“Semi-precious: The Faceting of a Gemstone Only Appears Complete
and Critical”


March 13–March 29, 2019
Closing reception, Friday, March 29, 8pm

With Alison Denham, Billy Marchenski, Aryo Khakpour, Kate Franklin, Lisa Gelley, Josh Martin, Rianne Svelnis, Erika Mitsuhashi, Elissa Hanson, Ileanna Cheladyn, Kaia Shukin & Layla Marcelle Mrozowski

In studio sessions open to the public:
March 13: 1–4pm
March 14: 1–4pm
March 16: 12–3pm
March 17: 12–3pm
March 23: 12–3pm
March 25: 12–3pm
March 27: 12–3pm
March 29: 5–8pm

Semi-precious: The Faceting of a Gemstone Only Appears Complete and Critical is an ongoing project conceived of by Justine A. Chambers. The latest iteration of Semi-precious will take the form of a working studio residency, where Artspeak will be utilized as a dance studio. During this time Chambers with several long-time collaborators will together develop and write a movement and dance score. Further building on previous scores written by Chambers, Semi-precious considers the possibilities of the multiple, and the potential to build upon collective aspirations through reiterated actions.

Grounded in a consideration of rest and healing, central to Semi-precious is the idea that the craft of faceting gemstones requires patience. Semi-precious is a study of movement, writing, speaking, feeling and forming relationships. It is through a somatic and embodied approach that the relationality between the members of Semi-precious determine the form and the shape of the work. Approaching Chamber’s scores as propositions, the studio will take the time to sit with what resonates, working towards shaping a lexicon that deepens methodologies of gesture and movement, and embodied and non-verbal forms of knowledge.

Chamber’s residency at Artspeak is but one part of the wider project of Semi-precious that considers wider questions of how we can develop frameworks, or inhabit already existing structures and systems that allow for our collective aspirations to unfold. What are the shifts and disruptions that we want to embody, and what are the ways that we can do this together?

For Semi-precious, to practice and work in this public manner requires an openness and acceptance of vulnerability as part of their methodology. As part of Chamber’s studio residency, a new work Rock Garden by Natalie Purschwitz has been commissioned for Artspeak’s windows. With the windows opening onto Carrall Street, Rock Garden shifts the role of the passerby beyond that of mere spectator, as they become an implicated participant.  Rock Garden approaches the questions of Semi-precious through the lens of opacity and transparency to reflect a polyphony of perspectives. Rock Garden also traces the incremental passing of time, as the light of the sun passes through the space.


Artspeak is a non-profit artist run centre established in 1986. The mandate of the gallery is to encourage a dialogue between visual art and writing.

Artspeak actively contributes to cultural communities through our commitment to artists producing challenging, innovative work in diverse media, our affiliation with like-minded organizations, and the public interest we generate in contemporary art.

Artspeak is located on the unceded territories of the xwməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) and Səl̓ílwətaʔ (Tsleil-Waututh) First Nations.

Tuesday–Saturday, 12–5pm