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9 Contemporary Art Galleries To Visit In Vancouver

Vancouver, Canada | © MagnusL3D/WikiCommons
Vancouver, Canada | © MagnusL3D/WikiCommons
For over a decade, Vancouver has been ranked as one of the most liveable cities worldwide, with a lively arts and culture scene. In recent years, it has become a cultural hub attracting major film production studios, earning the nickname ‘Hollywood North’. The city has developed a thriving public art scene with a programme that supports contemporary art-making in all its varieties. Needless to say, this has in turn created opportunities for a number of contemporary art galleries to gain recognition.
BRAIDS: Rua Minx & Aja Rose Bond 30/03/13 – 27/04/13 © Access Artist Run Centre

Access Artist Run Centre

A non-profit organisation dedicated to supporting and promoting emergent contemporary art practices, Access provides points of access for artists and audiences alike. The gallery aims to support presentations of diverse views and creative practices that can be found not just in local art, but also in the rest of Canada and around the world. Access strives to spark critical conversations about contemporary art through the use of experimentation, which is not without its risks, whilst within their own gallery space and beyond in the public art sphere.

Khan Lee, ‘Hearts and Arrows’ © Centre A

Centre A

Constituted in 1999 with its first gallery open in 2000, Vancouver International Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, or Centre A, is the only public gallery in Canada dedicated to contemporary Asian visual art practices. The gallery considers its role to position Asia within the Canadian imagination; given the strong history of Asian immigration to this area, it is unsurprising perhaps that the Asian Contemporary Art scene here is so diverse and prolific. Providing a platform for contemporary Asian art, Centre A looks to promote engaging, stimulating and educational Asian art pieces.

Ron Tereda: Jack 03/09/11 – 08/10/11 © Cariona Jeffries Gallery

Catriona Jeffries Gallery

Considered to be one of the most important contemporary art galleries in Vancouver, Catriona Jeffries Gallery has an international reputation for exhibiting some of the finest contemporary artists. Established in 1994, the gallery focuses on representing artists of international prominence but whose practices have emerged out of the renowned conceptual art histories of Vancouver. The gallery curates projects that contextualise the work of gallery artists within an historical trajectory, whilst also working with other artists through exhibition research. By maintaining dialogues with artists, curators, museums, private collections and writers, Catriona Jeffries Gallery is a leader within its industry.

Graham Gillmore, Installation, 2010 26/03/2011 – 23/04/2011 © Monte Clark Gallery

Monte Clark Gallery

Originally opening a gallery in Vancouver’s Gastown neighbourhood in 1992, Monte Clark Gallery has undergone a number of moves around the city as well as opening, and subsequently closing, a gallery in Toronto, Canada. The Monte Clark Gallery is generally renowned for being the best space to see conceptual photography and photographic art, but it also represents a varied selection of painters and other artists. The gallery’s newest location boasts 4,800 square feet of space in which to exhibit some of the finest photographers and artists. This creates a more interactive gallery experience which allows visitors to see the workings of a gallery space, as well as the art within it.

Contemporary Art Gallery

One of the longest standing independent public art galleries, the Contemporary Art Gallery (CAG) is a non-profit public art gallery dedicated to research, exhibition, education and the documentation of contemporary visual art and its practices. Presenting contemporary visual arts in Vancouver, it delivers between ten and twenty exciting exhibitions and off-site projects each year. The CAG also provides an extensive range of learning and public programmes as well as offering a series of residencies for Canadian and international artists who directly contribute to the local art scene. CAG believe the enjoyment of contemporary art should be available for all.

Greg Murdock – Confluence: Installation View Equinox Gallery © 2013 All Rights Reserved

Equinox Gallery

One of the leading galleries in Vancouver, the Equinox Gallery was founded in 1972 by Elizabeth Nichol. Originally located in downtown Vancouver on Robson Street, the gallery was moved to the South Granville gallery district in 1987. As recently as 2012 it moved to its current location in Great Northern Way, the location of a number of other high profile contemporary art galleries. Since its inception, Equinox gallery has been strongly committed to promoting the work of local, Canadian artists in an international context. Specialising in art and photography, this gallery is one of the longest standing contemporary galleries in the region.

I.O.U 17/05/13-06/07/13 © UNIT/PITT Projects

UNIT/PITT Projects (formerly Helen Pitt Gallery)

The non-profit artist-run centre UNIT/PITT Projects is dedicated to the promotion of experimental contemporary art which addresses social, political, cultural and critical issues. The space is committed to facilitating public dialogues which engage with critical awareness, social consciousness, community and, of course, contemporary art practices. Although based primarily in visual art practices, the programmes aim to push beyond the presentation of exhibitions and into the realms of media, publishing, telecommunications, public actions and performance arts. Each year UNIT/PITT Projects support the curatorial practice by inviting resident curators to facilitate the exhibitions. These curators explore a vast array of artistic avenues, keeping the centre current and progressive.

Winsor Gallery

Dedicated to the promotion of distinctive Canadian and international contemporary art, Winsor Gallery strives to ensure a long term development in the careers of artists they represent. Another key commitment is the gallery’s unfailing support of the emerging Vancouver art community, as well as encouraging and stimulating the engagement of its collectors. Specialising in painting, sculpture, photo-based and multi-media works, Winsor Gallery offers an exciting programme of solo and group exhibitions. Additionally it provides a number of art related services, such as consulting, collection building and installation; the venue can also be hired for functions.

Diane Farris Gallery

Founded in 1984, Diane Farris Gallery quickly developed an internationally reputation for showcasing contemporary Canadian and international art, with emphasis on the discovery of emerging talent. One of the first galleries to have a website (as of 1996), from 2011 Diane Farris Gallery opted to close its physical gallery space in favour of dedicating itself to an international audience online. This early adoption of emerging technology and social media allows for greater freedom in its artistic calendar which now includes the performance arts. In addition to monthly online features, the gallery holds exhibitions, lectures and workshops in a number of pop-up venues.