“On this day in…”

June 20th 1997 - Eugenio Polgovsky’s Photographs

“Eugenio Polgovsky, is a young Mexico City photographer.  Polgovksy is 19 years old and recently graduated from high school.  He won a UNESCO award in Japan in 1996 for his work.  He has taken photos in Cracow, Poland and New York City.  At grunt he will exhibit 11 images from Mexico, New York and Poland.  While in Vancouver, Polgovsky is taking pictures within the Asian Community” (grunt publication)

Polgovksky is now a director, cinematographer and editor. He founded Tecolote Films in Mexico City in 2007.


“On this day in…”
February 9, 2001 - Tomoyo Ihaya's Garden of Life/Chart of Animism

“Because of my deep desire to explore the origins and co-existence of all living things,  I have a long lasting interest in such subjects as the philosophy of animism, folklore, mythology, and the natural environment.  Through daily contemplation, fascinating symbols of cosmos, natural objects, and old artifacts occur repeatedly in my mind.  I communicated with them and interpret them visually on paper.  Then, each symbol starts relating to the others through channels that together create a chart of wholeness.” (Tomoya Ihaya)

This exhibition features long patch paper murals combining mixed media techniques of papermaking, painting, staining, printmaking and collage and explores animist imagery from folklore and mythologies.  Ihaya’s work is based in printmaking techniques of etching and chine colle.  Her work evokes the natural world and uses archetypal images in a new and exciting way.


“On this day in…”

January 18th 2002 - Different/Diverse - Paolo Ravalico Scerri

“Difference is closely associated with being an outsider, and attached to individuals or groups that do not conform to the norm. There are many negative aspects that usually posit difference, as ‘wrong’ or as a threat to society.  But art has always celebrated difference as something good, innovative and diverse.  Difference is basically something good: what is different fruit in the market, a different suit in a shop window, a different lover in your bed can be - at varying levels of excitement - good things.  Difference initiated the powerful trick of Evolution: the natural selection, mindless but powerfully has succeeded thanks to the wealth provided by the multitudinous differences in nature.  We are 'naturally’ attracted by what we perceive as different, although judgement of it is suspended until our senses and our brains have assessed and dismissed possible hazards.” (grunt)

Different/Divers was curated by Vittorio Urbani and Terry Smith and brought together European video artists from the UK, Finland, Estonia and Italy. The program explored the notions of normalcy and the abnormal. The screenings were co-hosted by grunt and the Western Front and gave a strong look at the what was happening in European video practice at the time.

Different/Divers brings together European video artist from the UK, The screening and exhibitions give a strong look at current European video practice.


“On this day in…”
January 12th 1993 - Polly Bak’s “A Good Hearted White Girl’s Search for Identity”

“If we are to proceed and not keep repeating old patterns, we must all make ourselves uncomfortable and question whether any of our assumptions are true. What I assume is normal or ordinary is not normal or ordinary for those who have less mobility than I. 

Because I am the same colour as the powerful, some people will (consciously or unconsciously) act on their perception of me as the more powerful. This has nothing to do with how I perceive myself. 

And, sometimes I will take this privilege for granted and use it. 

I do not feel the pain of racism. I cannot help heal a pain I do not feel unless I follow the lead of those who do feel it. Yes, I feel the pain of living in a distorted society, but if I choose I can live with this pain permanently on some back burner. Some do not have this choice.” (Polly Bak - A Good-Hearted White Girl’s Search for Identity - pg.13)


“On this day in…”
May 15th 2009 - Natalie Ball’s “Circa Indian”

“Ball’s work addresses issues of authenticity, questioning the role of blood quantum and tribal belonging to practices of ethnographic portraiture. She is working to upend the historical discourses on Aboriginal people that have constructed a limited and inaccurate visual archive that distorts our past experiences and misinforms contemporary expectations of who we are.

The work taken in its entirety as an installation holds together, but loosely enough that each object has its own space. Experienced together, the work wraps the viewer in a history, both foreign and familiar according to one’s own experience, but clearly a history that has diverged from what has been taught in grade school, or recounted in film. It is a murkier history, a more convoluted and engaging story. Ball has created her own re-presentationof historical fact, and in doing so poses questions about both historical and contemporary identity and identity signifiers for Native people, and the questions are left hanging in the gallery space for the viewer to engage.”

