Tag Archives: Jason Smythe

Dault vs. Cézanne

by Jason Smythe

2015-04-30 21.03.00

This article is written from a place of pure joy. Ever since my triumphant return to Vancouver (and by triumphant I mean I survived a year of grad school in Alberta) I have been radiating pure bliss at levels that far exceed the recommended daily dosage. This “toxicity” that I am oozing so willingly can be attributed to the fact that I am no longer reading academic tomes that seem to strive for Saharan levels of dryness, which I suspect is part of a long-standing and incredibly sadistic plot by ivory tower types to make all grad students more boring at parties. Our pain truly is their pleasure. Continue reading


The Nine Circles of Melancholy

by Jason Smythe


Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller, Opera for a Small Room, 2005 (interior view)
Mixed media installation, with audio, record players, records, speakers and synchronized lighting, 20 minutes (loop) Courtesy of the Artists, and Luhring Augustine Gallery, New York Photo: Markus Tretter, Kunsthaus Bregenz, 2005-06

Cardiff and Miller’s Lost in the Memory Palace is an awesome exhibit, and focuses on a number of complex themes. It consists of nine rooms, all containing a unique installation and exploring the theme of memory creation and loss. But for whatever reason writing an article about it has been, to put it mildly, a nightmare. I kid you not, I have written, and then quickly deleted, three completed articles on this exhibit! Were the deletions really necessary, you ask? They were, because none of them fully captured the complexity of the exhibit. My first article focused too much on the room called “The Killing Machine,” and the second article focused too much on another room called “Opera for a Small Room.” The third article well, it just plain sucked—please don’t make me relive the horror of that cursed third article! In the words of Kurtz: “The horror… the horror…” Continue reading

A Tight (But Still Creative) City

by Jason Smythe

Tight City

One of the Canada Line’s exit shelters is located at the intersection of Robson and Granville, and it is a rather mundane structure, with a look that can best be described as cookie-cutter modernist. I say this because it looks like something you could buy at Ikea. However, over the eons one thing has remained constant: using art to liven up even the most boring of structures. Thankfully, this most Ikea of exit shelters has received some art: the installation Tight City. Continue reading

Mad Sublime: Why Mad Men is Art

by Jason Smythe

Mad Men

I have a confession to make: I am an addict. My addiction: Mad Men. And with the show on hiatus until 2015 I am suffering from serious withdrawals. I thought I had experienced pain but I was mistaken, for there is no pain greater than a Mad Men detoxification. But in-between the jags of immense soul-crushing pain I had an epiphany, and it was that Mad Men is more than a TV show – it is art. What is my definition of art and how Mad Men reaches such lofty heights? Read more to find out. Continue reading

Education Art, or: Ceci n’est pas Bavaria

by Jason Smythe

2014-02-01 16.25.05

I have a confession to make: Initially, I was, mistakenly, not very impressed by Fröbel Fröbeled, the current exhibition at the Contemporary Art Gallery. I thought the artist, Aurélien Froment, spent too much time using photography to recreate idyllic 19th century landscapes and was starting to think that Fröbel was German for “I have a 19th century Bavaria fetish.” As I did not expect to be viewing such an exhibit I started to become disappointed. However, thank God/the Flying Spaghetti Monster, I stuck with it and it eventually dawned on me that Froment did not have a strange Bavarian landscape fetish but, in reality, was showing us how the education system shapes our perception of things, with a particular focus on nature, knowledge, and culture. And let me tell you, the result is brilliant. Continue reading

Bound 2: Kanye West as a Disaster Artist

by Jason Smythe

bound 2 2

If you haven’t seen the music video for Kanye West’s ‘Bound 2’ yet then please stop what you are doing and go watch it. It is utterly atrocious, and has to be one of the worst music videos of all time. However, as awful as it is it is still an important video, because it reminds us that even a great artist like Kanye West can momentarily become a ‘disaster artist’—an artist that produces a work or works that are so awful that they end up gaining massive popularity because of it. But there is one question that I want to know the answer to: what caused Kanye to produce a piece of disaster art? By analyzing the video I have come to the conclusion that this occurred because his narcissism has become completely out of control. To explain how this video reveals Kanye’s insane narcissism I will do a scene by scene analysis. Enjoy. Continue reading

Apathy at the CAG

by Jason Smythe

image (1)

Writing about art, in my humble opinion, is one of the greatest pleasures. But what happens when you have to write an article about something you did not really care for? What if you see an installation and your ultimate reaction is to shrug your shoulders and let a slightly audible “meh” escape from your lips? Continue reading