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Mowry Baden and Roland Brener: Thirty Years in Victoria

March 4, 2005 - March 4, 2005

This exhibition explores the sculptural influence brought to the region by these two significant artists through a two-part exhibition. Baden and Brener came to the city in the 1970s and have influenced a generation of young artists through their teaching in the University of Victoria’s sculpture program. Nationally and internationally prominent, the two have continued a vital practice in Victoria. Part one, presented in this exhibition, focuses on their public art projects. Part two, to be shown in January 2006, will present sculptural works by both artists that were created for gallery exhibition.


Radioville is a preview of a major public art project commissioned by Toronto-based Context Development Incorporated, for their architectural complex, ?Radio City?, and is scheduled to be installed in the Spring of 2005. It emerged from a competition through the City of Toronto’s public art program. Comprised of 34 units of brushed steel, the works fuse domestic architecture, computer-assisted design and utopian ideas of urban living. The final project appears as a glowing cityscape in stainless steel. Brener describes his project as creating “a village to look down on from the high-rises, the little houses, sort of like alphabet soup, lit at night to welcome visitors and residents.”


This exhibition features maquettes and drawings with video documentation in a study of the public art projects undertaken by Mowry Baden. Victoria filmaker Grace Salez?s short film examines Baden?s public art practice while the exhibition presents works from Victoria, Vancouver, Seattle and California. Both demonstrate components specific to the practice of public art, from research to installation. Baden comments on the differences in his public art and studio practice, “In most cases, people encounter studio art in galleries. The art gallery is a destination, a space designed specifically to frame the artist’s ideas, and the viewer goes there deliberately to receive those ideas. The viewer can come or go, or if she chooses, can stay and stay. In these situations, the art can be as complex and particular as the artist chooses, even to the point of resisting comprehension. Public art, on the other hand, is usually located in spaces whose primary purpose is something other than the display of art. Here, people encounter the art without the intention they bring to the gallery. Regardless of how complex or particular the art may be, most visitors will not give it a second glance as they go on their way from point A to point B. At best, they may perhaps promise themselves to come back later and give it a closer look, but the artist can’t count on it. … the artist who understands the nature of the viewer’s relationship to public art will know that it must deliver much of its impact at first sight.” From Wild Celery… offers a thorough examination

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