Bryce Kanbara: Grace
Curated by Lesley Loksi Chan
July 8 – August 20, 2022
Opening Reception: Friday, July 8 | 7pm – 10pm
For over fifty years, Bryce Kanbara has been working across painting, printmaking and sculpture. Grace is a solo exhibition featuring Kanbara’s wall relief sculptures, a practice he began in the 1980s and continues to this day. Named after the first drywall sculpture he made in this ongoing series, Grace brings together selected works that speak to how daily life entwines with intergenerational knowledge and cultural histories.
Comprised of offcuts and found objects, Kanbara’s assemblages combine jutting drywall, ragged masonite and splintered wood with useless items such as empty cookie packaging, a CD shard, a single takeout chopstick or a hairless paintbrush — all cobbled together with screws, nails, tape and glue. Amongst the rawness of these structures, Kanbara occasionally nestles various mementos including a googly-eyed seashell handicraft won at a Lithuanian church dinner raffle, a faintly penciled stanza of a Christopher Smart poem, stray wooden lids of daikon-pickling pails handmade by his father, or a small painting of an archival photograph depicting POW’s at the burial of Mr. Masanoa Shirokowa, a 46-year old issei, in Angler, Ontario, where his father was interned along with other Japanese Canadian dissidents in the 1940s.
Seen together, these sculptures are a complex archive that vacillates between the personal and the collective. Touching upon layers of art, memory, and the everyday experiences of nikkei – immigrants and descendants of Japan – Kanbara’s work refuses precision or the foregrounding of any singular element in particular. While the sculptures bear traces of abstract expressionism and junk art, they also carry the spirit of wabi-sabi and the makeshift /make-do ethos inherited from the issei and nisei generations of his grandparents and parents. Kanbara’s bricolage process of reclamation and improvisation creates staggered forms with a sense of awe and ambiguity. Grace invites us to consider what can be realized through the rough.
About the Artist
Bryce Kanbara is a visual artist/curator and proprietor of you me gallery in Hamilton, Ontario. He was a founding member and the first administrator of Hamilton Artists Inc. He held curatorial positions at Burlington Art Centre, Art Gallery of Hamilton, Glenhyrst Art Gallery of Brant, JC Gallery at the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre (Toronto). He was Executive Director of the Toronto Chapter, National Association of Japanese Canadians, Chair of the NAJC Endowment Fund and National Executive member. He was Visual Arts, Crafts & Design Officer at Ontario Arts Council, Member of the Governing Council, Hamilton Centre for Civic Inclusion, and Co-chair of the Board of Directors, Workers Arts & Heritage Centre. In 2021, he received a Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts.
About the Curator
Lesley Loksi Chan is a multidisciplinary artist and the artistic director of Centre for Artistic and Social Practice. Her work has been exhibited internationally including at the Images Festival (Toronto), Vancouver International Film Festival, International Festival of Films on Art (Montreal), the British Film Institute (London, UK), Die Beginen (Rostock, Germany), Museo de Cine Autobiográfico (Vigo, Spain) and Anthology Film Archives (New York). As artistic director of Centre, she oversees exhibitions, residencies and arts-based projects with a focus on experimental, collaborative, and anti-oppressive practices.
This exhibition is generously supported by: