By Olga Ruskin
What goes on at art gallery openings? The Intermedia opening on May 19 at the Vancouver Art Gallery wasn't entirely typical of other affairs there this year but it did have several interesting features to it.
For one thing, babies attended and they usually don't. In fact, the Children's Gallery was designated as the Baby Room where young mothers could bring and lay down their young ones. However, events downstairs were far more interesting so mothers and babies eventually found their way there.
Members attending the opening were asked to wear white, though no reason was attached to this. Usually no request is made as to the type of clothing worn to the gallery's openings, though so far clothing has been worn. What will happen when "Hair" comes to Vancouver is another matter.meanwhile long hair and jeans are quite fashionable at these events though the mink stole is definitely OUT.
This opening had a somewhat ethereal look to it what with people floating around in white. Unless you looked carefully for the black belt it was hard to say who was on the karate team or not, for they to attended and were part of the opening night display.
To enter the Intermedia exhibition, you were directed downstairs past the washrooms then up other stairs instead of proceeding ten feet directly into the exhibition area. Then you had to pull aside a heavy curtain to be confronted with a wooden dome.
And domes, particularly geodesic domes, are the chief feature of the Intermedia exhibition this year. They come in various sizes and are made of various materials with different things in them. Audrey Doray has a fluorescent light panel in one. If you stand in front of it, you leave your image on it. Another dome is papered with aluminum foil, another with foam rubber. A number of small boxes are found in yet another dome. several men were putting these boxes on and taking cloths of this night.
One dome housed a group of flautists playing the bamboo flutes everyone received upon first entering. Several people lay on the floor in another dome and watch the lights that traveled back and forth.
The purpose of all this? To get you to try out various domes and find out for yourself what you can get out of them. In art today, you just don't sit back and look, you participate, you experience.
Well not everyone on opening night was in the domes exploring. A lot of people were just looking and just talking. Liquor does not flow freely but costs 50 cents a disposable cup worth. Still at times an opening resembles a cocktail party with people floating from group to group. Half the fun is picking out whose who.
Spotted in attendance at this opening were, of course, a number of Intermedia people, such as Audrey Doray, Glen Lewis (he did a mural for Canada's Osaka pavilion) poet Henry Rappaport, Dennis Vance (the sound sculptor who has a studio on the fringes of Gastown) as well as Duane Lunden, conceptual artist, and Jack and Doris Shadbolt. Plus lovely children dancing in the largest dome of all.
What exactly is Intermedia? The name has been around for a few years yet no doubt the general public will still be asking after attending the exhibition. Intermedia is the name given to a group of artists, poets, musicians and filmmakers working to explore relationships between the various media and who thus go beyond the traditional limits of the art form they are particularly concerned with. Audrey Doray, for example, started off with oils and watercolors but now is particularly involved with kinetic sculpture.
Intermedia ends on May 31 and is free with the exception of several happenings. Our opening night ended with white robed dancers and children dancing on Georgia St. in front of the Gallery to the noise of bamboo flutes.
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