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Sam Shem

A recent graduate of Emily Carr College of Art and Design, Shem has exhibited his work in ‘Blip: Locating Nature and Technology’ that toured to Cornish College of Art, Seattle; Pratt Institute, New York; and the San Francisco Institute of Art and Design.

Exhibitions

  • Boys and Girls Welcome!

    ALAN HOFFMAN
    March 25–May 6, 2000

    Just in from the corner of Nanaimo and First sits a deadpan clapboard structure, its windowless facade contradicting the friendly handpainted Boys and Girls Welcome! sign that is tacked where a window ought to be. Photographed in isolation and printed in deeply saturated colour this forgettable building becomes embued with a sinister innocence. This image is one of a series of cibachrome prints presented in a first solo exhibition by Alan Hoffman. His enlargements of vernacular architecture in Vancouver and his hometown Penticton hover between nostalgia and unease. The gas stations, motor motels and churches at first appear to be architectural models or miniatures, perhaps model train environments. In recognizing the Ridge Theatre or Penticton’s giant peach it becomes clear that the curiously distorted sense of scale and euphemized colour are technically accomplished representations of the familiar landmarks and architectural oddities of Vancouver neighbourhoods and Okanagan tourist destinations.

    Hoffman has chosen to photograph the clumsy manifestations of lowbrow aspirations—not the grandiose failures of Vancouver modernism so comprehensively covered by this city’s more senior artists. His work escapes ‘the quaint’ and resists ‘the serious’ simultaneously as it fails to allow easy entry into the ‘reality’ it pictures.

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    Bibliography

    Breukleman, Jim; Laurence, Robin “Hot Properties”, Presentation House Gallery: North Vancouver, 1987.

    Adrian, Robert; Arngn’naaq, Ruby; Butler, Jack; Campbell, Kati; Esch, Deborah; Falk, Lorne; MacInnis, Neil; Miller, Bernie; Moylan, Tom; Robert, Jocelyn; Urban, Colette. “The City Within”. Jeanne Randolf, ed.: The Banff Centre, 1992.

    Graham, Rodney; Kleyn, Robert; Linsley, Robert; Sinclair, Jennifer Oille; Smithson, Robert; Snider, Greg. “Some Detached Houses”. Bill Jeffries, Cur. Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver, 1990.

    Haraldsson, Arni; Kleyn, Robert. “Project on Vancouver Architecture and Landscape”. Presentation House Gallery, North Vancouver, 1995.

    Sekula, Allan; Dufour, Gary; O’Brian, John. “Geography Lesson: Canadian Notes”. Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver, 1997.

    Crewdson, Gregory; Morrow, Bradford; Steinke, Darcey. “Dream of Life”. Ediciones Universidad de Salamanca, Spain, 1999.

    Group Exhibition. “Mois de la Photo à Montréal, 1999″. Organized by VOX, Montréal, 1999.

    Hoffman, Alan. “Fourteen Stories”. Self-published. Vancouver, 1996.

    Whitehead, Gary. “I Can Fix Anything”. Arsenal Pulp Press: Vancouver, 1994.

    Derksen, Jeff. “Until”. Downtime Talonbooks: Vancouver, 1990

    Coady, Lynn. “Nice Place to Visit” Play the Monster Blind. Doubleday: Toronto, 2000

    Speak, Dorothy. “The View From Here” Object of Your Love. Somerville House: Toronto, 1996

    Gom, Leona. excerpt from “Zero Avenue”. Douglas & McIntyre: Vancouver, 1989

    Trujillo Lusk, Dorothy. “Sentimental Intervention” Writing 25. Kootenay School of Writing: Vancouver, 1990.

  • rapture : rupture

    LAIWAN, SAM SHEM
    December 11–January 29, 2000

    This exhibition is a culmination of a collaborative process between Laiwan, an established interdisciplinary artist and writer, and Sam Shem, an emerging artist working in installation. Taking the form of on-going discussions and shared readings over the past year this collaboration has informed their respective new works.

    Sam Shem’s work will be installed in the gallery space. This new installation work uses small circular mirrors, painted walls, lighting and bubbles produced by a bubble machine: ephemeral materials that are contingent upon the bodies of viewers to craft the experience and atmosphere of the work as they move through it, while reflections appear and disappear, bubbles fall and break. The work draws attention to its own impermanence and the transitory nature of experience through the immediacy and indeterminate approach to materials and space.

    Laiwan’s new text work will be presented in the publication centre and will take two forms: an ‘installed’ poetic text will be present when the exhibition opens and a theoretical text which will be added for the final half of the exhibition period.

Publications

  • Boys and Girls Welcome

    BGW front
    BGW spine
    BGW back

    Title: Boys and Girls Welcome
    Category: Exhibition Catalogue
    Artist: Alan Hoffman
    Writers: James Baker, Neil Besner, Lorna Brown, Derek Fairbridge, Adrienne Lai, Henry Lehmann, Jonathan Middleton, Kathleen Ritter, Sharon Romero, Adam Lewis Schroeder, Sam Shem, Reid Shier and John Wertschek
    Publisher: Artspeak
    Year published: 2000
    Pages: 20pp
    Cover: Paper
    Binding: Round Head Brass Fastener
    Process: Offset
    Dimensions: 11.5 x 11 x 0.8 cm
    Weight: 29 g
    Price: Not available

    A special poster/catalogue project featuring the responses of the following artists and writers to Alan Hoffman’s photographs: James Baker, Neil Besner, Lorna Brown, Derek Fairbridge, Adrienne Lai, Henry Lehmann, Jonathan Middleton, Kathleen Ritter, Sharon Romero, Adam Lewis Schroeder, Sam Shem, Reid Shier and John Wertschek. This project is made possible through the generous contribution of James Baker and Stacey Noyes.