GU XIONG, Waterscapes .. Reframed
The Reach Gallery, Abbotsford
January 20 to March 25, 2012
By Janet Nicol
Gu Xiong is a multimedia artist and photographer interested in the symbolic merging of two rivers he has come to know very well — the Yangtze River in China and the Fraser River in British Columbia. Originally from China, Xiong now makes his home in Vancouver, where he continues to inform his work with research on migration patterns along these rivers. At the entrance to the Waterscapes exhibition is a dramatic installation of hundreds of small white plaster boats and salmon dangling on lines from the ceiling. “These boats carry our dreams,” Xiong says of the work. The salmon represents the river — “a river of uncertainty and change.” Xiong is inspired by the metaphor of the river as it relates to people on the move. “I find the fact that the Fraser Valley has migrant workers from other countries quite interesting,” he says. In contrast, he notes contemporary Chinese people are flocking in to the cities. “One drop of water, and then another, and another...makes a changing force,” he says. Inside the gallery is a second installation as well as a series of photographs and acrylic paintings, reflecting the ‘merging rivers’ theme. “There are small streams, then the river, then the ocean,” Xiong says. These fluid paths “find their own way,” as they travel to the ocean, Xiong believes. “Just like people on a journey, you don’t know what’s in front of you."