BC Binning, Devon Knowles and Renée Van Halm: Leave the Window Open
Renée Van Halm
September 9, 2019 - October 12, 2019
Equinox Gallery is very pleased to present Leave the Window Open, an exhibition that considers the space of architecture and its relationships to materials, memory and abstraction in light of the after-effects of modernism. Three British Columbia-based artists from three distinct generations are included in the exhibition: B.C. Binning, Devon Knowles, and Renée Van Halm. The fields of practice of the artists each examine built environments, taking those observations and insights and transforming them into paintings, sculptures, and installations.
glass, plastic bag, plastic packaging, plastic ribbon, rolling paper packaging. CAD currency, lead, tin, asphalt, styrofoam, leaves, copper, steel, paint
20” x 20” x 2”
Bertram Charles (BC) Binning was one of Canada’s foremost modern artists, architectural innovators, and educators. His early work from the 1940s was characterized by elegant, expressive yet controlled line drawings, often with nautical themes, using brilliant colour to express the painting’s flatness as a structural element and emphasizing a strong sense of order and composition. In 1941 Binning designed and built his flat-roofed, post-and-beam home in West Vancouver, which became the key example of West Coast modernist design, shaping the area’s architectural landscape for the next decade. His interest in architecture led to the design of large mosaic murals for public buildings, including the British Columbia Electric Building (1955). This interest also informed his paintings from the 1960s and 1970s which gradually evolved to purely abstract forms and explorations of clear colour and form.
Devon Knowles investigates the histories, economies and social meanings of diverse materials – from denim fabric and aluminum to coloured glass and concrete. In moving such substances from their everyday context to a new environment, our appreciation of their properties and capacities becomes heightened. In working and reworking material, using traditional and contemporary fabrication methods, a rich language of the interplay of material and method emerges. As she engages with theories of perception, optical effects and tactility, alongside the direct act of making, Knowles encourages the viewer to access her work from a shared intimacy and sympathetic attentiveness.
Renée Van Halm has been a significant figure in Canadian art for over forty years, both as a practicing artist and as an arts educator. In the early part of her career, Van Halm was interested in creating forms that were hybrids of many media, not purely painting, sculpture, or architecture. The evolution of her subject and medium has led her to consider the many forms of visual presentation in our culture. Van Halm draws her images from a variety of sources: mainstream fashion, architecture and decor magazines, and more recently the work of 1920s Bauhaus artists and weavers, in considering the ways in which architectural space governs contemporary human experience.