Surrey Art Gallery’s new “Facing Time” group exhibit reflects a certain COVID-era reality.
While works featured in the art show were mostly created prior to the pandemic, they speak to the current moment of facial interfaces and increased digital activity.
“Time shrinks as people scroll through faces on social media, join another video conference meeting, and catch up with family and friends in the same or different time zones via video calls,” says an event advisory. “More and more personal devices use digital facial recognition software for identification and surveillance. Selfies still abound.”
The winter 2021 exhibit, drawn from the gallery’s permanent collection and from loans, opens Saturday, Jan. 23 with collages of archival portraits, psychological portraiture, altered faces from art history as art stamps, photographs of amateur baseball players, drawings of aged faces suffering from illness, needlepoint representations of French philosophers, terracotta heads, and artworks that use social media as a medium.
“Contemporary art can re-imagine how we represent ourselves and think about facial communication both now and in the future,” says Jordan Strom, Surrey Art Gallery’s Curator of Exhibitions and Collections. “This exhibition examines the many creative and critical ways in which artists have sought to capture the human face over the past 50 years.”
Close to four dozen artists have works featured in “Facing Time,” which will be launched with an Instagram live event (@surreyartgal) on Saturday, Jan. 30 from 6:30 to 7 p.m., for “a casual introduction to the exhibit” and a performance by Patrick Cruz, Qian Cheng, and Francis Cruz.”
Also planned online is a conversation with Strom and artist Jaswant Guzder on the gallery’s Facebook and YouTube pages, on Saturday, Feb. 27 from 2 to 3 p.m.
Until March 27, “Facing Time” can be viewed at the gallery during pre-booked tours on select days (Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.). To book, phone 604-501-5566 (press 1) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The exhibit features works by Durrah Alsaif, Simranpreet Anand, Rebecca Bair, Lorna Brown, Diana Burgoyne, Chila Kumari Burman, Audrey Capel-Doray, Qian Cheng, Lincoln Clarkes, Share Corsault, Patrick Cruz, Francis Cruz, Eryne Donahue, Tom Douglas, R.W. Eastcott, Soheila Esfahani, Gabor Gasztonyi, Barry Goodman, Jaswant Guzder, Brian Howell, Jim Jardine, Bill Jeffries, Doreen Jensen, Ali Kazimi, Ann Kipling, Laura Wee Láy Láq, George Littlechild, Ken Lum, Al McWilliams, Elizabeth MacKenzie, María Angélica Madero, Chito Maravilla, Sally Michener, my name is scot, David Neel, Al Neil, Mark Neufeld, George Omorean, Leslie Pool, Deborah Putman, Marianna Schmidt, Jack Shadbolt, Drew Shaffer, Hari Sharma, Stephen Shore, Jarnail Singh, Jeannette Sirois, Manuel Axel Strain, Ed Varney, Carrie Walker and Jin-me Yoon.
Other winter exhibits at the gallery include “Art by Surrey Secondary Students” (a display of collages, drawings, and paintings from local youth, opening Feb. 6) and “Carol Sawyer: Proscenium” (a video installation about illusion, trickery, and performance, closes Feb. 14). At UrbanScreen, Surrey Art Gallery’s outdoor art site at Chuck Bailey Recreation Centre in Whalley, the Flavourcel collective will launch a new experimental animation project on Feb. 6.