PLOT: Corner Store

Corner Store
September 3 – October 31, 2018
Reception September 27, 2018 at 7:00PM

Corner Store is a multi-site project by Lexie Owen that interrogates notions of social practice and community engagement in contemporary art. PLOT is transformed through an installation referential of the McGill Grocery near Burrard View Park in Vancouver, BC; a space which not only provides food but also serves as a community hub.

Solid bronze sculptures cast from items stocked in the PLOT Corner Store will simultaneously be displayed on the shelves of the McGill Grocery for the duration of the installation. In this reciprocal exchange of material objects and embodied practices, the McGill Grocery becomes the gallery, and PLOT becomes the corner store; intervening in the typical aesthetics and functions of either space. Corner Store thus seeks to recognize the central place of pride which this local corner store holds within the Burrardview neighbourhood, as well as to upend the implicit power structures and hierarchies of labour that oftentimes underlie artist-led community projects. While this project has evolved out of the specific histories of the Burrardview neighbourhood, it speaks broadly to the social and economic transactions that constitute neighbourhood space and asks important and timely questions about the role of artists in “engaging” community.



Alongside this installation will be a PLOT SUMMARY publication as part of a series of zines accompanying the activities of each sessional occupant of the PLOT space. The Corner Store PLOT SUMMARY contains photographs of the absent bronze sculpture objet d’arts as well as a conversation between Lexie Owen, Access staff Muhan Zhang, and Harry Mah, co-owner of the McGill Grocery. A supporter and friend to Owen during the past three years of her residency at the Burrardview Fieldhouse, Mah is an indelible presence in this project. This publication provides space for him to share, in his own words, his knowledge of and role within the McGill Grocery and the Burrardview/Hastings-Sunrise community.


Corner Store Discussion Series

The Corner Store discussion and events series is a critical component of this project through which community members at-large can come together to discuss pertinent questions of social practice and community engagement in contemporary art, as well as urgent and specific local issues of food commodity and production, gentrification, and the erosion of community under conditions of financial precarity. The three discussion sessions in the series are led by artists, curators, and cultural workers knowledgeable to the respective topics being addressed, and are punctuated by special events such as Andrea Creamer’s Anti-Fascist Karaoke, and Lexie Owen’s walking tour of the Burrardview/Hastings Sunrise neighbourhood.

Session 1 | Food: Commodity, Collaboration, Community
Saturday, September 29, 2018, 1:00PM-3:00PM

In collaboration with BC Culture Days.
The first session centres around food objects as sustenance, culture, and commodity within and beyond local corner stores. How might we leverage capitalist frameworks towards something more humane; towards building community?

Stay tuned for additional information on Corner Store events in the coming weeks:

Session 2 | Itinerant Institutions
Saturday, October 13, 1:00PM-3:00PM

Special Event | Anti-Fascist Karaoke
Thursday, October 18, 8:00PM10:00PM
Hosted by Andrea Creamer

Session 3 | Community and Solidarity
Saturday, October, 20th, 2018, 1:00PM-3:00PM
In collaboration with Art Book Week organized by Vancouver Art Book Fair.

Special Event | Hastings-Sunrise & Burrardview walking Tour
Saturday, October 27, 1:00-3:00PM


Lexie Owen is an emerging artist who lives and works in the unceded Coast Salish Territory known as Vancouver, BC. Owen’s practice bridges disciplines, exploring notions of tacit knowledge, labour, visibility, legitimacy and the strange particularities of living with, and attempting to claim agency within, the structures of late-capitalism. Since 2015 Owen has worked imbedded in community, as artist-in-residence at Burrardview Park Fieldhouse. Focusing on strategies that disrupt the hierarchies of power often implicit in community-oriented work, Owen has developed numerous significant projects while in residence in the Burrardview community, including itinerant community-based curatorial project WNDW Gallery (2015-17) and participatory durational maintenance performance ODD JOBS (ongoing since 2016).

Owen has studied at The Banff Centre (2018), Emily Carr University (2014) and Kootenay School of the Arts (2011). Recent and upcoming solo presentations of her work include Exchange Hour (Canadian Glass and Clay Gallery, Waterloo ON); Fair Secrets (Far Afield, Agassiz BC) and The Evelyn Exhibition (SiteFactory, Vancouver). Notable group exhibitions include JOINT EFFORTS (Harbourfront Centre, Toronto); FIELD GUIDES (Roundhouse Exhibition Hall, Vancouver BC); In The Hole (PAVED arts, Saskatoon); Break the Legs of What I Want to Happen (Access Gallery, Vancouver); and Fresh Paint, New Construction (Art Mur, Montreal). Owen’s work has been supported by: The BC Arts Council, The Banff Centre for the Performing Arts, The Society of North American Goldsmiths, The Vancouver Foundation, The City of Vancouver’s Parks Board and The City of Vancouver – Cultural Services.

Image: McGill Grocery, Vancouver, B.C. (photo: Muhan Zhang)


Accessibility Notes


With gratitude as guests, Access is located on the unceded territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.

Access additionally recognizes its location in Vancouver’s Chinatown, an area for the gathering of predominantly Cantonese-speaking Chinese labourers, settlers, and businesses since the nineteenth century.


Access gratefully acknowledges the BC Government’s Collaborative Spaces Program and sponsor Measured Architecture for making PLOT possible, as well as the ongoing support of following funders, and our committed donors, members and volunteers.