Wish You Were Here!
February 28 – March 21, 2014
Opening Reception: February 28, 7:30 – 11 pm
GALLERY HOURS: WENS, FRI & SAT 1 – 5 pm
An exhibition of miniature landscapes by Jessie McNeil at the Gam Gallery.
Miniaturized landscapes are typically built as romanticized re-enactments of the past or as fantastical realms of the imagination, both of which can be found, for example, in tourist attractions like Miniature World in Victoria, BC. Alternately, these scenes are also utilized as a representation and deﬁnition of a future site as in an architectural model. The characteristics of the medium thus intensify possibly contradictory modes of experiencing, inhabiting and imagining our surroundings.
The sculptures in Wish You Were Here! seek to preserve a moment in time. The dioramas included in the exhibition are of places found within Vancouver’s rapidly developing and re-developing landscape documented by the artist and made into miniature form. The resulting work depicts scenes that may or may not still exist, standing as a record of the continuously changing cityscape. As Susan Stewart claims in her book On Longing, “We ﬁnd the miniature at the origin of private, individual history, but we ﬁnd the gigantic at the origin of public and natural history.” The works in the exhibition oscillate between allusion and deﬁnition, souvenir and model, and the experience of the public and the private.
The ubiquitous spaces reconstructed in miniature inspire examinations of civic identity, the perspectives of and relationship between the tourist and local, as well as the value we place on certain landscapes over others. The proximity and tenuous relationship between culture and nature in the specific context of Vancouver provides a fascinating hub of contradictions that inspire McNeil’s artistic practice and desire to study the urban pastoral through the medium of miniature sculpture.
Jessie McNeil (b.1987) is an interdisciplinary artist from Vancouver, BC. With her curatorial projects, collage work, book media and miniature sculptures, she addresses the concept of place and how we humans experience it by acknowledging themes of collective and personal memory, language, landscape and value with an emphasis on cultural history and identity. McNeil holds a BFA from Emily Carr University, has exhibited internationally and is travelling to Tartu, Estonia this summer as an artist in residence at the Estonian Printing Museum.