Kelowna-based artist Briar Craig is known to incorporate text and clever wordplay into his complex screen prints—using layers of familiar letters, words, and phrases in unfamiliar ways to create new meanings.
Audiences will be able to view Craig’s skillful employment of this in a solo exhibition titled README that opens at the Kelowna Art Gallery this weekend.
The artist creates his screen prints by using ultra-violet cured ink superimposed over found objects like magazines and chalkboards. It is a labour-intensive process that requires many layers and multiple applications to achieve the rich depth of the finished print. The bold words pop forth to shine a spotlight on political rhetoric and reframe everyday phrases. The results are punchy and immediate.
“These screen prints by Briar Craig felt especially timely,” says Christine May, Curator at the Kelowna Art Gallery. “Right now there is just so much information and messaging we are being bombarded with from all of the things we are plugged into. To me, these works navigate some of the confusion we are seeing.”
Visitors may recognize elements from Craig’s National Geographic series of prints, but rather than seeing a photo of wildlife or natural landscape gracing the cover, the artist has buried the striking images with a crush of text, words, and paint that leaves only the distinctive yellow border intact.
Two works from Craig’s Found Object series may be recognizable to audiences as well. Titled Bat Love and Young Love they feature the covers of vintage comics the artist has unearthed and reproduced in a larger-than-life size.
README will be on view from January 29 to April 17, 2022.
Briar Craig is a professor of Printmaking, Photography and Drawing at UBC Okanagan. His work has been exhibited in over twenty-five solo exhibitions and hundreds of group exhibitions. Craig’s art is held in the permanent collections of many notable institutions across the globe. He is also the founder of the Okanagan Print Triennial, an international juried competition dedicated to showcasing the creative forays made with printmaking in Canada and beyond.
The Kelowna Art Gallery is located at 1315 Water Street, in the heart of the cultural district in downtown Kelowna, B.C.