Analysis from Museum Gallery & Retail Visits Vancouver

Ian Tan Art Gallery

Bau Xi

The first thing I noticed when I entered the Bau Xi gallery was the groupings of the paintings. The paintings were all put together by color moods (warm tones & cool ) layout and style. I also noticed the use of balance when the artists would pair a basic layout with an intricate detail. From this gallery I left with the feeling movement and consistency in an organic nature was crucial to the galleries current theme. The distinctive themes I noticed throughout the galleries allowed me to apply similar themes to clothing lines. It has helped to give me another starting point or viewpoint when I am beginning to design a line.

18 Karat

I thoroughly enjoyed looking through 18 Karat as an analyst and an individual. I found that the modern and organic nature of the store was a theme that strongly spoke to me. The entire store maintained an abstract, warm feeling that was exceptionally naturalistic. All of the complementary themes worked together to create a meaningful, relaxed mood. My browse through 18 Karat made me feel like I had to get to know the 18 Karat customer, because this may possibly be the customer that I one day hope to design for.

Winsor Gallery

At the Winsor gallery I learned two things. The first being that you cannot judge a book by it’s cover. I found the top floor of the Windor Gallery very unimpressive, with nothing worthwhile to report. However on the bottom floor I was taken back by the perspective work by Patrick Hues. The seemingly hidden, original use of perspective allowed a very long lasting sense of fascination. This gallery reminded me of the importance of the shock factor, and product placement when it comes to strong and weaker pieces.


At bedo there was a very relaxed,natural atmosphere. With a main TM focus of women, at first I thought that the layout of sticking mens clothing in the back was odd. I motioned that men would probably not wander into a womens store to find clothing in the far back corner. However lindie suggested that perhaps this clothing arrangement was targeted towards women shopping for their men. Again the value of knowing your customer is reaffirmed. I also noticed particular groupings within the bedo store. Specifically similarities are grouped by occasion, styles and finally color. Neutrals were often paired on either side of a color, I’m sure this product placement is to attract the viewers eye to the color without being overwhelmed. It also creates easy coordination of pieces.

Pottery Barn Kids

I think what struck me most with pottery barn is the fact that the assumption, the staples and the everyday do sell. The store was obviously divided by pink for girls, blue for boys with careful and discreet color diversity placed in the way of trims, additions, notions and add ons. Everything had a very soft hue, which allowed for a very welcoming soft atmosphere perfect for stressed mothers and distracted infants. I think this store has taught me something about bread and butter pieces, that it pays off to have them and that a lot of consumers want to stay within their comfort zone. It only makes sense to also supply for this market.

Jack & Jill, Ashia Mode & Tique

These three stores for me spoke of similar themes, groupings and direction when it came to their store layout. Although I wouldn’t specifically brand these stores as coordinated stores they do have coordinated pieces within the lines where tactics can be picked up from. With women, and the average shopper it is clear that a subtle coordination is more desirable than an obvious one. The comfort zone factor is also apparent here when colors are only paired with neutrals, or their coordinated shirt. Similar fabrics are also often grouped together. Generally in layout it is spaced out, prestigious and modern which imitates the subtle use of color and pop within the stores. Once again knowing your market thoroughly is clear, as the wrong market would be turned off by the relaxed open layout.

Kurbatoff Art Gallery & Equinox

Within the kurbatoff gallery precision of craft is shown, and this proven impeccable quality is backed up by the number of paintings that are sold. I find again that the paintings and groupings tell a story of scene (nature, city life) medium (paint? Pastel? Other?) and pieces that are more background to others with pops of color. From my visits to the art gallery one thing stands clear, when I am lost on layout look to abstract for inspiration. A good abstract presents an unusual layout that gives an individual a certain perspective and mood, similarily I need to make my storyboards work in this way. With the Equinox gallery there was not much to report other than I found myself thoroughly unimpressed, the gallery had a distinct odor of cheese and had been essential stripped of all it’s paintings (either that or they were all sold).


Escada like Ashia Mode & Tique showed a mixture of neutrals with colors, light pastels with light neutrals, darker, bolder tones with stronger, richer neutrals. Again garments were displayed by style/occasion and matching. It seems that almost all retail stores (Especially within distinct markets) follow very similar if not the exact same format. I wonder if this format works efficiently for the clients and is perfected, or if it is under developed and every retailer is making the same boring mistake. Either way I’ve found exceptionally few stores that wow me, and have attracted me on a consistent basis.

