Artist’s flights of fancy travel across multi media

Richmond Art Gallery is hosting a  major exhibition by Keith Langergraber. - Katya Slepian
Richmond Art Gallery is hosting a major exhibition by Keith Langergraber.
— image credit: Katya Slepian

Between sculptures, drawings and films, the Theatre of the Exploding Sun exhibition is bursting with art in all its different forms. But every artist has to start somewhere and for Vancouver artist Keith Langergraber, drawing came first.

“I always drew, I just started out doodling,” he says, “I think it started from science fiction, watching Star Wars and then drawing spaceships.”

He continues to be fascinated by science fiction and combines it with his love of the Canadian wilderness.

“Primarily my practice follows along the Canadian tradition of the landscape but I started thinking about Hollywood North and how these companies are coming up and reorienting [this area].”

The Theatre of the Exploding Sun opens on Saturday, Feb. 8 at 2 p.m. and runs until April 6 at the Richmond Art Gallery. The exhibition, focuses on Langergraber’s three-part film, Time Traveller Trilogy, and also includes seven sculptures and two suites of drawings.

According to Langergraber, “it’s almost like this parallel universe, where Richmond can be turned into anything. A lot of sci fi has been filmed in Richmond, like Battlestar Galactica.”

All this science fiction leads to a passionate group of fans that Langergraber says create a fascinating subculture

“I wanted to play on the idea of fanfiction and fan films,” he says, “I find it very interested… how these subcultures interact with the landscape.”

The inspiration from Langergraber’s sculptures and drawings also comes from NASA’s exploration of Pavillion Lake in B.C.’s interior, which is said to contain organisms that have been present since the Ice Age.

“If you look at these reefs on a microscopic level, they [exhibit] morphological architecture and it looks like there’s little buildings growing out of the reefs.”

But the centrepiece of Langergraber’s exhibit is a film and glass sculpture based on Robert Smithson’s attempt at building an island of glass on Miami Island, just off the coast of Vancouver Island

“There will be your traditional way of watching the film but then you come [up to the front]  and you see these distortions [through the glass].”

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