Three local artists exhibit their latest creations

Prepare to be visually enthralled as the Burrard Arts Foundation (BAF), a visual arts nonprofit gallery, presents an exhibit of paintings (Aug. 29–Oct. 10) from three Vancouver artists participating in the BAF’S Residency Program and the BAF’s Garage: abstract painter Russna Kaur, realist portraitist Cara Guri and Olivia di Liberto.

During the time of COVID-19, artists need a support network and a place to display their work. BAF Garage “was converted from a former loading bay, and the intention of the space is both to spark curiosity, engaging passersby into the gallery, and to act as a low-barrier way for local artists to get involved in BAF’s activities,” says program manager Genevieve Anne Michaels.

Kaleidoscopic scene

Cara Guri’s exhibition Interstice will open on Aug. 29 | Photo courtesy of Cara Guri

An Extraterrestrial Picnic, an exhibition from the artist di Liberto, will be displayed to the public 24 hours a day in Baf’s Garage street-facing, glass-fronted public exhibition space.

According to di Liberto, this program is important for new artists because of the possibility of getting emerging artists close to the public, especially during COVID-19 restrictions.

“[This psychedelic art] is an installation using paper and foam board cut outs, lighting, painting and objects to create a scene of aliens having a picnic,” says di Liberto. “This creation brings references [of] the 1960s/70s counterculture movement and psychedelia yet remains to have a child-like design aesthetic which is perfect for an audience of all ages.”

Viewers will be highly stimulated visually, says di Liberto, as there are so many things to look at and so much detail.

Portraits and abstract colours and textures

An Extraterrestrial Picnic by Olivia di Liberto will be on exhibit Aug. 29– Oct.10. | Photo courtesy of Olivia di Liberto

Kaur and Guri are the latest participants in BAF’s Residency Program, which offers creative support and professional development to qualified Vancouver-based artists in a city where space, time and financial resources needed to create art can be scarce.

“The BAF Residency Program helps artists surpass these barriers, providing a dedicated space for creative production in Vancouver and facilitating work that otherwise may not have been realized. BAF Artist Residencies provide studio space, a materials budget, and an artist fee,” says Michaels.

Resident artists are immersed in a ten-week creative workshop in BAF’s Vancouver studio, followed by an exhibition.

Kaur’s painting is called Suddenly her lips sharpened – it was splendid. Her paintings are inspired by elements of her Punjabi origin: the colours from the fabrics sold in her mother’s boutique and from the festivals and ceremonies in her community have a profound influence on her creations. The result of this creative process is a combination of colour and different surfaces such as stretched silk, velvet, wood panels and canvas, and also fragments of her text composition, including the poem which names the exhibition.

Guri’s exhibition, called Interstice, consists in meticulously realistic, historically-influenced portraits, which showing the the viewer a frame of the sensory stimuli of the moment in which each of her pieces of art were created. This includes objects and items that expound on the scene being reproduced, as well as the artist’s self-portrait called Growth Spurt.

Suddenly her lips sharpened – it was splendid, an exhibit by Russna Kaur | Photo courtesy of Russna Kaur

Michaels affirms that BAF is adapted to be a safe COVID-19 environment, such as limiting thenumber of guests in the gallery and replacing printed exhibition guides with QR codes. The adaptation to these protocols will be challenging, but Michaels is hopeful that art galleries will be, with health safety measures, a safe social distancing-friendly activity.

“The arts have made it through many challenging times in history before, and I’m excited to see how the industry evolves,” she says.

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