Friend or Foe; curated by CCST candidate Darrin Martens

Exhibition runs from April 24 to May 29, 2010.

Friend or Foe is an exhibition featuring new work by two of Canada’s most respected visual artists – Rebecca Belmore and Terrance Houle, curated by Darrin Martens MA Candidate, Critical and Curatorial Studies, UBC.

Opening at the Or Gallery in Vancouver on April 24, 2010

Titled Friend or Foe the exhibition explores the stereotyped First Nations body within contemporary social contexts. Belmore shall be represented by a new video projection based on a recent performance held at the University of British Columbia’s Museum of Anthropology. The performance explores, on one level the relationship between First Nations and the Museum and secondly the homeless aboriginal body. Alongside this work will be a reconfigured video work from the 2009 Hive Festival- Victorious. Houle’s contribution includes a recent series of pin-hole photographs documenting and questioning aboriginal stereotypes within the context of First Nations dioramas at the Calgary Stampede alongside a new video projection which examines the myths and proliferations of “Indian Sign Language” and the question of identity presented within this context.

Guest curator Darrin Martens explains, “Friend or Foe boldly questions how the Aboriginal body may be utilized to create and dismantle First Nations stereotypes. Belmore and Houle, each in their own way, utilize their own body and the performance medium to delve into and explore colonialism and the social affects of racial stereotyping.”

Anishinabe born Rebecca Belmore bases her practice in Vancouver, British Columbia. Since 1987, her multi-disciplinary work has addressed history, place and identity through the media of sculpture, installation, video and performance. Belmore was Canada’s official representative at the 2005 Venice Biennale.

Terrance Houle is an internationally recognized multi-disciplinary artist of Blood Tribe ancestry based in Calgary, Alberta. Houle studied at the Alberta College of Art & Design earning a BFA in Fibre in 2003. In 2004, his short, The Wagon Burner, won the Best Experimental Film Award at the imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival in Toronto.

The Or Gallery is an artist-run centre committed to exhibiting work by local, national, and international artists whose art practice is of a critical, conceptual and/or interdisciplinary nature. Since its inception in 1983 the gallery has acted as a laboratory for research, proposition making, conceptual experimentation and documentation.

The Or Gallery Society gratefully acknowledges the support of the Canada Council, the Province of BC through the BC Arts Council, the City of Vancouver, our members, donors, and volunteers. Or Gallery is a member of the Pacific Association of Artist Run Centres (PAARC).

Friend or Foe is presented with support from the Killy Foundation, the Alvin Balkind Fund for Student Curatorial Initiatives, the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, and the Department of Art History, Visual Art and Theory at The University of British Columbia.