Saturday, September 7, 2019

Eye of the Beholder: The Extremity of Vikky Alexander

Between Dreaming and Living #8, by Vikky Alexander. (Image: VAG)

Vikky Alexander: Extreme Beauty runs July 6 – January 26, 2020 at the Vancouver Art Gallery. The catalogue/book of this show is well worth ordering from the VAG.

Coming of age in the heady photo-conceptualist decade of the 1980s, Vikky Alexander quickly ascended to the upper ranks of the most visually challenging and thought-provoking Canadian contemporary artists. Becoming well known for her insightful investigations of the found and appropriated image, the artificial representation of enclosed nature and the cultural seduction of both space and place, it was almost as if she was holding up a dark mirror to our beauty-obsessed era and showing us who we were really were beneath the surface of all that bright and shiny glitter.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Shaw Entertainments: The Ladykillers and Getting Married

Chick Reid and Damien Atkins in The Ladykillers at the Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake. (Photo: David Cooper)

Performed by overlapping ensembles, The Ladykillers and Getting Married, comedies of very different stripes, are the most sheerly enjoyable shows I saw at the Shaw Festival this season. The Ladykillers is Graham Linehan’s 2011 stage version of the screenplay William Rose wrote for the beloved Ealing comedy from 1955, starring Alec Guinness – fitted out with hilarious fake incisors that made him look like a cadaverous shark – as the brains of a gang of robbers who work out of his rented room in an innocent silver-haired widow’s house fronting a railroad track. (The Coen Brothers remade it in 2004, with Tom Hanks in the Guinness part.) Getting Married is a George Bernard Shaw comedy of manners that’s little known, at least outside Niagara-on-the-Lake, where the festival has performed it on four previous occasions.