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The Province
Sat., May 30th, 1968

Intermedia Nights - Show that gets its audience involved


The Intermedia Nights now taking place at the Vancouver Art Gallery are in many respects a festival of light - artificial light trapped in a darkened building and released again in subtle or dramatic ways.

Three of the installed environments which i described in Spotlight Magazine last Friday, when they were is a half finished state with the hopes of their makers, are now realities. Their success can now be gauged by the new double standards not only of esthetic impact but capacity to induce involvement.

The first environment into which the public is introduced at the Gallery is unfortunately the only failure, Light on Light by Joan Balzar and Herb Gilbert. Hastily conceived it brings neither a fresh revelation of Joan' Balzar's paintings nor tempts audience participation.

Only two people can sit at the switchboard which controls an overhead cluster of lights. During most of the time I was there a 12-year- old boy flicked the switches on and off with brain-fatiguing rapidity. This was Intermedia at it's worst: gadgety.

But on the main floor the presentations were of a high caliber. Audry Capel Doray's room containing three kinetic light structures was continually jammed. Her Birth of Venus is not the romantic piece I had imagined. It is far more dynamic. Venus is off her shell, as aggressive and smashing in her frame of marquee lights as a sign in times square.

My only criticism is that the incandescent front light and the fluorescent back one alternate too fast, so that few people were able to face the work for long, at least at such close quarters.

Apparently the piece can also be slowed down and the artist is making an adjustment - but not in time for this weeks Intermedia - which would insure an automatic variation of speeds.

Woman Falling, with its polarized light movement, had a greater overall rhythmical flow than I had expected. Seen through a torso of clear plastic are inserts of gold film upon which are drawn a nude in various positions falling. The slow, organic movement is repeated in the larger side figures, enclosed in a womb-like shape.

One could well conceive of dancers improvising before this sculpture.

But the wheel of fortune was the crowd-getter. Audry Capel Doray's idea of people talking to it had to be scraped as there was not time to solve the technical complications which it posed.

Instead, the Wheel is surrounded by a loop which when touched, caused lights to flash in different patterns beneath a circular collage. A tape also comes on.

However, most people seemed mesmerized purely by the play of light and the over-all mystery of the concept.

In the small Emily Car Gallery John Masciuch's Quasar was a realm of pure lyricism. His 28-foot panel of vertical fluorescent tubes had two aspects: as people stood in front of it, it became an animated frieze.

Many, delighting in the power of causing color appear at their finger tips, made graceful motions like those like swimmers. Response here was as great as to the wheel.

Masciuch's other free-standing monumental neon work also drew many affectionate hand-pats.


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