Shannon Oksanen: Sculpturess

19 November 2010 - 5 February 2011

A Little Boat 2007 (4:38” looped) is a short 16mm film in black and white made in the spirit of the National Film Board of Canada’s accessible and morale boosting shorts. Documenting the adventures of a toy sailboat, the artist pays homage to the poetic quality of French filmmaker Albert Lamorisse’s short fantasy films of the 1950s; The Red Balloon and White Mane.

Oksanen’s film opens on a lake surrounded by hoary trees and follows the trajectory of a tiny handmade sailboat pushed by a stick out into the water. The camera follows the little vessel as it sails swiftly and deliberately across the lake, tacking and jibing marrionette-like through the reeds. The soundtrack is compiled of sampled and recomposed recordings of electronica from Delia Derbyshire and Daphne Ora’s BBC radiophonic workshop, an influential and experimental sound effect unit of the BBC operating in the late 1950s. Similar to Lamorisse’s ballon floating across the streets of Paris, the passage of the boat holds a childlike, nostalgic and half remembered quality.

The accompanying sculptures in this exhibition are inspired by the work of Franz West, Constantin Brancusi, Cy Twombly and Niki de Saint Phalle. Constructed with plaster, found wooden objects, string and feathers, the works are fashioned from a combination of humble materials and are deliberately modest in scale.

Shannon Oksanen is originally from Vancouver, where she currently lives and works. She studied fine arts at the University of British Columbia in 1993. Since the mid-nineties she has participated in exhibitions across Canada as well as internationally, including solo shows at VTO Gallery, London, England; Or Gallery, Vancouver; and Tracey Lawrence Gallery, Vancouver. Oksanen participated in Baja to Vancouver a touring exhibition of West Coast artists, coordinated by the Seattle Art Museum, San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art, Vancouver Art Gallery, and the Wattis Art Institute (2003). Since, she has participated in group exhibitions at Kelowna Art Gallery, (2003); Passogen Gallery, Linköping, Sweden (2004); Gallery 303, New York (2005); and Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver (2007). Her work is included in publications such as Read, Ed 1(Artist Portfolios), Emily Carr Institute Press, Vancouver (2007); Soundtracks, exhibition catalogue, Edmonton Art Gallery, (2005); Break Away!, exhibition catalogue, Kelowna Art Gallery, (2004); and Baja to Vancouver, exhibition catalogue, Vancouver Art Gallery, (2003). Reviews of her work have appeared in the online magazine, Akimblog (May 2007); Artforum, New York (January 2005); and Globe and Mail, Toronto (August 2001). Oksanen is represented by Lawrence Eng Gallery, Vancouver.