Abbotsford’s 2018 Cultural Calendar Starts Strong with Five New Exhibitions Opening at The Reach!

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Abbotsford, BC – The Reach kicks off 2018 with a suite of five new exhibitions featuring works of art that will challenge and inspire! The public is invited to meet the artists, connect with our arts community, and enjoy appies at the Exhibitions Opening Reception on Thursday, January 18, 2018, at 7 pm at The Reach, 32388 Veterans Way.

Salt Water Skin Boats is an inter-arts project by Abbotsford-based visual artist Erica Grimm in collaboration with acclaimed sound artist Sheinagh Anderson and artist/arborist Tracie Stewart. The exhibition explores our profound connection to the world’s oceans. This large-scale installation features sculptural forms based on ancient water-going vessels and made from willow, dogwood, fig, and cedar branches, cheesecloth, animal skin and gut, bathymetric maps of oceans, and layers of wax. These evocative forms are suspended in a dimly-lit gallery and accompanied by a haunting soundscape. An embodied experience, the exhibition calls attention to the life-sustaining connections between the precariously balanced chemistry of the ocean and the human body.

The Projectionist by Winnipeg artist, Mark Neufeld, brings together video, painting, performance, and objects from The Reach’s historical collections. It explores cinematic histories, settler narratives, gender roles, and museum collections as sites of contested value and values, as well as the role played by museum artifacts (and objects in general) in the construction of identities. Neufeld’s expansive and playful approach to exhibition-making conflates artistic and curatorial conventions while loosely tethering strands of narrative and pictorial traditions with an overarching sense of theatricality.

In Search by Image, Langley artist Christopher Friesen’s recent paintings are based on the ubiquity and circulation of imagery from the Western art historical canon. Using landscape paintings by French artist Jean Baptiste Camille Corot (1796-1875) as a point of departure, Friesen explores notions of influence, quotation, authorship, and the “real” in the age of digital reproduction.

Mission-based artist Marjatta Itkonen presents her recent project Touch. As one of five children and a mother of four, like many women artists of her generation, Itkonen has been required to balance the creative impulse against the demands of family life. For Touch, she creates figurative paper sculptures that recall her relationship with her mother, who remained in Finland when she came to Canada in 1972. Her treatment of domestic subject matter and adeptness with human form culminate in poignant visions of the persistence of familial relationships across time and space.

Rounding out this robust season of exhibitions is Art on Demand 4.1. Curator Kendra Anderson has selected paintings that remind viewers that Abstract Expressionism is very much still alive in recent paintings by Joy Kinna. Though the movement is nearly 80 years old, Kinna revives its physicality and aesthetic appeal while reclaiming a style that has historically been associated with male artists. Joy Kinna was raised in the Fraser Valley and currently lives in Langley where she attends Trinity Western in her third year. Curator Kendra Anderson is currently a studying fine art and art history at the University of the Fraser Valley. The Art on Demand exhibition program is a part of Emerge @ The Reach, is a membership-based creative incubator that offers exciting professional development activities to aspiring curators and artists between the ages of 18-35.

On the heels of the Thursday exhibition opening, The Reach hosts a free Artist Talk with Mark Neufeld on Friday, January 19 at 7 pm. Neufeld is an artist working out of Winnipeg where he currently teaches at the University of Manitoba School of Art. He works with a variety of media, though painting remains the starting point for his activities. His exhibitions often take the form of installations that interweave paintings with readymade objects, assemblages, and presentation strategies borrowed from the curatorial domain. Neufeld will discuss his recent project The Projectionist within the context of his oeuvre and provide a short tour of the exhibition.

On Saturday, January 20, 2018, at 10:30 am, you’re invited to have Brunch with the Artists. The brunch has quickly become one of our most popular events at The Reach. Guests will enjoy a delicious brunch and conversation with the artists presented in our current season of exhibitions. The casual meal is followed by a relaxed tour of the exhibitions. This is your opportunity to meet and mingle with artists Mark Neufeld, Erica Grimm, Christopher Friesen, and Marjatta Itkonen. Tickets are available by pre-registration, at $20pp for Reach Friends or $25 for Future Friends. Go to

The new exhibitions opening on January 18th at The Reach will show until May 7, 2018. For more details on the new exhibitions and a host of connecting public programming, visit the or drop by The Reach, 32388 Veterans Way, Abbotsford.

Image credit: Erica Grimm, Lifeboat 3, 2017, Dogwood branches, cheesecloth, bathymetric maps of the ocean, beeswax, binder twine, LED lights, bow to stern 422 cms. Photo by Sharon Huget.

Media contact for exhibitions:
Laura Schneider, Executive Director & Curator, The Reach
T: 604-864-8087 x125