Waterscapes: Migration along the Vancouver Island, Fraser and Yangzi Rivers

Opening Friday, September 9th from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Exhibition runs from September 9, 2011 to January 7, 2012

Artist’s Talk: Friday, September 30 at noon

Free Docent Led Exhibition Tours: Saturday, October 22nd at 1:00pm & Saturday, November 19th at 1:00pm with Marie Egan

Campus Gallery – 900 Fifth Street, Entrance 5D

Curator: Gregory Ball

The Nanaimo Art Gallery, is honoured to present internationally acclaimed artist, Gu Xiong’s mixed-media installation entitled, Waterscapes: Migration along the Vancouver Island, Fraser and Yangzi Rivers from September 9, 2011 – January 7, 2012

This installation will reference the Fraser and Yangtze Rivers as a personal metaphor for migration and the formation of self-identity. Drawn out of his own experience as a migrant to Canada from China, the work also builds on his current research with individuals living and working on the rivers’ banks. Gu Xiong considers the history of each river as a route for colonization, migration, and movements toward global uncertainty. The installation is comprised of photographs, an imaginary map, and a metaphorical river of over 1500 small white boats that flows from outside to inside the museum space.

Xiong poses the question, “How can different cultures intertwine through personal journeys, and move together into a new space?”

Gu Xiong, a multi-media artist from China now lives in Canada, works with painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture, photography, video, digital imagery, text, performance art and installation.

Xiong received his BFA and MFA degrees from the Sichuan Fine Arts Institute in Chongqing, China. In Canada, he twice attended the Banff Centre for the Arts as artist-in-residence, and in addition to many other colleges and universities in Canada, the United States and China. He has served on Canada Council, the Governor General Awards Jury for Visual Arts, Media Art and Architecture, Canada Council Visual Art Grant Jury, Seattle Arts Commission Jury, BC Arts Council Jury, and Vancouver Foundation Jury. As Associate Professor in the Department of Art History, Visual Art, and Theory at the University of British Columbia, Gu Xiong is engaged in the disciplines of installation, painting, drawing, photography and contemporary art theory.

He has exhibited nationally and internationally including more than 40 solo exhibitions and three public art commissions. He has participated in over 80 prominent national and international group exhibitions including Border Zones: New Art Across Cultures, (Museum of Anthropology, Vancouver, 2010); Art Is Nothing – 798 Art Festival (Beijing, China); Post Avant-grade Chinese Contemporary Art – Four Directions of the New Era (Hong Kong, 2007. His work is represented in the collections of the National Gallery of Canada, the China National Museum of Fine Arts, and the Vancouver Art Gallery, among many other museums and private collections.

Xiong has done three large public art projects in Canada and United States, such as the Safeco Field, Washington State Major League Baseball Stadium, Seattle and the Seattle Public Library Columbia City Branch, Seattle, WA, USA; the MacDonald Stewart Art Centre Donald Forster Sculpture Park, University of Guelph, ON, Canada.

Xiong has published two books and ten solo exhibition catalogues. His writing and art works are published in art catalogues, magazines and newspapers. His art work has received significant critical recognition including reviews in the international art magazines, Flash Art and Art in America, and The New York Times. The documentary “The Yellow Pear: The Story of Gu Xiong” from the series A Scattering of Seeds: The Creation of Canada was broadcast on The History Channel in March, 2001. In the capacity of curator, Xiong has organized critically-acclaimed exhibitions of work by emerging artists in Canada and China.

Xiong’s practice centers on the creation of a hybrid identity arising from the integration of different cultural origins. Through the critical angle of visual art, his work encompasses sociology, geography, economics, politics, and literature, as well as the dynamics of globalization, local culture and identity politics, through which he constitutes an amalgamation of multiple cultural histories and seeks to create an entirely new identity. The construction of a new level of being is Gu Xiong’s primary interest.

The exhibition opening is sponsored by Vancouver Island University Faculty of International Education. Many THANKS for their sponsorship!