Vancouver Report: From One Body to Another

References to bodies—human and otherwise—link a number of recent Vancouver exhibitions. Together, they offer passage to different realms

By Lucien Durey

Patrick Cruz’s “Quarantine of Difference” at Wil Aballe Art Projects, compared to the artist’s other recent solo exhibitions, demonstrates his version of restraint. The white walls of the gallery are covered in red and black graffiti, with words that convey political struggle next to phrases that seem more appropriate as branding slogans.

Together they’re confounding—in ALL CAPS but not quite angry, and not soothing either. Self-negating, they perform best as a chaotic texture, contrasting with the visually more subdued elements in the room.

Twenty-eight acrylic paintings of varying sizes lie on the gallery floor, which has been freshly painted a glossy seafoam green. Were it not for the crowd of people at the opening, the channels between works would feel spacious coming from Cruz, whose complexly patterned installations often cover the entirety of exhibition spaces. These new paintings, tri-colour and loosely geometric, were made on re-primed older ones. Fittingly, a word on the muddled wall reads “cannibalism.”

A veiled violence extends to other works. Containments (2017) consists of three painted plaster sculptures surfaced with faux stone. A paper guide describes them as borrowing from mask and turtle shell forms, with the shells serving as metaphors for empty houses. A turtle’s shell, however, is part of its body—framing it as a home, especially an empty one, also implies a death.

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