Art & artists

#529 Poems & portraits of Chinatown

Chinatown Ghosts: The Poems and Photographs of Jim Wong-Chu by Jim Wong-Chu Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press, 2018 $19.95 /  9781551527482 Reviewed by LiLynn Wan First published April 13, 2019 * When Chinatown Ghosts was first published in 1986, Jim Wong-Chu broke a silence in Canadian literature. This slim volume of poetry was one of the…
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#527 Canadian graffiti

Graffiti, Canadian Style by Ernest Hekkanen First published in The Ormsby Review, April 9, 2019 * It was twenty years ago, in 1999, that Ernest Hekkanen wrote this diatribe about why Vancouver public art is so godawful, why Canada’s granting agencies can be foolish or corrupt, and why he rejected a contract from a respected…
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#462 Baskets across the border

Re-awakening Ancient Salish Sea Basketry: Fifty Years of Basketry Studies in Culture and Science by Ed Carriere and Dale R. Croes Richland, WA: Journal of Northwest Anthropology (JONA), Memoir Number 15, January 2018 $54.95 (U.S.) / 9781973968221 Available from through CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform Reviewed by Andrea Laforet First published Jan. 8, 2019 * In this…
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#457 Long live West Coast Modern

Copp House by Adele Weder, with photography by Michael Perlmutter Novato, California: ORO Editions, 2017 $24.95 (U.S.)  / 9781939621887 * Downs House II by Christopher Macdonald, with photography by Michael Perlmutter Novato, California: ORO Editions, 2016 $24.95 (U.S.)  / 9781935935285 * Merrick House by Anthony Robins, with photography by Michael Perlmutter Novato, California: ORO Editions,…
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#449 Keith McKellar’s Vancouver

Revolving W and Flying Pigs: A Neon Journal of Vancouver Vintage Cafes and Theatres by Keith McKellar/ Laughing Hand Victoria: BoneYard Ink Books, 2018 $50 / 9781775357704 Orders: direct from author at Reviewed by Grahame Ware First published Dec. 16, 2018 * This publication is an exciting and colourful recasting of Keith McKellar out-of-print,…
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#425 Let them have art galleries

Spaces and Places for Art: Making Art Institutions in Western Canada 1912-1990 by Anne Whitelaw Montreal & Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2017 $39.95 / 9780773550322 Reviewed by Martin Segger First published Nov. 16, 2018.  * Geography challenges power. Anne Whitelaw has written an impressive geopolitical history of art institutions in western Canada. She demonstrates how…
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#414 Good art and bad habits

Ken Foster’s Vancouver: Life, Art and Alleyways by Sean Nosek and Ken Foster Vancouver: Granville Island Publishing, 2018 $49.95 / 9781926991917 Reviewed by Robert Amos First published November 05, 2018 * I like this book. I like the energetic paintings, I like the way the writer presents the artist’s unique life story, and I admire…
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#412 Vancouver jazz scene

Live at the Cellar: Vancouver’s Iconic Jazz Cub and the Canadian Co-operative Jazz Scene in the 1950s and ‘60s by Marian Jago, foreword by Don Thompson Vancouver: UBC Press, 2018 $29.95 / 9780774837699 Reviewed by Brian Fraser First published November 02, 2018 * Good books on jazz are filled with intriguing stories about the relationships…
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#409 With Whymper to the Pacific

A Not-so-Savage Land: The Art and Times of Frederick Whymper, 1838-1901 by Peter Johnson, foreword by Robert Amos Victoria: Heritage House, 2018 $24.95 / 9781772032208 Reviewed by Michael Layland First published October 29th, 2018 * The English artist Frederick Whymper (1838-1901) spent the years 1862-66 in colonial Vancouver Island and British Columbia, producing technical and…
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#397 B.C. sculptor lost and found

First published October 12, 2018. Rebel Muse: My Life With Peter Paul Ochs by Monika Ullmann Victoria: ProWord Publishing, 2018 $25.00  /  9780992144937 Reviewed by Grahame Ware * Editor’s note: In an email to the Ormsby Review, freelance writer and journalist Monika Ullmann recalled that when the new Provincial Museum of British Columbia (now the Royal…
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#394 Supernatural Haida Columbia

In Out of Concealment: Female Supernatural Beings of Haida Gwaii, Haida artist and activist Terri-Lynn Williams-Davidson encounters 33 supernatural beings of Haida mythology. Her aim is strongly cultural, as Williams-Davidson told Marsha Lederman of The Globe and Mail (June 16, 2017): “I have grandchildren who talk about Disney princesses and are enthralled with magical powers, but for…
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#385 The carpenter of Koona

Those Born at Koona: The Totem Poles of the Haida Village Skedans, Haida Gwaii by Carolyn and John Smyly Surrey: Hancock House, 2018 (first published 1973) $29.95 / 9780888391018 Reviewed by Dan Savard First published Sept. 27, 2018 * In 1957, John Smyly (1924-2002) was hired as carpenter by the Provincial Museum of British Columbia…
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#371 Burning down the house

Tom Burrows by Scott Watson and Ian Wallace Vancouver: Figure 1 Publishing, 2018. Co-published with the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery $50 / 9781927958889 Reviewed by Robert Amos First published September 11th, 2018 * Born in Ontario in 1940, Tom Burrows moved to Vancouver in 1960 hoping to study medicine, but instead earned a B.A….
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