Featuring artists: Diyan Achjadi, Gabriele Ailey, Yasuo Araki, Michael Batty, Betty Jean Drummond, Greg Girard, Pnina Granirer, Brian Grison, Shirley Inouye, Evan Lee, Wayne Ngan, Toni Onley, Larry Osland, Susan Point , Arthur Renwick, Jack Shadbolt, Kinichi Shigeno, Arnold Shives, Anna Wong, Alan Wood, Gu Xiong.
Curated by: Sofia Stalner
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Richmond Art Gallery. Highlighting the RAG’s remarkable journey Selected Stories: 1980 – 2020 showcases a selection of works from the Richmond Art Gallery permanent collection including early works by established B.C. artists such as Wayne Ngan, Susan Point, and Gu Xiong.
Any collection of art is also a collection of stories, of curatorial decisions, disagreements, and exclusions. The permanent collection tells the story of local artists, ambitious exhibition projects and a dedicated community. However, like any collection of stories this collection does not tell the unobjective truth, it reflects the decisions made by a certain group of people, during a specific period in time and it has been shaped by the exclusions and discriminations prevalent in our society. While the permanent collection illustrates the progress of the RAG from a community art space to a nationally recognized gallery, it also contains clear omissions in representation. The works included in this exhibition convey the Gallery’s progress, while also reflecting these omissions. In recognizing this we are eager to take the necessary steps toward including more stories in our collection, more stories about Richmond, about its artists and art enthusiasts, and about the next forty years of the Richmond Art gallery.
The permanent collection contains nearly 400 works of art in a variety of media, collected from 1982 to 2020. Most works were donated by artists exhibiting at the Gallery, while others were purchased by the Gallery or donated by members of the community. In the RAG’s early years exhibitions changed bi-weekly and the permanent collection grew rapidly in the 1980s and 1990s.
With Selected Stories the RAG is delighted the be able to show several works not previously exhibited at the Gallery, such as two remarkable abstract works by renowned B.C. artist Toni Onley. Donated by a Vancouver based art collector in the 1990s these works where never part of an exhibition and are now shown for the first time. The works are part of the abstract series of works Onley painted in the 1960s, which established him as one of B.C.’s most important artists.
Also featured are prints by Canadian printmaker Anna Wong, from her series Great Wall. In describing this series, Wong said, “With the opening of China to the West, I became interested in my parent’s birthplace and country and was excited to portray the Chinese landscape/…/In my previous art I had been interpreting nature as I saw it close at hand. Now I was seeing nature in its relationship to a very large architecture, one of the greatest collaborative works in the world.” Selected Stories includes two prints from Great Wall, exhibited for the first time since Wong’s solo exhibition in 1987.