February 7–March 14, 1998

In previous work, Vancouver-based artist Philippe Raphanel explored the poisonous and medicinal properties of plants and their use in experiments to find a cure for illnesses, such as the HIV virus. In his recent exhibition Particles, he similarly draws from the Canadian West Coast, its landscapes and its indigenous flora and fauna to construct a suggestively interior landscape. This particular installation consisted of two large, multi-paneled paintings, one with a light background and the other dark, which were positioned opposite each other in the gallery. These formal devices were integral to the installation aspect of the work and to the conceptual exploration of the cultural construction of binaries. In Particles, Raphanel offers a complicated and troubled look at nature and the natural which is informed by a subtext of the human body. Through aesthetics and allusions, Raphanel presents an abstract microcosm of the beautiful and the abject, blurring the use of nature and the body as sites of cultural inscription. Canadian writer/poet Peter Culley presented a reading of his work in conjunction with this exhibition.



in May. As it unfolds

spores are discharged.

Tuft of rust wool

above the fruiting pinae,

shallow vase formed, flood

the woods with golden light.

Other osmundas, absence of the

fertile fronds. Erect,

curving outward,

oblong – lanceolate; obtuse divisions

taller than the sterile

entire or toothed.

Of the midrib, indusium delicate— —

little fronds, ecstatic presence

of the deeper woods.

Arched across the rock – broken

stream, carpeted with low;

where precious red – cupped mosses

stretch basswood overhead

cliff which forms.

Early meadow rue- —

lobed and rounded leaflet

crowds to the roadside

moist hollows: fronds

tremulous on their black

chance to be driving

by a bank overgrown,

possessed by a tormenting love

sadly state but firm;

aloofness which adds

haunts are dim.

Summit of the slender,

under margin of a lobe

dotted with fragrant heaps.

Entered the cool

shade, beauty and luxuriance,

rich green arched above

rigid fruit clusters.

Crown firmed rigid;

by means of underground runners

crawled under

a tight board fence -—

free veins with simple veinlets

do not reach

the midvein. Reflexed marginal

rows of bright brown sporangia

wedged in neighbouring

crannies, sprang from limestone cliffs;

so blended, with their rocky

self – assurance at variance.

Prostrate among the rocks

rise the firm

graceful crowns:

conspicuously marginal

fruit – dots, caudex covered by the bases —

apex and the tips

of its pinnules, plumes

of departing summer,

of the greenhouse.

above the black leaf – mould

immortal in the swamp herbage,

centre shades away

less chaffy stalks; mossy ledges

above star – like stumps of decaying.

A projecting shelf

of bluish green;

leathery, tapering,

decayed at its tip

a flower yet unnamed.

Day count.

Columbine flings out

just uncurled

roots of some great

nodding blossom,

among which the streams forces,

flavoured with the essence

once more.

Fastened underneath

into jagged, spreading —

were it not for the difference

twice to thrice – pinnate

finally appear naked,

early withering and exposing

beneath a reflexed portion.

Green takes on

a dark heraldic eagle

in a cross – section of the young stalk:

does not wither away,

grown by reason of the licking.

Shall shellfish

in the Andes at fourteen feet

widely spreading at the summit?

Reflexed edge, somewhat open

borne in a continuous line;

stout stalk, from the trunks

somewhat lustrous —

upward turning

on their upper

through the winter

In the rocky woods

having shiny scales

convex; persistent

along the roadside

and in the wet,

found in the tiniest

its creeping rootstock rise.

At times wear very light,

standing brown and dry

from early frosts —

form midway

in masses — in wet meadows

inappropriateness, wavy – toothed

divisions; berry – like bodies

usually heart – shaped.

Scattered on the lower surface

shale, and conglomerate

near limestone cliffs

sprays of the bulblet

turreted summits.

Rigid grace, slim in crowded ranks,

into moist ravines

necessitates the twisting

of its stalk. Shelves of shaded rocks:

surprise — combination of delicacy,

black stemmed

under groups of red, with blackish

and shining, silvery till maturity,

base auricled;

the tangle of wild

close to the roadside fence.

Of some amber – coloured brook

the wild bergamot

its swift noiseless flow.

Uncurl in May —

present a rather blotched

delicacy, scarlet cluster,

background. Of grain shine

between umbrella – like Brakes:

so recently unfolded texture

seems a trifle.

Close against the rails;

as the curves and dimples,

little undulations

of the August wood’s border —

Talks & Events

  • Party, Catalogue Launch, Reading

    October 16, 1998

    Artspeak is proud to present the launch of Philippe Raphanel’s new catalogue “Particles” which features an essay and poetry by Peter Culley. In conjunction with the launch, Peter will be reading and we will be having a party.


  • Particles

    Title: Particles
    Category: Exhibition Catalogue
    Artist: Philippe Raphanel
    Writers: Peter Culley
    Editor: Jacqueline Larson
    Design: Roberta Batchelor
    Publisher: Artspeak
    Printer: S & T Stereo Printers
    Year published: 1998
    Pages: 28pp
    Cover: Paper
    Binding: Staple Bound
    Process: Offset
    Features: 7 colour images
    Dimensions: 23 x 16 x 0.2 cm
    Weight: 112 g
    ISBN: 0-921394-29-2
    Price: $4 CDN

    Culley produces a parallel essay to Raphanel’s exhibition Particles. Both practitioners have used the rich landscape of British Columbia as a departure point in their respective mediums. Also included is the poem “Fruit Dots” by Culley.

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