In Conversation: Ed Spence with Helga Pakasaar and Ian Wallace

Thu 04 Aug 2016 7PM

In Conversation: Ed Spence with Helga Pakasaar and Ian Wallace

Considering the ‘Vancouver Scenario’ and the politics of regionalism in photography

Thursday August 4, 2016, 7:00PM

Three Kinds of Abstraction Curator April Thompson's Essay

This event, held in conjunction with Three Kinds of Abstraction–an exhibition at Access Gallery curated by UBC masters student April Thompson.

In 1990 Ian Wallace published his essay “Photoconceptual Art in Vancouver,” in which he coined the term “photo-conceptualism.” Wallace declared that the regional as a territory holds a unique “peripheral relation to a dominant centre” and that such a scenario besets a “specific set of working conditions, social relations and receptivity of the work in the local institutions that promote it.” Featuring exhibiting artist Ed Spence in conversation with Wallace and Presentation House Gallery curator Helga Pakasaar, this event considers the ways in which the photo-conceptual avant garde photographers emerging in Vancouver from the late 1960s have become subject to the creative branding, artistic expectations and historical narrative of the city. How do contemporary photographers operate outside of this history? Does Vancouver remain a “regional” territory? What does it mean to make art in the post-expo global status of the city?


ED SPENCE is a Vancouver-based artist whose work spans many disciplines and calls upon text, photography and public installation. Spence studied fine art at University of British Columbia, Okanagan with a focus on Video and Sculpture. His practice explores the tensions of image-making within the mechanical, technological and hand-made. He has completed artist in residency programs in Toffia, Italy (2012) as well as the Burrard Arts Foundation, Vancouver (2015/16) which saw him expand his practice into painterly explorations of pictorial space. His work has been exhibited in Los Angeles, Montreal, Vancouver, the United Kingdom and Germany.

HELGA PAKASAAR is a curator and writer based in Vancouver. In addition to an independent practice, she has been Curator at Presentation House Gallery in North Vancouver since 2003. Her writing on visual art and photography has been widely published.

IAN WALLACE has played a critical role in the development of contemporary art since the late 1960s, through his important work as an art historian, critic and educator, and through an art practice that queries the possibility of representation as a method of constructing meaning in the world. Based in Vancouver, Wallace was named an Officer of the Order of Canada in December 2012.

APRIL THOMPSON is an MA candidate in the Critical Curatorial Studies program at the University of British Columbia. She has worked within Research, Curatorial, Education and Commercial capacities at the Frick Collection in New York City, The National Portrait Gallery of Australia, The National Gallery of Australia, and the Natural History Museum, London, U.K. Her curatorial and art historical practice is geared toward contemporary and modern art, photographic practices, postmodern geography and spatial politics.


This exhibition is possible through support from the Killy Foundation and the Audain Endowment for Curatorial Studies through the Department of Art History, Visual Art and Theory in collaboration with the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery at The University of British Columbia.


In Conversation: Ian Wallace, Helga Pakasaar & Ed Spence with guest curator April Thompson from Access Gallery on Vimeo.