Douglas Coupland: everywhere is anywhere is anything is everything at the Vancouver Art Gallery

Douglas Coupland: everywhere is anywhere is anything is everything is the first major survey exhibition of the artist’s work and will be presented at the Vancouver Art Gallery from May 31 to September 1, 2014.

Douglas Coupland is an artist based in Vancouver whose remarkably prolific production across a diverse range of media over the past 12 years addresses the singularity of Canadian culture, the power of language, as well as the ever-pervasive presence of technology in everyday life. The title of the exhibition refers both to Coupland’s deep engagement with place and cultural identity and, simultaneously, his recognition of a growing ubiquity as access to information, images and technology becomes more readily available to the masses.

Deftly capturing the zeitgeist of the moment, or as the artist states “the early 21st-century condition,” Coupland’s visually engaging post-media practice includes installation, painting, photography, prints and quilts, as well as numerous public commissions. His work incisively synthesizes pop culture and technology with art historical references that range from historical paintings of Emily Carr and the Group of Seven to the pop sensibility of Roy Lichtenstein, James Rosenquist and Andy Warhol. Recently, for example, Coupland has effectively married the traditional media of painting with current technologies – his series of QR Code paintings function both as contemporary abstractions (referencing Piet Mondrian’s abstract paintings), as well as actual QR codes, and when scanned with a smartphone, they generate pithy statements about life and death written by the artist. Often incorporating everyday materials and objects such as plastic lids, children’s toys, pencils and books, Coupland’s work probes the way that the things, images and process of contemporary life affect our understanding of the world around us.

Douglas Coupland was born in 1961 at the Royal Canadian Airforce base in Baden-Söllingen, West Germany and in 1965 moved with his family to West Vancouver, British Columbia. Coupland studied at the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design (now University), graduating in 1984 and continued his studies at the Hokkaido College of Art and Design in Japan as well as the Sapporo Instituto Europeo di Design, Milan. As well as being a visual artist, Coupland is an internationally renowned writer and designer – in 1991 he published his first novel, Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture which eventually became an international bestseller. He has since published 13 novels (with a 14th to be released in the fall of 2013), as well as several works of non-fiction. Since his active return to art-making in 2000, he has exhibited in solo exhibitions at DX Design Exchange, Toronto (2004); Canadian High Commission, London (2004); Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montreal (2005); and Simon Fraser University Gallery, Burnaby (2007.) His work has also been included in numerous group exhibitions including those at JFK Terminal 5, New York (2004); Plug-In ICA, Winnipeg (2008); Cambridge Galleries (2008); Center for Contemporay Arts, Prague (2008); Dunlop Art Gallery, Regina travelling to Mount St. Vincent Art Gallery, Halifax and MacLaren Art Centre, Barrie (2008-2009); Vancouver Art Gallery (2010-11); and Mass MoCA, North Adams (2012.) The upcoming solo presentation of Coupland’s work at the Vancouver Art Gallery will be his first major survey exhibition.

The exhibition is organized by the Vancouver Art Gallery and curated by Daina Augaitis, Chief Curator/Associate Director.

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