Recent acquisitions to the SFU Art Collection

Bill Reid, Bear Mother Pole, c.1986/87

Bill Reid, Bear Mother Pole, c.1986/87, alder wood. Gift of Charles Peacock Collection, 2017.

Bill Reid (1920-1998) was a carver, sculptor, goldsmith, printmaker, writer, and community activist. Born in Victoria, BC to a Haida mother and an American father, he was a member of the Raven Clan and lived at a time of great transition: the 1950s - 1980s were a turning point for Haida and other indigenous artists. Reid immersed himself into the art and traditional stories of the Haida, while imbuing his work with his own distinctive style.

Bear Mother Pole depicts the mother bear as the main figure on the pole, with her two cubs, one in human form between her feet, and one in bear form above her head. The shapes and composition of the pole are in classic Haida form, but are also reflective of Reid's individualistic style. This pole was carved with assistance from Garner Moody, Clayton Gladstone and Don Yeomans.

During his career, he became one of the best known Indigenous artists in Canada. Reid carved the first full size totem pole to be raised in over 100 years in his mother's village of Skidegate on Haida Gwaii, and was the first to carve a full size Haida canoe in the 20th century, for Expo 86. Reid is remembered for his large-scale public sculptures, such as Raven and the First Men (1980) at UBC, and The Spirit of Haida Gwaii (The Black Canoe) (1991), at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, DC. Reid was the recipient of honorary doctorates from many institutions, including University of Western Ontario, University of Toronto, and University of British Columbia. He received the Order of BC in 1994 and the Canada Council's Molson Prize for cultural achievement.


Marianne Nicolson, Oh, How I Long For Home, 2016.

Marianne Nicolson, Oh, How I Long For Home, 2016, neon. Gift of the artist, 2017.

Marianne Nicolson's practice engages with Indigenous histories and politics arising from her involvement in cultural revitalization and sustainability. This work, created in red neon, spells out, 'Wa'lasaxwalsa kan ne'nakwe' which translates to Oh, How I Long For Home from Kwak'wala. Referring to a "return" as well as to the cycle of the sun rising, the double meaning of the title not only points to an idea of home as Indigenous territory, but the longing for home that settlers also seek, complicated by unceded lands. The work addresses a history of the city as a conflicted promise to Indigenous people. Representing monetary wealth, western education and a pledge of so-called progress, the city's neon lights, stocked department stores, and schools project a notion of success for people outside urban centres. The work was a response to the specific site of the Teck Gallery on unceded Musqueam, Squamish and Tseil-Waututh lands, in a university campus located in a building that was formerly Spencer's Department Store.

Marianne Nicolson ('Tayagila'ogwa) is a Victoria based artist. Nicolson is of Scottish and Dzawada'enuxw First Nations descent. Her artistic and academic practices are platforms to advocate for Indigenous linguistic and cultural resurgence. Her work has been exhibited at Vancouver Art Gallery, Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, National Indian Art Centre, UBC Museum of Anthropology, 17th Biennale of Sydney, National Museum of the American Indian, Confederation Centre for the Arts, and Taipei Fine Arts Museum. She has undertaken numerous public artworks. She holds a PhD in Linguistics and Anthropology from University of Victoria, an MFA in Visual Art from University of Victoria and a BFA from Emily Carr Institute of Art & Design. 


Ken Lum, Youth Portraits, 1985

Ken Lum, Youth Portraits, 1985, offset lithograph on newsprint. Gift of Bill Jeffries, 2017.

Part of a series, Lum's Youth Portrait is a photographic offset lithograph in black and white on newsprint. It is comprised of a grid of 16 photographs of diverse youth ranging from infants to young adults. It is part of a larger series that includes a broad range of individuals from across a social spectrum. In 1985 the artist printed numerous sheets of the larger series in order to cut out the portraits to create an exhibition at the Coburg Gallery by spray-mounting each of the individual images onto the walls to create a constellation of faces. This work was an extra print that did not get cut up for the exhibition. Youth Portrait is an early work within Lum's practice and offers insight into his early photographic and installation practice.

Ken Lum was born in Vancouver in 1956 and lived in the city until 2012 when he moved to Philadelphia where he is a Professor in the School of Design, the University of Pennsylvania. A graduate of SFU (BA in Science) and UBC (MFA), Lum has a significant practice as an artist and educator. He has an Honorary Doctorate from SFU. Lum is a highly recognized artist nationally and internationally; his work has been exhibited and collected widely.


Anne Ramsden, Anastylosis: Childhood (Falling), 1999

Anne Ramsden, Anastylosis: Childhood (Falling), 1999. Colour photographs (Lamda prints), diptych. Gift of the artist, 2016. Photo: Courtesy the artist.

Anastylosis is an archeological term describing the reconstruction of an object from its surviving fragments, often using a coloured bonding agent so that viewers can understand the reconstruction process. Ramsden applied the technique to nearly 300 household dishes that she smashed and reconstructed according to this system, which she then showed in a large installation, Anastylosis: Inventory (1999-2000). All of the reconstructed objects are displayed on archival shelving units to encourage an awareness of the activity of looking. Anastylosis: Childhood (Falling), represents a small part of this larger project.

Anastylosis: Childhood (Falling) is a photographic diptych showing broken children's dishes before they were restored and as reconstituted wholes. Photographed against a black background, images of the white dishes enforce the drama of the fracturing and reassembly.

Ramsden’s investigation into the relationship between the manner in which we understand society, both in the past and present, is methodologically complex in its references to archeology, and aesthetically and conceptually rich in its presentation of the construction of the whole from fragments. The notion of how we look and understand objects, both objects of art and quotidian objects, is queried by Ramsden as a social process that may need to be dissembled in order for the whole to be comprehended.

Anne Ramsden is a Montreal based artist. Her nationally recognized work, which focuses on knowledge systems, has her exploring the collection, the museum, consumer culture and mass production, the domestic sphere, subjectivity and spectatorship. 


Andreas Bunte, Erosion, 2016

Andreas Bunte, Erosion, 2016. HD video, 17:25 minutes, ed. 1/5. Gift of the artist, 2016. Photo: Blaine Campbell.

After being SFU's Audain Visual Artist in Residence in 2014, Andreas Bunte then made the site-specific film, Erosion, in January 2016 at SFU's Burnaby campus. In Erosion, Bunte treats SFU's iconic and internationally recognized Brutalist architecture as geological formation. The film addresses a specificity of place and the complex artistic, philosophical and environmental dialogues that engage our current moment. In asserting that architecture is geology, Bunte is interested in how we have interfered with our planet's materials such that we have literally transformed the earth’s geomorphology. Erosion provides insight into the geological implications of SFU's building over the social experience of the site to articulate a new vision of art, architecture and our current epoch, the Anthropocene.

Andreas Bunte is a Berlin based artist who works with experimental film and installation, combining film with media such as collage, architectural structures, sound and text. Bunte's internationally recognized work takes up the interplay between technology, architecture and the body.


Althea Thauberger, Ecce Homo, 2011

Althea Thauberger, Ecce Homo, 2011, metallic digital c-print, ed. 2/5 + II AP. SFU Art Collection. Gift of the artist, 2015.

Originally produced as a large-scale public art mural by the City of Vancouver, Althea Thauberger's Ecce Homo is a photograph inspired by classical painting and popular culture engaged with politics. Referencing Jacques-Louis David's 1793 Death of Marat, which depicts the death of a writer deeply involved in the politics of the French Revolution, as well as the locally based television drama Da Vinci's Inquest, the work's engagement of art/politics, real life/representation is indicative of Thauberger's artistic approach. The photograph features actor Nicholas Campbell positioned on an autopsy table. Campbell played the title role of real-life coroner and mayor Larry Campbell in Da Vinci’s Inquest and Da Vinci City Hall. Ecce Homo - which means behold the man - draws on a history of references from the condemnation of Christ to other contexts including the title of Nietzsche's autobiography. Thauberger's project is an allegory of the relationship of art, life and politics that encompasses multiple associations.

Althea Thauberger lives and works in Vancouver. Her internationally produced and exhibited work typically involves interactions with a group or community that result in performances, films, and videos, and offer provocative reflections of social, political, institutional and aesthetic power relations.


Carole Itter, Table of Contents, c. 1977-78

Carole Itter, Table of Contents, c. 1977-78, mixed media (wood, metal, ceramic, plastic). SFU Art Collection. Gift of the artist, 2015. Photo: Courtesy the artist.

