Sandow Birk, Incursion, 2007. Woodcut on Sekishu paper. Courtesy Hui Press, Makawao, HI and Catharine Clark Gallery, San Francisco.

Sandow Birk: The Depravities of War

September 7 – November 12, 2009
Teck Gallery

Sandow Birk is a prolific Southern California artist working in a wide range of media: painting, printmaking, and cinema. The SFU Gallery will show his series of fifteen outsized woodcuts about the US incursion into Iraq titled The Depravities of War. The series was inspired by recent events as well as by the war etchings of Jacques Callot (1592–1635), titled The Miseries of War, which in the early 1800s were a source for Goya’s The Disasters of War. Birk worked from TV and Web news reports at the time of the US-led invasion, making small drawings of news images, blowing them up to 4 x 8 feet at Kinko’s and then grinding and gouging the plywood sheets—the resulting prints resemble images from a graphic novel. Birk is a witness to our times, reflecting and refracting events back to us; he protests injustice through his woodcuts and, as with Jeff Wall’s photographs, shows us history writ pictorially large, transforming news events into something strange and horrible, yet weirdly familiar.

The prints depict recruiting scenes (“enlist Army, free college”), the training, the invasion, the destruction of Baghdad, the occupation, the local insurrection, the incarceration and the Senate investigation hearings, that have so far only occurred once" amongst other stages in the “Bush/Cheney War.”

The exhibition is in two parts: The early stages of the ‘war’ in Burnaby (September 12 – October 24) and later developments and consequences of the ‘war’ at Teck Gallery, Harbour Centre, 515 West Hastings Street (September 7 – November 12).

Curated by Bill Jeffries.


Film Screenings: In Smog and Thunder: The Great War of the Californias
Friday, October 2, 2009, 7pm.
Room 1600, Harbour Centre, 515 West Hastings Street

Wednesday, October 14, 2009, 7pm.
Room 1600, Harbour Centre, 515 West Hastings Street

Sandow Birk is represented by Catharine Clark Gallery in San Francisco and Koplin Del Rio Gallery in Culver City.