Group Show | TBH (to be honest)

July 21 – August 13, 2016

Brian Boulton
graphite on paper
28.5 x 21 in

Works by:
Brian Boulton
Michael Edward Miller
Ethan Barry Murley
Opening Reception: Thursday, July 21
6-9 pm


Franc Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of three Vancouver artists who describe self-identity as an agency of otherness, apart from the larger society. Personal and public personas are based on norms and shared values, on one hand, and our internal belief system, on the other. The process of assembling an identity becomes a struggle between external and internal factors, which is magnified the less one shares the commonly held beliefs of a community. As society evolves and more people can align with universal values, this agency of otherness may recede altogether for some. However, there is a difference between the individual who is mostly in line with societal norms and one who is not. The space of otherness is unique and requires its experience to be able to relate to the condition of a person who is forced to act contrary to how they perceive themselves or get away from circumstances that force them to do so. Those who have successfully mediated their identity against the shared values of society have the potential and, I would argue, the responsibility to bring along those left behind in otherness. Advocacy must continue for the entire movement to remain honest.


Vancouver artist Brian Boulton captures singular moments of everyday life in his detailed drawings of anonymous subjects. Based on digital photos, these solitary figures face away from the viewer and are removed from their urban environment. The subtle difference in the texture of fabrics work together to construct a portrait of these anonymous individuals. These details are rendered delicately in graphite by the artist. Brian sees his drawings as a neutral documentation of a subject which becomes a collaboration with the viewer as they participate by projecting both personality and history on the subjects. Brian’s painstakingly detailed and complex practice is further nuanced by the incorporation of an element of spontaneity. Unaware they are being photographed, the subjects assume uninhibited, natural and occasionally classic poses that lend the images a timeless quality which would otherwise be obfuscated by their contemporary clothing.

Drawing on a range of sources from digital media to everyday and popular culture, Vancouver-based artist Michael Edward Miller’s work is concerned with exploring and critiquing the ways in which postmodern technologies impact and shape new kinds of human subjects. His exhibitions The Nintendo Generation and Punch Out! investigated the psychological and optical cues inherent to gaming technologies. For the gamer, the relationship with the real biological living being in a natural world is (re-)translated into the abstract aesthetic language of virtual reality. Miller takes the aesthetics and logics of animated computer-era action figures and gives them a materiality through his life-size paintings. His re-(re-)translation makes the simulation complete.

Ethan Barry Murley dissects the colloquial vernacular of his world and presents their parts as contemporary emblems. The selection of work, in the context of a larger autobiographical dialogue, pieces together fragments of language surrounding unrequited love and in the process creates a slang for the besotted. The sophisticated tone of the lines makes a pithy and efficient tool of communication within the particular group from whose language it derives. To the rest, however, the emblem appears simplistic or meaningless which both creates membership to those who understand and otherness in those who do not.