White Room at The Bay

This was my absolute favourite stop, I hadn’t been to the white room yet and I coudln’t help but become ecstatic as an individual, a designer and (I’m sorry S) a shopper (I didn’t buy!) Co-ordination couldn’t of become clearer to me without the help of the White Room at the Bay, what I thought I fully understood was staring me flat in the face the second I looked at each of the collections. What I took from the bay that I can apply to my future is the fact that coordination can be beautiful, it doesn’t strip you of options and it just makes sense!


Kentree Speirs

Above It All, 2015, Oil on Panel, 42 x 36 in.

Convergence, 2015, Oil on Panel, 40 x 32 in.

Miles From Nowhere, 2015, Oil on Panel, 36 x 48 in.

Into, 2015, Oil on Panel, 30 x 40 in.

As someone who majored in forestry and moved to British Columbia to live in the Rockies, Kentree Speirs understands the drama and romance of mountains. Using landscape imagery, he tries to convey the sense of absorbing an all-encompassing view, capturing the thrill felt standing on a precipice peering into the void. As paintings, these works find a unique voice by blending stylistic elements. Aspects of his technique are executed with delicacy, while others are boldly applied - his process at times made evident through employing drips and wild impasto brushstrokes. Kentree’s colour choices cover the spectrum, resulting in a kinetic swirl of disorienting, spectacular painterly accidents.

His work could be described as abstract expressionist, colour-field landscape painting, where the suggestion of earthy structures is given prevalence to human figures. The focus is not on a single perspective - Kentree traces cliff contours, letting us peek over and around the edges until the kaleidoscopic melange dissolves into a sea of infinite whiteness. Through channeling vital energy into painting, he explores emotive translations of the sublime as a way of communicating his passion. As Speirs’ work continues to evolve, he remains one to watch, making him an exciting addition to the canon of artists who capture British Columbia’s dramatic landscape.



Wound Up, 2015

Acrylic on Canvas, 36″ x 36″

Sean William Randall settles us in a monochromatic landscape. The measured horizon is punctuated with architectural tree-lines and waterways. Hues of blue fuse together, bringing to mind that moment of night-meets-day washed across a boundless prairie sky.  

Then there is a car.

Whether the emulsion of fire and smoke tailing behind the vehicle foreshadows a fiery demise or is merely evidence of how the car travelled to our sight-line is left to our interpretation. For Some Roads Randall balances precise details and an illusory rendering of reality to suspend us in a time and place beyond the limitations of the ordinary.

Sean William Randall’s show Some Roads opens December 5, 2015

More works on view:




David Edwards

Ancient Land Plan, 2015, Oil on Canvas, 28 x 28 in.

Old Land Plan, 2015, Oil on Canvas, 28 x 28 in.

In composing an image the artist is often trying to identify what they find pleasing. Everything we see has an inherent mathematical logic that can be broken down into simple or complex arrangements. This notion formed an aspect of the modernist movement - artists getting to the heart of what a painting actually was, and in excavating that premise, finding out what makes an image sing.

The deconstruction began with Paul Cezanne who, by enclosing his colour with outlines, emphasized the underlying geometric structure of his compositions. Piet Mondrian pushed this further, reducing his paintings to straight lines and primary colours - the basic, elemental properties of all paintings. In explaining the way David Edwards works, it is useful to refer to the historical precedence of how and why artists examine visual elements. Edwards is employing a type of abstraction, through visibly broad brush-marks and the residue of ghostly shapes to acknowledge the fabricated illusion of his painting. A dashing red line up the side of Old Land Plan references this latent grid that informs all types of seeing. By figuring out what they want to paint, artists investigate the way our visual world is structured, from the boundaries of the canvas to the molecular structures of all matter.




Suzy Taekyung Kim

Colored Love, 2015, Acrylic, Crystalline, Mica, White Gold on Panel, 42 x 61 in.

Firework I, 2015, Acrylic, Crystalline, Mica on Panel, 20 x 20 in.

Firework II, 2015, Acrylic, Crystalline, Mica on Panel, 20 x 20 in.




Kristofir Dean

Mountain Valley, 2012, Oil on Canvas

Dawn Chorus, 2012, Oil on Panel

The substance of painting- ie. form and colour are placed front and center in Vancouver based painter Kristofir Dean’s work. By painting in vivid, opaque stripes of colour Dean does away with notions of representation and places the onus on the colours and their relationships as the sole purveyor of subject matter. 

