Two South Granville exhibitions to check out ASAP!

We are head over heels in love with how the arts adapted during and post-quarantine. Over the past three months, we have closely followed how artists, galleries and cultural institutions increased their online presence by hosting virtual showrooms, studio visits, concerts, plays and exhibitions. Being able to stay connected to the arts to explore the vast offerings that artists present from across the world has been enriching to say the least. Not only has it helped us stay grounded but it has also exponentially increased our exposure to the important issues that artists are exploring and shedding light on from different corners of the world. 

Although we are thrilled with these online experiences available in the arts, we must admit – seeing an artwork in person adds another dimension of enjoyment and resonance. As we have moved into Phase 3 of BC’s Restart Plan, we felt that it was time for us to get our art fix – so we grabbed our masks, put on our walking shoes and took a stroll down South Granville to see what our amazing local galleries have on display.  

Here are two exhibitions we experienced on Thursday that we recommend you see in person! *Note: they are closing soon, so if you are unable to make it there in time, please do make sure to check them out online!


3045 Granville Street
Vancouver, BC V6H 3J9
604 733 7011
[email protected]

Regular hours: Mon-Sat 10am – 5:30pm, Sun 11am – 5:30pm
COVID-19 procedures: Hand sanitizer available at the front door, maximum of 6 guests at a time. Large open space which allows you to easily mantain physically distance. 

>> If you have been to Bau-Xi Vancouver before we are sure you will agree: it is a stunning space. The artworks are displayed over two levels with the current exhibition, Writing on the Sky on the ground level and works from other artists in the front room and on the second floor. Bau-Xi Gallery has been a fixture in the local art scene since 1965 and over the decades has since expanded to Toronto, Seattle and Banff. The Director of their Vancouver gallery, Riko Nakasone, was kind enough to show us around the current exhibition.

Writing on the Sky, on now until July 2nd, features the sublime landscape paintings of Canadian artist, Robert Marchessault. We were instantly enchanted by the works as we stepped into the main room. His work, often featuring a single tree, is a gentle flirtation between reality and imagination. The details of the lush, vibrant leaves pulls you in closer as you examine the stunning brushwork against pastel fields of colours in the background. 

Bau-Xi Vancouver writes, “Since 1977 Robert Marchessault has explored ways to present the natural world in paint…. His paintings of trees are based on careful observation of nature. Nonetheless, they are completely invented using memory combined with free drawing expressing a range of emotions. Imagination plays a critical role when composing his paintings. Beginning with a vague image in mind, Marchessault develops his trees spontaneously, rapidly building the forms in a gestural manner. The varied twists and shapes of trees show the forces that determine character. There is deliberate allusion to our human lives.” 

In a recent Q & A with Bau-Xi, Marchessault states, “Since the image of a tree itself is highly symbolic I hope each person, regardless of cultural background, can assign meaning that is specific to themselves. Each painting of a tree or trees plays with how the environment influences growth and life. My trees show what interests me – the way that they respond to the impact of various stressors. I often paint bent and twisted shapes. I love how trees can somehow survive even the hardest conditions. I think we all can associate our own paths through life with these shapes. Trees also present us with “beauty”. The concept of beauty has a long history and much has been written about it. I often strive to address this notion with my work.”

Marchessault continues to explain, “Over time I’ve worked to pare down the backgrounds to play a supporting role, like the grounding tones in a musical piece (think the rhythm section in a jazz performance). I have a strong interest in visual art that is grounded in spiritual dimensions, with an emphasis on images and objects that help us to suspend thinking and experience what’s present.” 

Marchessault’s relationship with trees does not end on the canvas. He has planted thousands of trees in his lifetime and is whole-heartedly committed to ecological responsibility. He says, “My painting can be seen as an inquiry which ultimately seeks to reveal how painted images act as a metaphor for who or what I am. The landscape paintings, which I have been making since the mid-1970s, seek to reveal my emerging understanding of the non-duality of nature… I use memory as a filtering agent to remove nonessential visual elements. When a work is successful, it has a poetry that presents some aspect of my understanding of who I am.”

Viewing Writing On the Sky in person is a truly uplifting experience and if you are able to visit Bau-Xi, we challenge you to stand in front of the painting of your choice for 90 seconds, clear your mind, take deep breaths and allow the sublimity of the work to guide your thoughts and experience. If you are unable to make it to the gallery, make sure to check it out online, and challenge yourself to the same routine in nature, with a real tree.



2342 Granville Street
Vancouver, BC V6H 3G3
604 738 1077
[email protected]

Temporary hours: Tue-Sat 12pm – 5pm
COVID-19 procedures: Hand sanitizer available at the front door, maximum of 6 guests at a time. Large open space which allows you to easily mantain physically distance.