(Merritt Johnson’s Natalie Ball: Self Excavation and Auto-Ethnography featured in brunt - grunt gallery in print Issue 5, October 2009)


“On this day in…”

March 5th 1996 - 

Juicy, Cultivating Queer Culture: Emily Carr Group Show

“Juicy, Cultivating Queer Culture pulled a mini-coup by escaping the tiny orbit of ECIAD into the mega-universe of the Vancouver parallel gallery scene. i.e. a week at the grunt.  But this upscale venue only exacerbates the nagging and oft-asked question, why a queer show - or why a show of work by queers - or why a show of queer work?  To stick to the theme, what’s the value of a show on, around, about dykes, fags, bithings, trannies, and loser straights?

Well plenty, fuck face. ‘Cause it is interesting to ask, over and over, what defines this queer thing.  I go to queer shows, and participate in them, because I want to see what a bunch of sexual miscreants can get up to , or down for, or on about.  I’m interested for the same reason that I’m interested in what’s happening with the whole I-P scam.  Basically, Juicy tempts you to  believe that there may be something to queer (self) identity that actually links it up across individual expression.  The short answer is, of course, that queerness is just as varied (and just as voluntary) in art as in life.  So the value of the show, to belabour the point, is its unintentional detooling of the assumed inevitability of explicitly ‘sexual’ and/or victim imagery in so-called queer work.  For some the revelation came off a bit flat.  I heard more than one practiced scenester bemoan the loss of queerness as evidenced by the absence of sex.  If the lesson of Juicy is, finally, that there ain’t much of a diff between breeders and their betters (at least in terms of art making), then what we’re left with is something of a minor crisis in identity politics - that institutionalized difference is maybe more like institutionalized privilege.  A dangerous argument in the wrong hands.” (Andrew Power, Planet of the Arts, Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design,Volume HI, issue 3+1= May/June 1996)

Artists who contributed: Diane Barbarash, Carla St. Pierre, Michael Bell, Carmen Schwartz, Damon Crain, Christopher Sheldon, Jacques Gaudet, Constanza Silva, Kine Gullberg, Teri Snelgrove, Chris Hamilton, Penny Treen, Krista Lee Hanson, Jonathan Wells, Robert Harper Jones, Robert H. Lawrence, Brain Langlands, Selena Liss, Karla Martinez, Allison MacFarlane, Allana Murray, Chris Nash, Andrew Powers

For more articles on this subject check out our (queer)intersections: vancouver performance in the 1990s site!

“On this day in…”

November 14th 2004

Laurie Anderson’s - The End of the Moon

The End of the Moon, [Laurie Anderson’s] new and still- evolving solo show, is about many things, among them NASA, dogs, tress, and travel.  But one of its most obvious topics is the Unites States of America: when Anderson says, ‘When you look at something this big and this broken how do you imagine putting it back together?’  she’s not just talking about the wreckage of the space shuttle Columbia.
In this performance, she offers no easy answers, revealing instead that even teh good things in life are fraught with peril.  Discussing a 10-day retreat she took on the Northern California coast, she describes hiking with her dog Lolabelle and being stalked by vultures hoping to chow down on the terrier.  For the rest of the trip, her pet walked nervously, its head in the air- just like the post-9/11 residents of Anderson’s home city, New York.  Death from above, she posits, has become a constant waking nightmare.” (Alexander Varty - Georgia Straight - November 18 2004)

Check out Archer Pechawis’ interview with Laurie Anderson from Brunt 2007/2008.


“On this day in…”
March 16, 2012 - 

François Roux’s H20 Cycle

Video work by Francois Roux.  Short around English Bay, presented as a loop in grunt’s media lab for the duration of the exhibition.

The three videos are characterized by their relationship to water; what Roux describes as “a way of working”.  Water in its various forms and resonant meanings shapes the nature of these videos.  This can be understood in contrast to another group of his videos, RGB Cycle, for example, where colour, rather than water, forms the basis of his working methodology.  Roux’s process can be characterized by a constant back and forth between complexity and simplicity, experiment and analysis.  Gradually, his work finds its place between what he has in mind and what he encounters while wandering through the landscape.



