photographs depict geothermal mining stations in a sobering light.

Fiona Howarth’s silver gelatin photographs depict geothermal mining stations in a sobering light.

The Reach Gallery Museum in Abbotsford has been adding exhibitions since January, and now features five separate exhibitions.

One of the more vibrant exhibits is Lorena Krause’s Fauna Crowned, a series of 10 mixed-media paintings on display in the grotto viewing area. The paintings, done in a a simple yet strikingly vivid colour palette, are all portraits of different women painted in a style that focuses particularly on the eyes, nose and forehead.

Surrealistic tendencies dominate the exhibit, as different animals and plant life inhabit the hair of each woman in Krause’s paintings. One painting, for example, shows a woman dressed in an ancient Egyptian style with several birds protruding from her elaborate headpiece. In each painting the hairstyle of the subject completely dwarfs the woman herself, drawing the eye not to the face, but to the intricately patterned designs that rest atop the subject’s head.

Buy One, Get None is an exhibit which focuses on consumerism, and considers “the complexity of living in a capitalist society founded on excessive material acquisition, extravagant waste, and the exploitation of others,” as David Seymour, the curator of the exhibit, writes.

Candice Okada’s “Water: Volume 1, 2012,” is a series of stark black-and-white photographs of bottles of water, all different shapes and sizes. The collection of 24 photographs, each of which portrays two bottles side by side, stands out on the white backdrop against which they are placed. Taking up most of a wall, the photographs first catch the eye — why are there 20 bottles of water being photographed? — then urge the gallery patron to consider their usage of water bottles. The exhibit’s philosophical implications are as intriguing as its aesthetics.

“Buy This #1-3,” three photographs by Kendra Schellenberg, depict “women sequestered in their homes.” The photographs show an unflinchingly vivid image of societal oppression, which, aided by the consumerism of the 1950s, made up the “American dream.” A smaller exhibit than the others that surround it, “Buy This” is nonetheless as powerful and thought-provoking as its counterparts: three women are depicted alongside an array of products and furniture, shown as being more a part of their environment than anything else. Although the type of oppression depicted is characteristic of a bygone era, “Buy This” asks whether or not we are far-removed  from the type of behaviours and values which led to such oppression in the first place.

Fiona Howarth’s silver gelatin photographs of a geothermal mining station show the drastic way in which the drive for natural fuel has been the cause for the alteration and, in some cases, irreparable damage of nature. Each photograph, framed in black, is as sobering as the next, and each photograph asks patrons the same question: is it worth it?

The exhibits will be on display until April 19.  The Reach offers free general admission.

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