Expounding on a century and a half of colour theory, Dean explores the possibilities and subtleties of tone and hue in a decidedly unsubtle fashion. Colours on their own are one thing, but when placed next to each other they begin to enter into a dialogue. Yellows, when placed next to purples, and greens next to reds start to shimmer in relation to their counterpart, highlighting the simultaneous harmony and dissonance of opposites. Similarly, the placement of a pink next to a blue or brown beside orange takes on different meanings and associations that become embedded in our subconscious. By bringing this topic to the forefront of his practice, Dean reminds us to be aware of our cognitive and emotional responses to colour and the way it shapes our understanding of the world.


Olivier Du Tré 

Olivier Du Tré was born and raised, in Ghent, Belgium. After graduating with a Graphic Arts degree in ’98, he picked up a camera, fell in love with photography and found his real passion. For Du Tré, everything is black and white, but never lacking in passion. His approach could be best described as sophisticated minimalism with an unbridled fascination for symbolism and symmetry, a reoccurring theme throughout his work. Through precision contrast, proportion and depth, Du Tré captures a ‘formal aesthetic’ with a multi layered, well-balanced frame that questions the fragility and instability of our seemingly certain world. This Prairie Series challenges the audience to consider multiple perspectives and a careful examination of the unseen. A subtle, quiet, and at times romantic take on the unnoticed, passed-by or mundane.

“My dad has been a photographer and painter for over 40 years. He was my inspiration for exploring this new form of art. As a kid, I would always marvel how my dad just ‘dialed in’ his Leica M3 without even measuring the available light. He just knew! I have always believed that one day, I would also be involved with art in the broadest sense of the word. I enrolled in photography school and for three years I was immersed in black and white photography, film theoretics, dark room techniques and cameras.

Between 2002 and 2009, my wife and I  made numerous trips to Canada. We always traveled to Western Canada because we love the mountains. In 2004, we decided to take the next big step and immigrate to Canada. In 2009, with permanent residency in hand, we arrived in this beautiful country we now call home. I was raised and lived the majority of my adult life in a large crowded city – miles away from the beautiful outdoors. I was photographing everything from rock bands to studio portraits, everything you could expect from a city photographer.

It was liberating for me to be in the mountains and close to nature. I was now finally able to pursue my life long dream of photographing what I loved most, scenic mountain landscapes and finding the beauty of the mundane around me.”


Tanja Gardner

Shark Boy, 2011, Acrylic on Canvas, 24 x 30’’

Tanja Gardner’s art resists categorization as her aesthetic and subject matter fall under the guise of realism though with a painterly, surreal bent to them. The arrangement of people in familiar settings, engaging in familiar activities are loosely rendered as if to confront the ordinary. Perspective and light are flattened suggesting Gardner’s interpretation of the scene as a fragmented memory in which neither the surrealism nor the naturalism of the event are fully realized; effectively creating a uniquely styled, self-referential brand of painting about painting - thereby illustrating its function as a medium that serves to fill the cracks of our anthropoid reason and logic.

Tanja Gardner graduated in 1990 with a BA in Art History and Fine Arts from Franklin College in Lugano, Switzerland.  An important part of Tanja’s education was academic travels to Cornwall, London, Paris, Spain, Sicily as well as Northern and Southern Italy.  Furthermore, Tanja was privileged to visit and study under a number of noted contemporary artists, such as Patrick Heron; spending several weeks under their direction.


Richard Cole

Forest Trees I, II, III, 2013, Oil on Canvas, 3(42 x 60’’)

14 years ago Vancouver based painter Richard Cole took a road trip from Edmonton to the West Coast with his wife… they never left. Inspired by the sheer force of the rugged landscape, Cole decided to concentrate his practice on representing through paint the emotional response to our natural surroundings. His paintings are a form of synesthesia as they are highly effective at transporting the viewer to another, familiar location - one permeated by the scent of pine needles, the chill of a gentle mist, skin tingling under the sun, and the soft murmur of a forest alive with activity.

His latest offering to the gallery is a three paneled testament to the majesty of BC’s forests. The size of the paintings allow the viewers to immerse themselves in the artist’s vision, projecting oneself upwards to the treetops, breaking away from the forest floor to survey the expanse of the sublime natural environment.