“On this day in…”
February 22nd 2008 - Rolande Souliere's Materiality and Otherness

“Basic values and traditions of the Anishinaabe people continue to fuel my thinking and behaviour and this comes through visually in my artistic practice; through the material selection, through the various processes such as binding, weaving, knotting, threading, felting, etc. and lastly through the aesthetic.  For example, aesthetically the traditional teaching of the Heyokah is made visual through the play of the inside outside relationship of the objects and reflects through the processes enlightened states of understanding.” (Rolande Souliere)

Upon closer inspection of Materiality, we see on two walls Souliere’s installation of feathered cones. A cluster of pieces on the left and a couple to the right, they are intricately fashioned to display like horny peacocks, those elaborate feathers in perfect rows. Inside are deeply colorful weavings of seemingly seamless proportions. They draw you in to see them closer and examine the pieces. However, a need to stand further back registers as if they would curiously retract if advanced upon. When confronted with her pieces, it’s as though you are forced to participate in a meditative chant. It pushes and pulls and breathes, finding your rhythm until you lose track of your breath. Perhaps the language she is using requires more context. (Skeena Reece - Brunt 2008)

Check out the full Skeena Reece article, page 29 here


“On this day in…”
November 22nd 1988
David Ostrem’s Social Criticism - a display of generational rage by a guy born in 1945

Captain Dave in Ostremtime - Art Perry

“If anyone was to ask me where I thought David Ostrem fitted in, I’d proudly say, he doesn’t.  That is one of the refreshing bits about Ostrem.  He’s looking at the same world we are.  He’s listening to the music.  He picks up the same magazines, watches the same newscasts and eats the same packaged food.  The difference is that Captain Dave is in Ostremtime; it’s the same world and it’s the same culture, only David Ostrem, like Billy Pilgrim, is unstuck in time.  Maybe, like Billy in Slaughter-house Five, Ostrem sees himself as prescribing corrective lenses for Earthling souls.  3-D glasses to punch into the past and punch out the present.  Not too far into the past to be irrelevant but just far enough to make sense out of the present.”



“On this day in…”

June 14th 2007 - Victoria Singh’s Tipi-Aalayah

“Contemplating issues related to culture and humanity have been a part of my life from a young age.  My last name: Singh, causes people to presume that I am of East Indian (South Asian) descent, and that this culture has played a major (or exclusive) part in the formation of my identity.  This could not be more further from the truth.  My father is in fact Fijian Indian, and my mother is a ‘Pakeha’ (a Maori term meaning ‘Caucasian’ which used by all ‘white’ New Zealanders to identify themselves).  My very early childhood memories are composed of vignettes involving extended family members from “both sides”, but by age four my parents were divorced (ironically, the reason for this divorce was filed as being due to “irreconcilable cultural differences”) and I was raised until my early ‘tweens’ as a ‘Pakeha’ by my mother with no ‘education’ about my ‘Indianness’.  However, my last name subjected me to racial bullying at Elementary School from the start. which caused much social confusion for me, as I would return home to a meal of mashed potatoes after being called a “curry muncher”. (Artist Proposal)

“Tipi-Aalayah is a task oriented performance incorporating elements of ritual and repetition set withing a spoken-word soundscape. Drawing on her experience as a child of Fijian Indian and European parents growing up in New Zealand, Singh references the identity crisis that faces “half-and-half” Red and Brown Indians by using red apples and brown potatoes in the composition of her work.  The potatoes and apples personify the insulting notion that half-bred Indians are red or brown on the outside, but white on the inside.” (grunt publication)



“On this day in…”
May 5th 1998 - David Ostrem’s “Between Being and Looking”

Since coming to Vancouver in 1969 from his hometown of Portland, Oregon, David Ostrem’s has widely exhibited his work in Vancouver.  His work has had an important influence on contemporary practice in this city as his work can be read on many levels, enabling the viewer to see his works as a “contemplation of life or an exposition on visual meaning.” (Glenn Alteen)

