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Monday, June 27, 2011


Engagement, is one of several versions American artist Dennis Oppenheim has produced referencing the traditional engagement rings. In a "Pop Art" form where everyday domestic objects are taken out of their domestic environment and re-conceptualized as monumental sculptures, this version of Engagement rises nearly 30 feet. Sitting on top of the rings where the diamonds would be traditionally, there are two translucent houses of plexiglass and aluminum, illuminated and precariously tilted away from each other. As a commentary on the precarious balances in marriage, that of the romantic, traditional, economic and the illusions inherent in the institution, the meaning of "Engagement" is intentionally open-ended. Oppenheim often declines to interpret or explain his work, leaving the interpretation to the viewer.(Vancouver Biennale 2009-2011)

Oppenheim has been constructing large-scale sculptural works since the 1990's and is one of the most influential and respected artists working today. His work was recognized with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Vancouver Sculpture Biennale in 2007. The initial installation of this piece in 2005 coincided with same sex marriage debates taking place in Canada. The work was subsequently acquired by the Vancouver Biennale Legacy Foundation in 2007 as a gift to the citizens of Vancouver. (Vancouver Bienalle 2009-2011)

Location:Sunset Beach, Vancouver,BC

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Power Smart Bike Rack

Directly in front of Science World and in the heart of the bike trails community a very innovative and unusual work of art can be found.

The installation is part sculpture, part bike rack and part solar powered lamppost. Up to 12 bikes can be parked in the tree's roots, while another three can be hung from its trunk.

The concept for the project came from Spring Gillard, who teamed up with Better Environmentally Sound Transportation and Science World to secure a grant for the project from the city's cultural services and public art program. B.C. Hydro Power Smart funded the solar lighting, while the park board provided the land.

Location:Science World, Vancouver BC

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Vancouver General Hospital Art

A little more than a century ago the Heather Pavilion Vancouver's new hospital was built on the slopes of Fairview and welcomed it's first forty-seven patients. Since 1908 VGH has grown by leaps and bounds as observed by the many newer pavilions and research facilities constructed over the past century most of which still exist today. There is a plan underway to bring the Heather Pavilion back to life and to refurbish and upgrade some of the other older VGH buildings. Heather Pavillion 1908

The first ambulance at VGH

Other older buildings at VGH include the Doctors Residence and the Willow Chest Pavilion

Some of the more recent buildings on VGH site (Top) Main acute care buildings at Vancouver General today Jimmy Patterson Pavilion and Centennial Pavilion (Below) Diamond Outpatient Building and Spinal Cord Research Centre

A stunning sight designed by Bunting Coady Architects of Vancouver with aesthetic flourishes by artist Alan Storey, the stylish power plant at West 12th Avenue and Willow Street is the final element in an eight-year initiative to complete the Jim Pattison pavilion.

As I walked through the hallways of the now Vancouver General Hospital I enjoyed the many very large works of art placed throughout the buildings. I photographed just a few of my favorites that were on display.

Hill Fire by Jack Shadboldt These are three very striking paintings placed side by side in the main lobby of the Jimmy Patterson Pavilion

The Best Place by Tom Miller

I Desire by Peter VoormeiJ

The Diamond Family Courtyard displays a number of beautiful works of art

Family Mosaic by Wendy Hamlin

Strange Constellation by Peter Aspel

A plaque in the main corridor reads VGH and UBC Hospital Foundation is committed to the healing power of art and to creating a stimulating and attractive environment for the benefit of patients and their families, staff and visitors.

Location:Vancouver, BC

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

"Ben Franklin" Piccard /Grumman PX-15

On my travels to photograph Bienalle public art I accidentally found this hidden gem. In front of the Maritime Museum in rather an obscure place stands "Ben Franklin" an Oceanographic Research Submersible. When I actually saw the size of the vessel in real life I found it difficult to imagine living in this tube for thirty days. The plaque reads: In 1969 the submersible made the worlds longest research dive when it drifted for thirty days in the Gulf Stream conducting scientific studies for the Naval Oceanographic Office and tests for NASA for the future Skylab Project to study human interactions within closed, confined quarters. The Gulf Stream Drift Mission added significantly to our knowledge of the Gulf Stream and the ocean in general.


Location:Vancouver, BC Canada

Friday, June 3, 2011

Chainsaw Carvings

When renowned artist Pete Ryan moved into the sleepy town of Hope just one hour from Vancouver he noticed there was a dead tree in a park downtown. He offered to carve the dead tree into an eagle to make an eye soar into something more interesting to look at. This quickly became a popular attraction for both locals and visitors alike. The city knew they were on to something special when tourists would come out of their way to Hope and take pictures of Pete’s carving. Soon after, the city displayed 27 more pieces of his carvings throughout the town and next thing you know it, Hope became the chainsaw carving capital of the world.

Spectacular carving at the waterfront. Note the tiny mice in his beard

Location:Hope, BC