Art & artists

#673 Catalyst of creative fantasy

Susan Benson: Art, Design and Craft on Stage by Patricia Flood Richmond Hill, ON: Firefly Books, 2019 $35.00 / 9780228101772 Reviewed by Celia Duthie * Susan Benson has had a charmed career. For over forty years, as a theatre designer and costumer for stage productions in England and North America, she has been a mistress…
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#654 When images yield poems

The House the Spirit Builds by Lorna Crozier, with Peter Coffman and Diane Landy (photography) and Rena Upitis (introduction) Madeira Park: Douglas & McIntyre, 2019 $22.95 / 9781771622417 Reviewed by Paul Falardeau * The natural world has long been de rigueur to the life of poets and artists, the Chinese poet Han Shan (寒山, literally…
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#647 Finding Anna Wong

Anna Wong: Traveller on Two Roads by Ellen van Eijnsbergen and Jennifer Cane (introduction) and Zoë Chan and Keith Wallace (essays), with a foreword by Maurice Wong Burnaby: Burnaby Art Gallery, 2018 $40.00 / 9781927364314 Reviewed by Michael Kluckner * Visit the Burnaby Art Gallery’s touring exhibition, Anna Wong: Traveller on Two Roads, at the …
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#646 An abiding hunger for art

Double Melancholy: Art, Beauty, and the Making of a Brown Queer Man by C.E. Gatchalian Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press, 2019 $18.95 / 9781551527536 Reviewed by Vincent Ternida * “I live for art.” This is how C.E. Gatchalian commences his brief but dense collection of interconnected personal essays in Double Melancholy: Art, Beauty, and the Making…
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#634 Fragments of sorrow

Picking up the Pieces: Residential School Memories and the Making of the Witness Blanket by Carey Newman and Kirstie Hudson Victoria: Orca Book Publishers, 2019 $39.95 / 9781459819955 Reviewed by Sharon Fortney * Picking up the Pieces is a beautiful catalogue documenting the process behind the making of the Witness Blanket, an art installation created…
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#633 Uneasy stories, imperfect lives

Meteorites: Stories by Julie Paul Victoria: Brindle & Glass, an imprint of TouchWood Editions, 2019 $22.00 / 9781927366820 Reviewed by William New * In a much quoted phrase, the Nigerian writer Ben Okri observes that the “fact of storytelling hints at a fundamental human unease, hints at human imperfection. Where there is perfection, there is…
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#627 Out of a Danish orphanage

Feast of Fields by Sean Karemaker Wolfville, NS: Conundrum Press, 2018 $18.00 / 9781772620252 Reviewed by Chris Fink-Jensen * Feast of Fields, by Vancouver artist Sean Karemaker, is a graphic biography that tells the story of his mother’s childhood experiences living in an orphanage in Denmark. The book begins from Karemaker’s own perspective, recounting a…
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#614 Waterfront industry and memory

Photo essay: Revolving W and Flying Pigs: A Neon Journal by Keith McKellar (Laughing Hand), with an introduction by Robert Amos Victoria: BoneYard Ink Books, 2018 $50 / 9781775357704 Orders: direct from  www.laughinghand.com * In December 2018 we published a review (Ormsby Review #449) by Grahame Ware of Revolving W and Flying Pigs: A Neon…
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#608 Kootenay art and activism

New Ground: A Memoir of Art and Activism in BC’s Interior by Ann Kujundzic, with a foreword by Mary Schendlinger Halfmoon Bay: Caitlin Press, 2019 $24.95 / 9781773860015 Reviewed by Luanne Armstrong * I love memoirs like this. And really, we need so many more of them. So many stories still remain to be told,…
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#588 Love, labour, and linocuts

On the Curve: The Life and Art of Sybil Andrews by Janet Nicol, with a foreword by Robin Laurence Halfmoon Bay: Caitlin Press, 2019 $28.95 / 9781987915877  * See with Your Own Eyes: The Sybil Andrews Story by Laura Ellyn Campbell River: Campbell River Arts Council, 2018 $15.00 / 9780981207568 Both books reviewed by Sheldon Goldfarb…
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#584 Brother artist at the edge

Drawbridge: Drawing Alongside My Brother’s Schizophrenia by Joan Boxall Halfmoon Bay: Caitlin Press, 2019 $24.95 / 9781773860022 Reviewed by Janet Nicol * A memoir told in ten lyrical essays, Drawbridge: Drawing Alongside My Brother’s Schizophrenia is Joan Boxall’s moving tribute to her brother, Stephen Corcoran. In the early 2000s, Joan became co-trustee of Stephen following…
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#573 B.C.’s forgotten artists

The Ormsby Review presents a joint review of all ten books in the Unheralded Artists of B.C. Series from Mother Tongue Publishing of Salt Spring Island, 2008-2017. — Ed. Monika Ullmann, with an introduction by Brooks Joyner, The Life and Art of David Marshall (Mother Tongue: 2008) (UABC #1) Eve Lazarus, Claudia Cornwall, and Wendy Newbold…
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#560 Arbutus, sandstone, & Salish Sea

Love of the Salish Sea Islands: New Essays, Memoirs and Poems by 40 Island Writers by Mona Fertig (editor) and Gail Sjuberg (introduction) Salt Spring Island: Mother Tongue Publishing, 2019 $23.95 / 9781896949734 Reviewed by Theresa Kishkan * I first encountered the term “islomania” in Lawrence Durrell’s sublime Reflections on a Marine Venus, a memoir…
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#555 Arthur Erickson’s steel house

Eppich House II: The Story of an Arthur Erickson Masterwork by Greg Bellerby, with an introduction by Michelangelo Sabatino Vancouver: Figure 1 Publishing, 2019 $45.00 / 9781773270470 Reviewed by Martin Segger * This is the second volume in a series edited by Geoffrey Erickson and authorized by the Erickson family. (The first was Francisco Kirpacz:…
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#553 From alienation to adulation

Flow: Poems Collected and New by Roy Miki, edited by Michael Barnholden Vancouver: Talonbooks 2018 $49.95 / 9781772012101 Reviewed by Grahame Ware * Condemned in utero as an Enemy Alien by the Dominion of Canada in 1942, the scholar and poet Roy Miki (born 1942) emerged as a pioneer of the Japanese-Canadian redress movement of the 1980s. Reviewer…
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