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Wildflowers of Manitoba & Light-On in Babyland

Glass structure inside gallery projecting videos of people

Works by:

Noam Gonick, Luis Jacob, Michael Morris, Vincent Trasov

Wildflowers of Manitoba &
Light-On in Babyland

September 8–October 5, 2008

Justina M. Barnicke Gallery

The Justina M. Barnicke presents two distinct exhibitions on the subject of alternative communities and collective lifestyle. Both set in a pastoral environment, Wildflowers of Manitoba finds its counterpart in the collaborative experimentations at Babyland (Sunshine Coast, British Columbia) originally started by Michael Morris, Vincent Trasov and others in the early 1970s.

Flowers of Manitoba, a dream-like installation produced by Noam Gonick and Luis Jacob, explores pastoral visions, idyllic fantasies, and queer transgression. Housed in a geodesic dome where an anonymous flower child slumbers, the geometric frame swells with hallucinatory visions of a tribe of nude boy-folk exploring the splendours of the Canadian Prairies. Their wistful wanderings and homo-social activity animate a mythical vision of Utopia as a blissful, sensual – and sexual – return to the land. Staged for the camera, yet chasing spiritual transcendence, the set and subjects evoke the spirit of alternative collective lifestyles. The exhibition is organized and circulated by Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art.

Light-On in Babyland, presents a selection of works initiated by Michael Morris and Vincent Trasov in the early 1970s at Babyland, which quickly became a magnet for artists from all across Canada, the US and Europe. Located on the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia, Babyland was “a place to act out fantasies, to set up the props and pursue a culture/nature debate,” as Vancouver curator Keith Wallace described it. Drawn from the Morris/Trasov Archive and the collection of the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery at UBC, the works in this exhibition include original components of “Colour Research,” an infinite, collaborative painting involving hundreds of spectral colour bars that would be re-configured by the unpredictable interplay between the wind, waters, and artists in the nude and in costumes. Organized by the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery, the photographs, films and early video work in this exhibition evoke a “youthful paradise”, as Luis Jacob put it, “where the physics of light and ever-changing colour combinations merged in a utopian vision of interpersonal playfulness and refracted possibilities for bodies and selves.”

Scotia Bank Nuit Blanche: Sweet Dreams

Saturday October 4, 2008, 6:57pm-Sunrise
Featuring installations and video projections by Dean Baldwin, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Luis Jacob, and Noam Gonick, Morris/Trasov Archive, Pipilotti Rist, Kevin Schmidt, and Roman Signer
Justina M. Barnicke Gallery

Our Supporters

We gratefully acknowledge the operating support of the Canada Council for the Arts.

Title Image: Installation view of Wildflowers of Manitoba & Light-On in Babyland, 2008. Noam Gonick and Luis Jacob, Wildflowers of Manitoba, 2007. Mixed media installation. Dimensions variable.

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