According to sculptor Ron Simmer, Vancouver’s art scene is a little lacking in upscale clientele.
“I’m just here for the money, basically,” he says.
“People in Palm Springs buy these things but in Vancouver it’s different because we have a different demographic here.”
Simmer is 73 years old and uncandid about his reasons for attending the LAB ART SHOW—the sculptor has created installations for the Burning Man Project in Nevada, and also enjoyed the cathartic experience of watching them smolder in ashes while a party raged around him. LAB is definitely not Burning Man, but it does try to offer an immersive and captivating experience for its audience.
This was the sixth installment of the multidisciplinary LAB: a series of showcases which started running semi-annually in Vancouver in 2012. Since then the roving exhibit which features local and international artists has changed venues and found space in Yaletown’s Roundhouse. The sold out evening offered much more than just visual art, but also gave audiences and artists alike the chance to network and develop relationships in the community.
“Vancouver had so much art and so much going on, but everything was in niches” says Gloria Bernal, LAB’s founder and organizer.
According to Bernal, after graduating from Vancouver Film School she decided to form a company that would try and unify the arts community in one event. She founded Glitz Entertainment and then began producing the multidisciplinary LAB hoping to make art and artists in the community more accessible and less exclusive.
“[LAB] brings an art gallery to life,” Bernal explains. “We wanted to educate people in that you can come to an art show, buy art, have fun, and not be pretentious.”
LAB features art, but also encourages artists to paint while dancers perform, musicians play, and the audience interacts with each other –and interactive exhibits.
“It’s not always dance” says Emily Long of Subscura.
A good example of the melding of minds at LAB, Subscura is a troupe of dancers who also feel their work dives into performance art. They can become living statues who interact with their environment and audiences as they slowly make their way to perform choreography on stage.
“I call them scenarios. We create an environment or mood, so it’s not always a stage piece—we could be working in the corner,” says Long.
Long and the other members of the group utilize on their individual backgrounds and training to create their work. So far their accumulative style of performance has been paying off with bookings to appear at Bass Coast, and Shambhala Music Festival in Nelson.
And then there’s the interactive exhibits which can captivate audiences at LAB. Peter Forde is an Irish born Vancouverite who moved from London for his wife. His insightful art installations draw on technology and seek to engage their audience.
“You can play with it,” Forde says about his exhibit called Post, Post, Post.
A projector set up to display on a wall captures the people who walk by and loops them in a video it creates—which then slowly fades away.
“It’s kind of inspired by Alvin Lucier’s: I am Sitting in a Room. It has to do with visual resonance in the space […] you can make visual sculptors using your own repeating image,” he explains.
With over 800 people in attendance throughout the night, all of the artists from Vancouver and beyond hopefully left a positive impression on their audience. With so much under one roof, you wonder how events such as LAB will impact the growing artistic community in Vancouver.
For more information of the event produced by Glitz Entertainment, please click here.