40 Vancouver Artists

This year, with Vancouver Special, the Vancouver Art Gallery is re-introducing its exhibition of local, contemporary artists. Every three years, they will select a group of Vancouver artists, many of whom are emerging. For the 2016 exhibition, Ambivalent Pleasures, Co-curators Daina Augaitis and Jesse McKee visited ninety studios and galleries in order to select their final forty artists.

The Vancouver Special name is based on a type of house that became popular in Vancouver, particularly on the Eastside, in the 1960s. The Vancouver Special was designed to cover as much lot as possible while keeping costs low. Over time, the house style became unpopular and new city zoning in the 1980s stopped the spread. More recently, though – particularly given Vancouver’s real estate and rental crush – some have started to appreciate the practicalities of the Vancouver Special’s interior space. Architects have been winning awards updating them for modern tastes.

‘From an institutional perspective,’ says the Vancouver Art Gallery’s Chief Curator and Associate Director Daina Augaitis, ‘the Vancouver Special’s phenomenal revival echoes the Vancouver Art Gallery’s own desire to revive a regular program of group exhibitions in order to take the pulse of the local art community, with a particular focus on emerging practices.’

Jesse Mckee – Head of Strategy at 221A Artist-Run Centre – explains that the Ambivalent Pleasures title of this year’s exhibition ‘came from the idea that artists are trying to find pleasure within the city but are also ambivalent about where they are, whether they’re here in Vancouver or in Mexico City for six months, or in Los Angeles for three. Being in Vancouver isn’t essential to their practice.’

Here are a few of the artist works you will see when you visit the VAG:



Kim Dorland. Blood Moon. 2015

Kim Dorland


Ryan Peter. Autogram (Double 2). 2016



Raymond Boisjoly. Author’s Preface. 2015



Mina Totino. The Soul Molecule. 2015



Eli Bornowsky. Child’s Compressor. 2016



Jordan Milner. Mobile. 2016



Mark Delong. Potatoes. 2016



Tamara Henderson. The Scarecrow’s Holiday. 2016



Walter Scott. Sea Urchins, Your Ancestors. 2016



Garry Neill Kennedy. Finchwell Revisited. 1985/2016



Elizabeth McIntosh. With The Moon Under My Arm. 2015



Ambivalent Pleasures runs at the VAG until April 17, 2017. If you are unable to get to the exhibit, the VAG and Black Dog Publishing have put out a book with images of the artworks, interviews, commentary and bios of the artists.

Ambivalent Pleasures Book

Written by Elizabeth Newton




Header Image: from Batts Rock. Elizabeth McIntosh.2015


The Chocolate Makers


Brad Hill

Elizabeth Newton

Elizabeth Newton