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The Province
Friday, May 17, 1968


A massive protest by artists against the passivity engendered by TV and the atrophy of imagination

Intermedia Nights-and-Days at the Vancouver Art Gallery, from next Tuesday to Saturday, is a massive protest by artists against the passivity engendered by TV and the atrophy of imagination.

There will be Days as well as Nights because, in addition to the performances, a number of works will be installed which can be viewed during regular Gallery hours.

The only one in a finished state at the moment of writing is the environment commissioned by the Gallery from Michael Morris and Gary Lee-Nova. Called Prisma it is a realization of cosmic breadth, technological sophistication and profound humanism

As you discard your shows and step into the middle of a mystic heptagon you are once more, as in Renaissance times, the center of the universe - or rather, the cosmos.

You are released from the frustration of being confined in ever smaller cubicles, while mass media torment you with visions of infinity.

Prisma gives you the illusion of infinity. It is a seven sided room, its walls of plate-glass mirrors, its floor of faceted plate-glass, its dome ceiling of black Plexiglas . The diameter of the room is just over nine feet.

From your magic heptagon you are reflected in the floor and the walls, aggrandized as even monarchs could not be in the portraits in another part of the Gallery by self-multiplication from every angle.

Moreover, by some miracle, these reflections are flattering. There is not the depressing awareness of physical inadequacies which overcomes every shoppers, male or female, in those booths in which one tries on cloths.

The elegance of mirrors, used for effects of splendor in great baroque palaces like Versailles, here transforms and idealizes the average person.

But Prisma is not just an ego trip. Soft lights flooding through the dome make the heptagon at your feet pulse with rainbow colors, to the rhythm of a soundtrack which incorporates, in part chanting and drums.

The Heptagon is also reflected in all parts of the environment, the spokes radiating from it below you suggests a space ship, while re-fractions in the black plexiglas dome evoke whirling planets.

Prisma is a conciousness-expanding creation, a total immersion in light, color and sound. It is an additive experience which requires time to be felt but one, too, in which the individual - the word spectator is out - can play a part by his own multi-reflected gestures.

Prisma is the result of six months of planning and working with fabricators by Gary Lee-nova and Michael Morris. It should be accounted a proud accession to the permanent collection of the Vancouver Art Gallery, even workshop workshop though the artists themselves consider it only as "Mark 1" in their exploring of light.

Since Prisma was built at Intermedia it rightly forms part of Intermedia Nights and Days. Other works, seen in various stages of completion at studios or the Intermedia workshop, also hold promise of novel gallery experiences.

In the dark room built for Craig Kaufman's plastic paintings in the Los Angles six, Audrey Capel Doray will display three kinetic light constructions.

Two carry forward the theme of her entry in the last B.C. Annual, featuring a mannequin's torso affixed to a mirror and mounted upon a wooden stand, like an object of worship.

Woman Falling combines successfully hard-edge, Art Nouveau and naturalistic aspects aspects in a work noteworthy for its opulent color.

Birth of Venus, however, is unabashedly romantic. The torso, painted from the back is of solid gold, Botticelli's head of the goddess from his famous painting between the breasts, her shell beneath them, and the whole intertwined with jewels, flowers and branches as in the springtime of love.

The torso upon its golden mirror will be set in gold fiberglass frame that angles out to hold 14 tiny yellow bulbs like those around a star's dressing table. When they dim out a fluorescent lamp will shine from behind, causing the purple and pink outlines of details on the torso to appear like droplets of color suspended in mid-air.

Some phrases from Judith Coppithorne's poems, in gold letters upon a clear plastic shield, will further enrich the connotations of this Venus, for which there will also be a wordless soundtrack.

The most mysterious of Audrey Capel Doray's constructions, however, will be the wheel of fortune. Mounted on a black drum will be a plastic disk upon which she has made a beautiful collage. It will only be perceived, though, as a color pattern for as you spin the disk eight lights placed beneath it begin to flash.

When the wheel stops you will see a fragment of the collage and a tape will say something to you. From this unexpected picture-sound combination and your spoken reaction to it, other chain reactions will follow, for your voice itself can activate the wheel.

It is the artist's hope that this fairground device may, along with its share of quips, draw out something deeper from those willing to treat it as more than a game.

Western Cybernetics have collaborated with her on the technical aspects and poet Gerry Gilbert put together most of the tape.

In the small Emily Carr gallery John Masciuch will be represented by three monumental neon sculptures. One will be a 28-foot wall panel, a harp of color which, as you run your fingers over it, lights up in pale greens golds white and a gamut of greys.

Another sculpture will respond to touch by both lighting up and emitting sound, while a third, of triangular design, will have a constant flow of colors rippling through it. The accompaniment will be the sizzling of seven motors.

Finally in the basement of the Gallery in Studio A, Joan Balzar and Herb Gilbert are co-operating in an experiment which they call Light on Light.

Joan Balzar's big stripe paintings with neon inserts from her show in mid march at the Bau-xi Gallery, along with some new works, can be floodlit by gallery-goers with white, red, blue or yellow spots. The paintings can thus be drastically changed and intriguing optical aftereffects created.

Joan Balzar has also collected some found objects such as Duchamp never dreamed of, like parts of old neon signs faced with aluminum foil.


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