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Tuesday, April 8, 1969

Art Intermedia Takes Over,

Sun Art Critic

Monday was the first night of Electrical Connection. That's what they call it when Intermedia takes over all over the Vancouver Art Gallery for a week.

The exhibition will be open continuously throughout the day and evening until April 13, with four noon and three evening performances scheduled.

Electrical connection consists of the most recent experiments by Vancouver artists and technologists. The ideas, are alive original and exciting, and no need to be indulgent about the execution. In most cases its very professional.

It seems as though the individuals who make Intermedia what it is are beginning to focus on their own lines of development.

Experiment for its own sake should and does go on, bit it isn't always worth showing in public. Electrical connection shows that a useful connection is being made between the traditional groupings of the arts, and between them and technology, not just mutual exploitation because they are available.

Spectator is participator in nearly every work. The most unavoidable being a wall of 60 television sets ranging, left to right, from the most respectable console sets to a pile of scrap. Some are set sideways, in some the screen has been replaced by a mirror, in some, paper.

The functioning screens show a whole range of channels, some of them short circuited to what is going on through the gallery. The whole composition, half dead, half alive, illustrates well and morbidly the impermanence of the TV with which we live - the work of Shandel, Fix and Rimmer.

Effective and unbalancing is a strobe-lit wire-mesh maze by Ron Stonier and Naimoi Promislow. As environmental disorientation it is a complete success.

A graffitteer's paradise is a unisexual 'washroom,' or rather a small room lined with blackboard, and you write whatever you like. It is made by Madeleine Bennett.

Another kind of participation is offered by Robert Arnold's "semi-disposable tunnel' of cardboard boxes. Accompanied by flashing lights you propel yourself through it sitting in a wheel chair; a bit slight as experience, but it is one.

Ed Varney's kitchen, fully reconstructed, with Varney's family and everyone else sitting around the table, offers the ultimate in one kind of intimate participation.

There is a beautifully made 'room' by Dennis Vance and Michael de Courcy in which larger than life silhouette figures have been cut from the walls. they stand around and respond sonically.

Nelson Holland's Growth Sculpture depends for its success on the ingenuity of visitors. Like a child's building blocks or any construction module the result can be feeble or fantastic. The 300 triangles are potentially a great idea.

Gathie Falk,s contributions are concerned with texture. A huge bale of shredded paper, some of it loosely filling a plexiglas container, set up a kind of contrast which people found irresistible. They dismantled her sculpture in a way that Faulk had not foreseen Taping an almost naked subject to the floor as she did during opening night was a dehumanized way of experimenting with the texture of skin and red sticky tape.

A computer was used to feed light and color through a TV screen; an inflated vinyl alphabet hung above the entrance, and Joan Balzar's painting hung in conjunction with Paul Wong's Plexiglas pyramids. It is far from usual to have so many materials and techniques together.

And over it all went Glen Lewis Ribbon Run, a white ribbon from the door across several rooms to a chaste chamber scattered with white stone-chips. It isn't a new idea, but done the Lewis way it offers underfoot tactile senscentions that are not unpleasant when encountered in a gallery.

Through it all, members of THEco Helen Goodwin's dancers, bounced and wandered in a fabulous assortment of costumes designed by Tad Young.

A black velvet suit trimmed with tiny electric lights, a bikini studded with nails, points out, made an interesting complement to a vast "skirt" - similar to the one Jim Byars, an american artist, has had walking through New York with fifty people - worn by five or six and fringed with helium balloons.

Arnold, in overalls, sets to work painting a plank a delicate eau de nil in the middle of the floor. And then he painted the other side. Minimal art, minimally commented on.

Otherwise Electrical Connection is maximal in effect and Intermedia is justifying its existence.


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