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By curtis

Friday February 25, 2005

Bikes and a Bed

CARTOON WARS–Tasha Brotherton, Carly Haddon, Leif Hall, Guinivere Pencarrick, James Whitman and Friends
The New Gallery, 831 Granville St., until March 11, 2005

Residing among figurative shapes and amorphous blobs in Cartoon Wars are cutesy little characters, cold eels, a text reading “carpet munchers” and another describing the purple colour of dickweed, all of it spread out between small white sheets of paper and the white wall space in between. The show, initiated in part by Guinevere Pencarrick who describes the show as looking “like someone’s brain blew up,” occupies a transitional space between the stairs on the corner of Granville Street and Robson and a vintage clothing store on the second floor. The explosion analogy is accurate as there is no order among the chaos; there are some threads/trains of thought between two paper works via a drawing on the wall yet for the most part every drawing, character or piece of text bears no relation to its immediate surroundings.

The drawings are products of many drawing meetings between a core group of people and the visitors they invite to tag along. The method of creating the drawings stems from Pencarrick’s childhood where one person drew something and passed it on to the next person and vice versa, the recipient choosing to either continue the drawing, kill or thwart it, or pass it and let someone else do make something of it. The process stands as something akin to an ADD board game party, jumping from game to game, trying a hand at Yahtzee, ignoring the dweebs playing Stock Ticker, staying to build a hotel on Mediterranean Ave, and so on.

THE BIKE SHOW–Meghan Weeks, Dawn Vernon, David Riehm, Brian Fössl, Jim Hoehnle and more.
Kleinsteuber Gallery, 2nd floor of Tinseltown, gallery open evenings until March 16th

Vancouver is a bike city. For every wuss who bitches and moans if he gets caught in the slightest drizzle on his pair of wheels, there are ten more who appreciate the increasingly warm, wet, exterior-friendly climate of this end of the country. From bike nerds in their bright yellow jackets, eight saddle bags, and twenty blinking red lights to packs of unruly Strathcona dirt bags on rusty-chained jalopies our city has a high appreciation for the bike. This appreciation is showcased in the The Bike Show, a variety of works ranging from photographs to customised bikes from five or so young, Vancouver-based artists.

Taking a personal approach to representing bike culture, photographer Meghan Weeks documents the antics of buddies riding a stationary bike in her living room, various forms of road rash on herself and a friend, and the dirt-bike culture of her hometown of Grand Prairie. Whether posing or simply smiling at the camera all of Weeks’ subjects seem at ease staring into her lens–on some, their level of intoxication can only be given a guesstimate.

With his Make-out Bike and Threepenny Bike, Jim Hoehnle’s custom bikes retain functionality yet efficiency is sacrificed in lieu of havin’ a sweet-lookin’ ride. These bikes, respectively, not only allow you to get your superfreak-on while commuting to work on a pink, fuzzy banana seat, but also give you the opportunity, thanks to being elevated by three, vertically-stacked wheels, to literally look down on motorists stuck in traffic while you whiz by.

69 E Pender, until March 13th
When I was informed by Jinhan Ko, a member of the previously Toronto-exclusive collaborative group Instant Coffee (two of its members, including Jin and Jenifer Papararo have since relocated to Vancouver), that he was going to plan a make-out party for the upcoming show at 69 E Pender, I scoffed at the idea, thinking it an off the cuff idea of someone hoping to relive his Grade 6 glory days. Finding out that he and Instant Coffee has organised several of these parties, in places such as Puerto Rico and San Francisco; I was duly put in my place.
Bass Bed represents Instant Coffee’s first event/exhibition of work since the group expanded to the West Coast. The bed of the title sits in the middle of floor covered in afghans concealing speaker boxes similar to those found in a Surrey Special. The rump-vibrating double bed is a centrepiece to the platform that Instant Coffee has created where the group will be hosting slide show/screenings on February 25th and March 4th, some after hours parties and, of course, the previously-mentioned make-out party.