KAI CHAN: A SPIDER'S LOGIC
A 35 year retrospective exhibition curated by Sarah Quinton, organized by the Textile Museum of Canada and Varley Art Gallery of Markham.
This exhibition is accompanied by a bilingual publication produced by Textile Museum of Canada and Varley Art Gallery of Markham.
April 21 – June 23, 2012
OPENING RECEPTION: Saturday, April 21 at 2:30 pm
TOUR WITH ARTIST AND CURATOR: Saturday, April 21 at 3:00 pm
Since 1975, Kai Chan's mixed media sculptures and installations have been sustained by his keen interest in expressing the small moments of daily life. His is a practice that stands out from the tradition of fiber-based art. This exhibition – a 35 year retrospective of one of Canada's most prominent fiber-based artists – celebrates Chan's achievements and reveals the essence of his observations of natural and constructed worlds.
"Cambridge Galleries has collected a number of Kai Chan's works because of his cutting edge approach to both material and technique," explains Iga Janik, curator of contemporary art. "His work is meticulous and innovative in terms of the objects he uses – consider what one could make out of a multitude of toothpicks. It's spectacular to see the level of detail and labour in Chan's creations out of such mundane objects."
Chan is a master of the unremarkable – twigs, thread, toothpicks and buttons are the ephemeral materials that he employs to create mesmerizing other-worlds. He works with common, household things that are reminders of his years growing up in China. He has altered the perception of what constitutes sculpture and what constitutes textiles by manipulating and representing elements of the natural world to conjure impressions that play on natural phenomena, geographical boundaries and cultural influences. Admission is free. All are welcome.
Kai Chan was born in Sichuan Province, China in 1940. He immigrated to Canada in 1966, after graduating with a degree in biology in 1963. He has received numerous grants and awards including the 1998 Jean A. Chalmers National Crafts Award and in 2002, the Saidye Bronfman Award for Excellence in the Fine Crafts. In 2003, and again in 2010, Chan was awarded the Canada Council for the Arts' Paris studio residency. He has exhibited in solo and group exhibitions across Canada, the United States, Japan, Australia and Europe. His work is represented in the collections of the Canadian Museum of Civilization (Gatineau, Québec); Musée des arts décoratifs de Montréal, now part of Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (Montréal, Québec); Museum London (London, Ontario); the Mendel Art Gallery (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan); the Canada Council Art Bank (Ottawa, Ontario); Cambridge Galleries (Cambridge, Ontario); the Museum of Fine Arts (Houston, Texas); and Nordenfjeldske Kunstindustrimusem (Trondheim, Norway). Kai Chan maintains his studio in Toronto.
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Images: Kai Chan, Mirage (detail). 2008, silk thread, nail. Photo: Cheryl O'Brien.