Vancouver Art Gallery Presents: Mowry Boden – a review

Vancouver Art Gallery Exhibition

Mowry Baden




Shingle Beach  – Mowry Boden

The Vancouver Art Gallery’s newest presentation features 15 sculptural works of Governor General’s Award-winning artist Mowry Baden, who has lived, taught and worked in Canada since 1971.

Each of the works on display is complex and engaging. Baden is interested in the connection between the viewer and the object; the sculptures often invite – or require – participation on the part of the observer, who is then observed by others. He believes that participants feel the meaning of the work when there is physical interaction between the sculpture and the person.

“Russian Thistle” – Mowry Baden

Some of the installations, such as “Ukelele”, incorporate a hidden element which has to be observed by oneself in order to perceive its meaning.

Other works, including “Cheap Sleeps Columbine” are enclosures, meant to create a private space to shield the viewer from the world.

“Cheap Sleeps Columbine” – Maury Baden

Many of the sculptures, such as “Calyx”, look familiar but work differently than expected, requiring people to use more than just their vision to understand them.

Maury Boden describing “Calyx”

The second part of the exhibition, “Displacement” consists of works in the Vancouver Art Gallery’s Collection which are meant to provoke thought by changing a familiar object in some way.

There might be a transformation in size, function or the message evoked by the sculpture. For example, “baby blue balls” by Patrick Traer, is huge.

“baby blue Balls”  – Patrick Traer

Sonny Assu’s “Inherent”is a repurposed residential school desk, reminding viewers of the psychological displacement of the aboriginal peoples.

“Inherent”- Sonny Assu

“Mowry Baden” and “Displacement” will be on view at the Vancouver Art Gallery until June 9, 2019. For more information, visit

Article and photos by Judy Robb

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