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.
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)