Carole Itter's Table of Contents is one of the first assemblage works undertaken by the artist using found objects. Using a boxed framework, the wall-hung assemblage of collected and affixed objects includes numbers, hardware, tools, curio and other objects. Referencing the work of American artists Joseph Cornell and Louise Nevelson, particularly Nevelson's large-scale wooden totem-like wall works, Itter connects to a legacy of feminist practice, anti-capitalism and an interest in "natural" materiality

Carole Itter is a Vancouver based artist, writer and filmmaker. Her work has been widely exhibited and collected across Canada. 

Lorna Brown, Reading, 1990/2015

Lorna Brown, Reading, 1990/2015, photographs on mylar, surveyor's tripod, Plexiglas, speakers. SFU Art Collection. Gift of the artist, 2015. Photo: Blaine Campbell.

Lorna Brown's installation Reading pictures women's negotiation of private and public images and intellect through the perspectives of three readers: a woman obfuscated by the book she is reading (pictured as photographic enlargements), a male subject attempting to read a woman through her concealed book on public transit, and the instructions for a camera disguised as a book, which was used by women in public in the early twentieth century. Spatialized within the gallery, these three encounters - articulated visually, aurally and spatially - complicate the power plays of reading, looking, being read and looked at.

Lorna Brown is a Vancouver based artist, curator and writer. Her regionally and nationally recognized work has critically addressed constructions of femininity and desire in image culture, the politics of literacy, institutional manipulations of language, and civic and cultural publicness. 


Stephen Waddell, Man in Car Powell Street, 2012

Stephen Waddell, Man in Car Powell Street, 2012, colour pigment print. SFU Art Collection. Gift of the artist, 2015. Photo: Courtesy the artist.

Man in Car Powell Street was shot on the street in front of Stephen Waddell's Vancouver studio and captured as an unstaged, found street photograph. Waddell's street photography examines the human figure in the contemporary, largely urban environment, which has been a preoccupation of many artists since the mid-nineteenth century. Waddell began his artistic career as a painter and now focuses on photography, sharing an interest in Jeff Wall's preoccupation with the continuity of painting's visual traditions and strategies in contemporary photographic practice. His works are better understood as pictures rather than photographs in that they draw as much from the history of painting as the history of photography.

Stephen Waddell lives and works in Vancouver. His work is internationally recognized and has been a critical voice in the discourse around a third generation of photography in Vancouver. 


Roy Arden, The World as Will and Representation, 1991

Roy Arden, The World as Will and Representation, 1991, archival/found photographs digitally printed. SFU Art Collection. Gift of John and Helen O’Brian, 2015.

Roy Arden’s diptych The World as Will and Representation positions found images side by side of differing scales: one of an erupting volcano and the other of a protest in a public square in which the fountain is running red. Arden has contributed significantly to Vancouver’s international reputation as a centre for photography-based contemporary art, particularly through his images of the urban environment that register the transformative effects of modernity on the everyday landscape. His multi-faceted practice includes photography, video and mixed media installation. In the 1980s he worked largely with archival images.

Roy Arden lives and works in Vancouver. His work is internationally exhibited and collected.


Terry Atkinson, Emma Decoy, 1987

Terry Atkinson, Emma Decoy, 1987, mixed media on paper. SFU Art Collection. Gift of John and Helen O'Brian, 2015.

Terry Atkinson's Emma Decoy is a work on paper that refers to the Emma Lake artist workshops run by the University of Saskatchewan. Bringing in Clement Greenberg, Barnett Newman and others to Saskatchewan, it promoted a particular vein of modernist abstraction. Atkinson was a workshop leader in 1987. Using an image of the cabins at Emma Lake, a small blue monochrome, a high horizon line and a figurative male element, Atkinson's work needles the dominance of the Emma Lake modernist vision.

Terry Atkinson was the founder (with John Bowstead, Roger Jeffs and Bernard Jennings) of the group Fine-Artz in 1963, and (with David Bainbridge, Michael Baldwin and Harold Hurrell) of the group Art & Language from 1968-74, which were two of the most influential collectives in contemporary art. Art & Language’s activities were self-reflexive on the concept of art and promised a social base in shared conversation. Atkinson has exhibited under his own name since 1973. He teaches at the University of Leeds, UK.


