The work of Stephanie Patsula is in one of four exhibitions opening at The Reach Gallery Museum on Jan. 24. Her photography-based exhibition is titled (In) Site.

Four new exhibitions at The Reach focus on the human body

Opening reception takes place Jan. 24 at Abbotsford gallery

An opening reception takes place Thursday, Jan. 24 for four new exhibits opening at The Reach Gallery Museum.

The reception begins at 7 p.m. at the gallery, 32388 Veterans Way, and the exhibitions challenge audiences to reconsider accepted notions about the human body in art.

Remote Gardening with DysfunctionED Tools is a 20-year retrospective of the work of Mohsen Khalili, an artist originally from Iran who resided in Abbotsford from 2002 to 2016.

Khalili emigrated to Canada in 1997 and was soon exhibiting his work regularly in the Lower Mainland. His career took an unexpected turn when he was diagnosed with a debilitating medical condition.

As he continues to work with physical tools that are increasingly failing, Khalili has embraced an esthetics of imperfection – by “making undone,” he uses his work to reflect on the universal nature of entropy, and to remind us that to have a body inherently means learning to live with failure.

In Crash Pad and Trucker Bombs, artist Cindy Baker explores gender culture, queer theory, and fat activism, often with a focus on the ways weakening, disabled, obese, or otherwise socially taboo bodies fail to meet the demands of capitalist, consumer culture.

The exhibition presents two distinct but related bodies of work: Crash Pad is a combination of drawing, video and patterned wallpaper that depicts scenes of loving, domestic intimacy between everyday women with disabilities and chronic health issues.

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Trucker Bombs is a series of lightbox installations that speak to the pressures put on even able bodies to perform productivity under capitalism.

(In) Site is a photography-based exhibition by artist Stephanie Patsula, whose work is often performance-based, frequently occurring in remote wilderness areas for very limited (or no) audiences.

This exhibition presents large-scale photographs that document these performances, in which Patsula manipulates and contorts her body using mirrors and multiple exposure techniques to create uncanny forms that express bodily unease and lost identity in relation to the natural environment.

Patsula and Baker’s exhibitions are included in Capture Photography Festival’s 2019 Selected Exhibition Program.

Rounding out the season is Art Demand 5.1, work by emerging local artist Kendra Schellenberg and curated by Lisa Edwards.

It features images of the female form drawn from glossy magazines, then reinterpreted and transformed using natural elements like wood and thorns.

The four exhibitions run until May 5.

They are complemented by a six-week art history course focusing on the human form in art.

Taught by Barry Magrill, this course explores our fascination with ourselves by looking across the ages at art of the human form – from Leonardo da Vinci’s drawing of the Vitruvian Man, to portraits of Michelle Obama, to the comic books that inspired Roy Lichtenstein.

Classes are held at The Reach on Thursdays from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. from Jan. 31 to March 7. Registration is required and can be done online at thereach.ca or in person.

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