‘False Pretenses’ exhibit at the Amelia Douglas Gallery
By Cheryl Minns, Arts Editor
False Pretenses, a new exhibit from Pierre Leichner and Bill Edmonds at the Amelia Douglas Gallery, showcases the power of people, places, and paper with works made from medical books and rag paper depicting nature scenes and personal portraits.
Leichner’s works mostly consist of large, altered books hollowed out in shapes such as smoking pipes, people, and canyons, or carved out and filled with objects such as pill-like candies, roses, and soap. According to his artist statement in the gallery’s catalogue, his journey into this art form began many years ago when he worked as a psychiatrist and referred to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). He wanted the artwork, which includes several altered copies of the DSM and other pharmacological texts, to question issues with the current mental health practices.
The excavation-like scenes carved into the altered books, such as the “Compendiums of Pharmaceutical Specialties” pieces, are designed to question issues in the mining industry, according to Leichner’s artist statement. The “DSM and CPS excavation series” is a collection of digital prints that he made to document the excavation process. Leichner wrote that the paper he removes from the carved books is then used in his paper cast sculptures, such as the delicate angels in “DSM and CPS Angels” and the intricate mirror frames in “DSM and CPS mirrors.”
Edmonds’ portraits, which are printed on rag paper as well as painted on Plexiglas, are based on photos he received from online users he had met in Internet chat rooms, according to his artist statement. His works question the anonymity of the Internet and the release of personal information, whether genuine or artificial. He suspects that some of the photos sent to him were from people who were pretending to be someone else on social media.
Along with the portraits, Edmonds created a mixed media piece called “Random Stranger,” which consists of a human-sized, paper-like statue dressed in casual clothing that is sitting at a personal computer in the gallery.
Leichner and Edmonds will close the exhibit’s run with an artists’ talk at 10 a.m. on February 26 in the Amelia Douglas Gallery, which is located on the fourth floor of the Douglas College New Westminster campus.