Artists-in-residence dig into Surrey Art Gallery’s archives for its 40th anniversary project. Clockwise from left: Haruko Okano

Surrey Art Gallery celebrates four decades with three new exhibitions

Diverse exhibitions highlight the city, its surrounding region, history, sights and sounds. Opening reception this weekend.

The Surrey Art Gallery is kicking off its 40th anniversary celebrations by launching three new exhibitions this weekend.

The first, Views from the Southbank I: Histories, Memories, Myths, reveals a complex set of histories and memories related to Surrey and the geography of the neighbouring areas.

There is artwork that engages cultural legacies, individual memories and collective myths of South of the Fraser. Whether it be the re-enactment of history through the celebrations and displays at Fort Langley, the burying of ancient history under new freeways in North Delta, or the memorialization of the past in one of the province’s oldest pet cemeteries in Surrey, artists in this exhibition show the many ways the Southbank region of the Lower Mainland collectively presents – or turns away from – its histories and memories.

The show features work from the gallery’s permanent collection, as well as art borrowed from private collections.

Participating artists include Jim Adams, Michael Abraham, Sean Alward, Nicoletta Baumeister, David Campion and Sandra Shields, Roxanne Charles, Sanjoy Das, A.S. Dhillon, Robert Gelineau, Robert Genn, Polly Gibbons, Ravi Gill, Shandis Harrison, Jeremy Herndl, Brian Howell, Reuben Kambeitz, Micah Lexier, Suzanne Northcott, Deborah Putman, Bill Rennie, Don Romanchuck, Carol Sawyer, Kevin Schmidt and Lenore Tkachuk.

The exhibition is the first of a three-part series called Views from the Southbank that will run throughout the year.

A second exhibit celebrating the gallery’s anniversary is a five-artist project entitled Re:Source – A Living Archive 1975-2015. The artists plunge into the archives to chart the gallery’s varied history and its role at the forefront of B.C.’s globally renowned art scene.

Jim Adams, Polly Gibbons, Cora Li-Leger, Haruko Okano and Mandeep Wirk will bring the archives to life through an ever-evolving installation highlighting unknown stories, behind-the-scenes photographs, commentaries and critiques, while allowing visitors to interact with a selection of themed documents.

As the year progresses, the artists will modify the exhibit based on their research, introducing new ideas and objects to the display while expanding their definition and understanding of the archive. Each artist has selected a different theme around which to orient their research; topics include community outreach, invisible narratives, the interchange between art and society, time-based media, and multiculturalism.

The third exhibition opening this weekend is Taryn Hubbard: Surrey City Centre née Whalley, in which the Surrey-based writer presents a soundscape of Surrey’s new city centre and surrounding community. Collected over the course of a year, the audio recordings document a city in transition and constant motion. Major construction projects such as South Fraser Perimeter Road and the new Surrey City Hall, along with the ebb and flow of commuters and commerce, present a cacophony of sound in contrast to the gentle atmosphere found within local parks and nature sites.

Admission to the exhibitions is by donation.

An exhibition tour (guided by curator Jordan Strom) and opening reception takes place this Saturday, Jan. 17, 6:30-9:30 p.m.

A talk and tour with sound artist Hubbard and ecologist and historian Anne Murray will be held Jan. 31, 3-4:30 p.m.

For more information about the exhibitions and other related events, check surrey.ca/artgallery or phone 604-501-5566. The gallery is located at 13750 88 Ave.