Collage art on display at Vancouver Art Gallery
By Cheryl Minns, Arts Editor
Vancouver’s vibrant and colourful scenery is beautifully reflected in Jessie McNeil’s collage art, currently on display in the Showroom at the Vancouver Art Gallery until July 31.
The exhibit features 27 new figurative collage pieces that depict scenes from around Vancouver’s Strathcona and Chinatown neighbourhoods. The artwork is based on street photography done by McNeil and made using magazine clippings.
“I just flip through magazines and when I see a colour, I immediately grab it and cut it out. In some cases, if I see denim immediately, then I’ll use that for jeans,” McNeil said.
The collages capture people going about their everyday lives as they shop, work, spend time with friends, and roam the city streets.
“There’s just something really nice about the scene of public spaces around you being engaged with people using them,” she said.
This particular collection has a personal connection for McNeil because the collages represent the Strathcona area where she grew up.
“When I look at these Chinatown collages, it reminds me of home,” she said. “But at the same time I think about the changes going on in that neighbourhood that aren’t benefitting the people.”
One of the collages from the collection that resonates with viewers is “E. Georgia.” It depicts three men in cooking uniforms taking a break in a back alley in Chinatown—two of them smoking and one of them checking his smartphone—while a man in jeans and a jacket with a blue umbrella passes by.
“Somebody just told me, ‘That is so Chinatown.’ It talks about light and you get a real sense of figure and of place with this one piece,” she said. “I tend to choose people who have clothes that reflect light or just show contrast in shades and stuff.”
For more information on McNeil’s artwork and her upcoming shows, check out JessieMcNeil.ca.
The Vancouver Art Gallery Showroom is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and McNeil’s exhibit will be on display until July 31.