“In these paintings Ostrem attempts to show us how the artists see. They attempt to make connections between art history and popular culture to show their importance in daily life. Seduction is a key in these works. Seduction by popular culture and advertising, art and literature. finally, seduction by the purely visual representations of still life.” (Glenn Alteen)

all images collected from

Activating the Archives- Sculpture


The Sculpture website is now up! You can either follow this link or click on the above image. “This Sculpture site that Program Director Glenn Alteen and I have put together shows a vast variety of sculpture: looking through this website, one will notice many approaches and styles, from minimalism to feminism to social commentary on the spaces we live in. Each exhibit archived in this website was created with a unique purpose, but they all have something in common: each is a means of dealing with social and emotional realities that remain unique to the time in which each exhibit was created.” (Polina Bachlakova, Curatorial Intern)

Artwork by James Carl.

For any comments or questions regarding the project or any of the websites being launched, please send us a question, follow us on twitter @gruntgallery or use the gruntArchive tag.


“On this day in…”
February 14th 1989 - Julie A. Valenti's Drawers of Life

“An avid recycler, her works form narratives that poke and pull fun from popular culture and institutions.  They are insightful, witty and clever.”
“Valenti says of her work ‘I look at my art as a natural outgrowth from my life long interest pattern and design, my almost compulsive sense of order and symmetry and my philosophical belief in recycling.’  This exhibition entitled Drawers of Life, features a series of drawers containing scenes and tableaus of imaginary settings that take jabs, reflect and speculate about our lives and concerns.”

Happy Valentine’s Day from grunt! <3


“On this day in…”
December 6 1988 - Gary Ross' Animate Objects

“Garry Ross’ objects are easy to dismiss.  As objects of contemplation each piece waits quietly for the discovery that effects transformation in both viewer and object.  Many of the pieces start as objects culled from industrial sites.  Often they are machine parts, patters  or hardware with a function originating in urban industrial sites.  Most wear the scars of their former life prominently.  Often they are machine parts, patterns or hardware with a function originating in urban industrial culture.  They are old and for the most part obsolete.

By changing the context in which the object is seen, the former use is nullified, and takes on a transformed meaning.  The manipulation of meaning through contextual change and the use of the found manufactured object has been a major direction of consumer and manmade elements into the realm of art.  Ross subtly alters these elements by transforming the mechanical into a pastoral where they become like a river or a mountain and the contemplation of which brings forth a multiplicity of meanings which speak to the metaphysical.” (grunt)

- AM



“On this day in…”

July 8th 2011 - Immony Men’s “Taking Care of Business”

“Taking Care of Business” was a performance/installation that lasted the  run of the exhibition from July 8th to July 26th.  Immony Men created a multi-wall, floor-to-ceiling mural of an office space made entirely out of post-it notes. Immony Men spent each day working 9-5, printing out a view of an office, one post-it note at a time, until the main walls of grunt were filled.

“I am mesmerized by the drudgery of daily office routine.  The pattern I have established in the creation of these kinds of murals attempts to replicate this drudgery.  The performance aspect of my work is the actual construction of the mural.  I want the raw elements behind the creation of the project to be in the forefront: the physical space taken up, the artist’s repetitive movements, the materials used in full evidence.  By subjecting myself to a mind-numbing process, I will also create and exhibit the mental state fallen into in performing iterative tasks” (Immony Men)


“On this day in…”
Grunt Or Artspeak June 5th to 28th 1987

Grunt Or Artspeak was an exhibition featuring a selection of work representing three local alternative galleries. Grunt, Or, and Artspeak exhibited concurrently at the Charles H. Scott Gallery in June of 1987.  

“The guest curators, Glenn Alteen, Ellen Ramsey and Cate Rimmer included works by sixteen “young” artists.  Representing Grunt were Dav MacNab, Gary Ouimet, Bill Rennie, Garry Ross and Hillary Wood.” (grunt)

“The exhibition will transfer the ‘character’ of these alternative galleries, situating them in a more central location with a much broader audience than they normally reach. For the large part, the artists in Grunt, Or and Artspeak share a similar academic background having received training from either an art college or university.  Their work, however, varies greatly in both subject matter and presentation ranging from video and photo-textual work to assemblage and painting.” (grunt)