New exhibitions at Gallery Vertigo – fun & thought provoking

Two new exhibitions opened last night at Gallery Vertigo, a Vernon art scene main stay.

The first space you enter, the main gallery, is covered by a fun paint-along mural dreamt up by writers and artists Jake Kennedy and kevin mcpherson eckhoff. Kevin and Jake are both creative writing faculty at Okanagan College and general movers and shakers – when they’re not meeting at Denny’s in the middle of the night to commiserate about whatever catches their fancy at 4 in the morning. They both recently gave readings at Gallery Vertigo as part of the Vertigo Voices Series – Jason Dewinetz’s is up next this coming Wed, Nov 24th ( more info: http://www.okanagan.bc.ca/departments/arts/english/Vertigo_Voices.html)

text mural being painted

Paint on the walls! Yes, the walls.

Kevin and Jake’s mural invites visitors to the gallery to help paint in the text written on the walls – yes, you get paint on the walls!  There are instructions though. Roll the rubik’s cube to decide your colour. Roll again to find out what letter you will be painting. And away you go.

In Gallery 2, is a thoughtful and poignant body of work by Judy Wasylesko called “Just Bones”.  This body of work came about through Judy making funeral arrangements for her father, who recently passed away. As she was discussing the cremation process with the funeral director, she was surprised to learn that the ashes given back are not the full remains of your loved one. When Judy and I first discussed this project and she told me she wanted to work with the larger remains left after cremation, I envisioned that we would be dealing with a full skeleton – a thought that made me, an already squeamish person, even more squeamish. But instead the resulting work has no trace of any kind of ick factor. It is a beautifully quiet and thoughtful show, one of the nicest ones I’ve seen installed in this space at Gallery Vertigo quite frankly.

The gallery is transformed into a gallery / funeral parlor / homage where viewers are asked to consider alternative ways of interning the dead. Judy’s work honours the full remains, transforming them into beautiful contemplative objects, not as the trash they are considered in the traditional cremation process – the larger remains are usually disposed of as medical waste or garbage; pacemakers and defibrillators are recycled. When you first enter space there is a large photo of the remains arranged in a circle.


This piece has been installed in a way that thoughtfully mimics its bookend at the other end of the gallery.

Along the left wall are close-ups of individual bones, that reveal a texture that is surprisingly delicate and fragile. It seems that if you were to touch them, they would crumble.

Both of these shows run until Saturday, December 11th.

Don’t live in Vernon? Make a day of it. There is a fabulous restaurant called Bamboo Beach Fusion Grill (a Japanese fusion restaurant, where under $11 will get you a beautiful lunch of items like ramen noodle soup, tempura set or their delicious daily quiche special).  After that, wander the other way down 30th Ave (Vernon’s mainstreet) to the Bean Scene Coffeehouse (the best coffee in Vernon). They’ve just started featuring gluten free muffins for sensitive folks out there.

Gallery Vertigo is located upstairs at 3001-31st Street in downtown Vernon, BC, (V1T 5H8) in the historical Winnipeg Union Bank. Our hours are Tuesday to Saturday from 11am to 4pm. Please call the gallery at 250-503-2297 for more information.

website: www.galleryvertigo.com


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