&TUR Retrospect

About And The Upper Room (&TUR)

&TUR was officially established in 2011 as an open concept creative space for artists (in the broadest sense) to exhibit and to promote their works. The mandate of &TUR is to create opportunities for artists of all levels to showcase their works with minimal constraints of academic or commercial criterions. All &TUR exhibitions are intended to be practically and intellectually accessible for artists and visitors. As I was researching and planning the initial series of &TUR exhibitions, I came across a very insightful interview on curating in Issue 18 of Elephant magazine with curator of Artfore, Rafal Niemojewski, in which he mentioned the notion of “public art”. This particular notion of “public art” is very similar to the art experience that &TUR intends to facilitate. In the interview Niemojewski explained exactly what he meant by “public art”:

“It’s an umbrella term to describe the way that a certain kind of art is directly made available to the public. It is usually sited or staged in that public domain and doesn’t require you to purchase a ticket or make an appointment to see it. It offers a different type of experience from the one at the museum, which comes with a set of culturally determined norms and prescribed forms of visitor behaviour. This is what public art avoids. It removes the cultural constructs around what an experience of art should be. It also removes art works from the protective environment of the art institution and requires them to confront the reality of everyday life. Last but not least, it enables long-term engagement with specific sites and communities and a greater degree of participation.”

From 2011 to 2015, I curated and hosted 8 -10 exhibitions every year; 4 of which were non-juried group exhibitions that were open to all levels and all ages of artists. The rest of the exhibitions were artists-run exhibitions, which required artists to have a consistent body of works and have a clear concept of what they want to present. Many young emerging artists used this exhibition platform as a springboard to launch their first solo exhibition. In the span of 5 years, I held a total of 32 exhibitions and featured more than 50 local and travelling artists. 17 of these artists were children artists under the age of 12 , who were featured in the #wecanalldraw exhibition series that was developed to celebrate, preserve and value the sense of innocence and originality found in children’s creativity.

The last &TUR exhibition ended in October 2015 featuring Patricia Haley-Tsui, a local artist who supported and participated in the &TUR community from the very beginning. She never missed participating in the quarterly group exhibitions and always amazed me with the abundance of her creativity and works.

Retrospection of &TUR: 2011 – 2015 is the first curated exhibition in the The Taste and See Shop, a multi-purpose retail shop for tasteful coffee, arts and products, where I will be hosting and curating future #wecanalldraw exhibitions and artist-run exhibitions for 2016 and 2017. This exhibition features art works I have collected through &TUR exhibitions and the Vancouver Eastside Cultural Crawl from 2011 to 2015. I want to demonstrate the diversity of talents and works that have been featured through the &TUR venue and will continue the same mandate of facilitating accessible art experiences and valuing all levels of creativities in the new venue. Retrospection of &TUR: 2011- 2015 will be in The Taste and See Shop from January 5 – February 14, 2016.

Artists featured in Retrospection of &TUR: 2011-2015 are

Cindy / Richmond BC / children artist / pencil crayon drawing
Isaac Li / Richmond BC / children artist / pastel drawing
Jim Park / Vancouver BC / working artist / oil painting
Jun Han Lin / Richmond BC / working artist / colour pencil drawing
K. Kristensen / Vancouver BC / working artist / printmaking
Kumi Flury / Switzerland / working artist / jewelry design
Kyu Hwang / Seoul, Korea / working artist / pencil drawing
Livingston Li / Richmond BC / children artist / colour pencil drawing
Rok Yu / Vancouver BC / working artist / oil painting
Sooyeon Goo / Vancouver BC / working artist / printmaking
Tamako Kimura / Vancouver BC / working artist / felting
TJ Huang / Kaohsiung, Taiwan / hobby artist / silk box making
Ya Wei Lin / Vancouver BC / working artist / drawing

 

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