Liturgical Heat
Artists: Alex Gibson, Simon Grefiel + Maya Preshyon, Miguel Maravilla, Zoe Osborne

OPENING: Thursday July 7, 2022, 6-8pm
EXHIBITION: Saturdays 12-5pm only, July 9 – Aug 6, 2022

Wil Aballe Art Projects | WAAP
1129 East Hastings St.
Vancouver, BC V6A 1S3

For further information, please contact the gallery.

Exhibition PDF

            A web of heat.
            A home built of glass, refracting.
            A body carved from coral.
            A ritual of bright flora.

Liturgical Heat features works by Filipino artists Simon Grefiel (Vancouver)—in collaboration with Maya Preshyon—and Miguel Maravilla (Vancouver), and Barbadian artists Alex Gibson (Vancouver) and Zoe Osborne (Toronto); artists whose practices speak in tropical tongues.

In Canada, a region of the world dominated by cold rains and snow, this kind of art making feels like no small feat. On the surface we see a relationship of formal qualities these artists’ practices share—a sensorial language of heat, warm waters, tropical flora—a thread that connects regions like the Philippines and the West Indies. What lies beneath this is a web of subtext—an interconnectedness—between these regions.

In Vancouver’s industrial landscape backdropped by mountains and sky, is the BC Sugar Refining Company. Established in 1890, this refinery was situated on Canada’s West Coast as a convenient geographical site to extract raw sugar from both the Philippines and the Caribbean[1].

            An in between point.

To perform a liturgy is to express public worship, and the artists in Liturgical Heat provide a ritual to follow. An exploration of colonial, migratory, and climate themes are spoken within the works: Grefiel and Preshyon’s stained glass calls to mind religious occupation in the Philippines, and Maravilla’s sound reflects an undercurrent of activist energy that echoes throughout. Gibson’s drawings envision a rebirthed sense of the body and gender, while Osborne’s photo realistic renders challenge the visual currencies that accompany the West Indies. Together, the artists shed light on neocolonial issues that continue to influence and permeate tropical identities in their home countries and in Canada.

What Liturgical Heat offers is a thread that runs deep, a warmth that resonates with similarities shared between seemingly disparate and distant regions. A way of ritualizing and reclaiming heat.

            A not-so-distant space.

Text by Alex Gibson

[1] City of Vancouver Archives.


Miguel Maravilla: PANAWAGAN SA ISANG PUTING KAHON (Calling In A White Box), 2022
Audio, MP3; USB decorated with hardware; 15 minutes looped

Miguel Maravilla: PANAWAGAN SA ISANG PUTING KAHON (Calling In A White Box), Performance text

Zoe Osborne: My House in the Country, 2021, 30 sec animation, single channel, 1920 x 1080 pixels; NFT