>> Ian Tan Gallery is a must see. Established in 1999, Ian Tan Gallery represents important emerging and established artists in contemporary Canadian Art. Afternoons in the gallery are especially delightful as the sun shines through the floor-to-ceiling windows and fills the thoughtfully curated and well laid out space. Gallery associate Jason Young greeted us with a warm welcome and kindly told us all about the current works on display.

On exhibit now until July 4th, Writing on the Walls features a series of figurative paintings by Vancouver artist Jana Rayne MacDonald. Upon viewing her work we were delighted to join the subjects’ point of view  and their journey as we were transported into their location and adopted their persona. 

MacDonald’s use of naturalism helps her create an interplay between both familiar and fictional scenes and characters. We were impressed by her skillful approach to the representation of contemporary clothing – reminiscent of classical and academic paintings of rich, luscious fabrics of the past. We also enjoyed how her transitions from depicting 3D (figures and objects) to 2D textures (graffiti and billboards) successfully achieved the portrayal of a world within a world. Ian Tan Gallery writes, “Jana’s lifelong fascination with the individual and collective relationship and cultural interpretation of our surroundings, urban, industrial and natural, informs the series.  

“The positioning of a figure with obscured faces, characters in a cinematic scene, transports the viewer enabling an adopted persona; an enhanced unique relationship to the scene creating a participatory experience that poses as many questions as it answers. Jana seeks to re-expose us to our familiar surroundings while enabling a new understanding and narrative. Our multifaceted experience is most often perceived as mostly passive yet simultaneously expressed as mark maker and social interpreter in the immediate form of graffiti and public art and by expansion industrial development all positioned for a second look, a refreshed appreciation of effect. The featured mark making, both physical and contextual, is intended to decorate, denigrate, populate the scene and facilitate new understandings.

“Jana’s social realism pays homage to the East Coast Realists celebrating everyday life through her collage of imagery to create a ‘real’ scenario through a natural process of intertwining the personal and societal. Vancouver is contextualized and serves as a departure in the exploration of the natural and industrial landscapes juxtaposed with the mark maker and public art.”

As with all art, information detailing the artist’s thoughts on their work is always a bonus to the experience, so we encourage you to ask the Ian Tan Gallery staff to see the painting notes and read them as you view the work to get a better understanding of the work’s full story. 

Such as this: Crown Jewels, 2019

MacDonald writes, “In Vancouver we are fortunate to live in such proximity to lush and diverse nature. Here the mountain scene, that features glaciers (the crown jewels) is pictured within the form of a billboard as an expression of public art, an appreciation of place and potential commodification. Our relationship to the natural world needs to be managed so that nature is enjoyed, respected and protected. The hiker is both yearning for and appreciating the view.”

Also on display at Ian Tan Gallery is work from their EXHIBITION 1010 program which are exhibitions that run concurrently with their established solo exhibition program and features guest artists from across B.C. Check out past and upcoming exhibitions here.

Source: Jana Rayne MacDonald

Other South Granville galleries not to miss:

We were so engaged at each of these galleries that we spent much more time than we had budgeted and sadly we ran out of time to visit all the other wonderful galleries located in the South Granville area. Here are some other galleries we recommend adding to your next visit, specially Kurbatoff Gallery who is exhibiting stunning textural West Coast landscapes by Marleen Vermeulen until July 6.

Douglas Reynolds Gallery
Current hours: Mon-Sat 10am – 6pm, Sun 12pm – 5pm
The gallery is maintaining normal hours while practicing physical distancing
2335 Granville Street
Vancouver, BC V6H 3G4


Heffel Gallery
Temporary hours: Mon-Fri 9am – 5pm: by appointment only
604 732 6505
2247 Granville Street
Vancouver, BC V6H 3G1

Kurbatoff Gallery
Temporary hours: Tues-Sat 11am – 5pm, Sun 12pm – 4pm
Current exhibition June 11-July 6, 2020: Marleen Vermeulen, New Works 
604 736 5444
[email protected]
2435 Granville Street
Vancouver, BC V6H 3G5

Petley Jones Gallery
Temporary hours: Tue-Sat 11am – 3pm or by appointment
604 644 4245
[email protected]
2245 Granville Street
Vancouver, BC V6H 3G1

Uno Langmann Gallery

Temporary hours: Wed-Fri 12pm – 4pm: appointment recommended
604 736 8825
[email protected]
2117 Granville Street
Vancouver, BC V6H 3E9


Virtual visits only (for now)

Elissa Cristall Gallery
Online exhibitions only until further notice

Marion Scott Gallery
Online exhibitions only until further notice