Christos Dikeakos, x wáyxway / x' áy'xi, 1991 

Christos Dikeakos, x wáyxway / x' áy'xi, 1991, c-print, sandblasted glass, metal. SFU Art Collection. Gift of John and Helen O'Brian, 2015.

Christos Dikeakos' photographic series Sites and Place Names, shot in Vancouver, Saskatoon, Athens and Berlin, engages memories, histories and urban typologies within contemporary urban sites. His complex understanding of history, colonialism and representation is reflected in x wáyxway / x' áy'xi which depicts a view from Stanley Park looking north over Burrard Inlet to the mountains and the industry along the shoreline. The panoramic photograph depicts the site from a contemporary perspective and the sheet of glass that is placed over it has words sandblasted in English and Musqueam that convey how these sites were described and understood by the Musqueam First Nation prior to and during European settlement.

Christos Dikeakos lives and works in Vancouver. Since the late 1960s, his photographic practice has played an important role in the development of conceptual photography in Vancouver. His work has been nationally exhibited and collected.


Al Neil, Newton, 1986

Al Neil, Newton, 1986, mixed media on paper. SFU Art Collection. Gift of John and Helen O'Brian, 2015.

Al Neil's Newton is a mixed media work that reveals the artist's long-standing interest in geometry and laws of motion. Newton combines found images of the mathematician/philosopher Sir Isaac Newton (by Kneller), diagrams and book pages over which Neil has scrawled Newton's name and partially masked the images with splotches of black paint which connote Rorschach's tests and action painting.

Al Neil is a visual and performance artist, musician, writer and composer based in Vancouver. He is considered one of Canada's interdisciplinary artistic pioneers. His work is widely performed, exhibited and collected.


Thomas Ruff, 3-D New York (Bronx), 1998 

Thomas Ruff, 3-D New York (Bronx), 1998, photolithographs, ed. of 60. SFU Art Collection. Gift of John and Helen O'Brian, 2015.

Thomas Ruff's 3-D New York (Bronx) is a print edition that operates within the artist's interest in photography's grammar and structures. Ruff turned away from straight photography in the mid-1990s (and is very well known for his large-scale, passport-like portraits), and since then has worked largely with manipulated found imagery. The stereoscopic aerial images of an urban landscape - the Bronx - are presented together side-by-side without 3-D glasses. A comparative reading between the two images asks viewers to query the spatial framing and potential optical "pop" of 3-D that does not deliver.

Thomas Ruff lives and works in Düsseldorf. His work has been widely shown and collected internationally. 


Allyson Clay, Double Self-Portrait, 2001 

Allyson Clay, Double Self-Portrait, 2001 c-print on dibond aluminum, ed. 2/2 SFU Art Collection. Gift of the artist, 2015.

Allyson Clay’s large-scale photograph Double Self-Portrait depicts twinned images of the artist tossing books out of the windows of a modernist building, unburdening herself of certain histories of art, theory and psychoanalysis. Clay’s work has been critical in the development of a discourse around feminist visual art practices in Vancouver, and can be characterized as an ongoing attempt to synthesize the complex ideologies of feminism and painting.

Allyson Clay lives in Vancouver and has been a Visual Arts faculty member at SFU since 1988. Her work has been exhibited locally, nationally and internationally and with its focus on the urban female subject, can be considered in part as a response to the Vancouver photoconceptualist discourse.


Jin-me Yoon, Souvenirs of the Self (Postcard Series), 1991-2000

Jin-me Yoon, Souvenirs of the Self (Postcard Series), 1991-2000, postcards. SFU Art Collection. Gift of the artist, 2015. Photo: Blaine Campbell.

Jin-me Yoon’s Souvenirs of the Self depicts the artist standing in the iconic Canadian settings of the Rocky Mountains. The humour of this project yields to more serious questions about who is and isn’t regarded as a natural citizen. The postcards were a result of being invited to Banff to do a work on the theme of travelling and territories. Attuned to issues around migration and belonging, Yoon is also interested in issues of sexual difference, and she uses her work as an opportunity to challenge stereotypical constructs that continue to permeate our culture.

Jin-me Yoon lives in Vancouver and has been a Visual Arts faculty member at SFU since 1992. Her work is recognized nationally and internationally. The intersections between identity and location have been a central theme in Yoon’s work and she has been an important voice in the development of a discourse around identity in visual art.