Libby Leshgold Gallery

Please join us for a panel discussion on Thursday, November 28, held in conjunction with Myfanwy MacLeod’s solo exhibition The Undesirables, on view at the Libby Leshgold Gallery until December 8, 2019.


MacLeod’s exhibition title is derived from the title of a chapter in William H. Whyte’s book The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces (1980) — “The ‘Undesirables’” (with ‘undesirables’ in quotation marks) — which discusses public space in relation to accessibility, gender, class, and marginalized peoples. This line of inquiry can also be used to look at responses to public art, particularly in considering unsuccessful or rejected projects, and the reasons why they may not have been chosen. The speakers in our panel will raise questions surrounding what makes an artwork successful in the public realm, about the public who occupy these spaces, and what it is that makes something desirable or not.


Steph Kirkland has more than 25 years experience as a theatre director and has narrated hundreds of textbooks for post-secondary students with vision loss. Steph trained as a describer with the original team in 2009 and began coordinating the “EarSighted” program for Kickstart in 2011. The following year, Steph founded VocalEye as a separate non-profit society, where she serves as the Executive Director. In 2013, Steph was awarded professional development grants from the Canada Council and the BC Arts Council to observe and study with arts access professionals in New York, London and Washington, DC. In 2014, she was honoured with the Achievement Award in Audio Description International from The American Council of the Blind’s Audio Description Project “for outstanding contributions to the establishment and/or continued development of significant audio description programs.”


Vanessa Kwan is an artist and curator with a focus on collaborative, site-specific and community-engaged practices, currently based in Vancouver, Canada. Among other things, her artworks have included a geyser (with Erica Stocking), a garden best viewed by moonlight, and a series of events for sad people. She is a Program Director at grunt gallery, where she manages residencies, exhibitions and special projects; and is also a curator/producer at Other Sights for Artists’ Projects, an artist-run organization that curates and produces artworks for the public realm. She is a founding member of the arts collective Norma, who were honoured with a City of Vancouver Mayor’s Arts Award for public art in 2012. Upcoming projects also include SPEAKER A, a permanent sound installation (with Theatre Replacement) and Houseplanters, a series of public sculptures commissioned by the City of Vancouver.


Myfanwy MacLeod has over the past twenty years become widely known for her complex and irreverent artwork that draws upon a broad set of references, from conceptual and minimalist art to motifs salvaged from popular literature, music and cinema. MacLeod takes the familiar, cartoons, movie posters, record albums and soft-core porn magazines and shifts their form or context to make visible the way they shape our understanding of ourselves and our place in the world. With a longstanding interest in satire as a tool for critical examination of the world around us, she uses humour to speak to the vexations that persistently confront artists: the struggle to produce something "socially relevant," the tension between art and commerce, and the conflict between popular entertainment and "high culture." Her work explores widely held conceptions of beauty and truth, while also presenting a subversively humorous critique of imbalances of power within the art world — inequities MacLeod sees as representative of the world at large.


MacLeod has been the recipient of numerous awards including the City of Vancouver's Mayor's Award (2013), The Glenfiddich Distillery artist-in-residence program (2005), The City of Vancouver Live/Work studio residency (2003-2005), The Canada Council for the Arts Paris Studio (1999), The Doris and Jack Shadbolt Foundation VIVA award (1999) and the Fondation Andre Piolat (1994).


Sarah Siegel is a senior associate at Hapa Collaborative—a landscape architecture and urban design collaborative based in Vancouver, BC. Siegel grew up in Vancouver, spent 15 years studying and working in Toronto, London, Paris, and New York—most recently at Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates in Brooklyn. At Hapa she has been a key member of the design team and project manager for the Ponderosa Commons project at UBC, the Terra Nova Play Environment in Richmond, the Foot of Lonsdale Public Open Space in North Vancouver, and the renovation of the Vancouver Art Gallery North Plaza. Siegel completed her graduate degree in Landscape Architecture at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design. She studied and worked for several years as a horticulturist, both at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and in London, England. Prior to this she received her Bachelor of Arts with a concentration in Visual Art and Art History from Sarah Lawrence College in New York.


Tatiana Mellema is an independent curator currently pursuing a PhD in Art History at the University of British Columbia. Recent curatorial projects include, “Notes on the Nude” at the Vancouver Art Gallery (2016); “Mark Clintberg: Do I still cross your mind?" (2013) at the Illingworth Kerr Gallery; and "Paul Butler: The Greg Curnoe Bicycle Project" (2011) at the Art Gallery of Ontario. She has also managed and directed video productions for the exhibition "Ambivalent Pleasures" (2016-17) at the Vancouver Art Gallery, and Ragnar Kjartansson’s "The End," for the 53rd Venice Biennale (2009). She currently works as a Public Art Planner at the City of Vancouver, and has worked at the Vancouver Art Gallery, Illingworth Kerr Gallery, Nuit Blanche Calgary, The Banff Centre, The Power Plant, and the National Gallery of Canada. Her writing has been published in Canadian Art, Border Crossings, C Magazine, Black Flash, and Akimblog.



Libby Leshgold Gallery acknowledges that it is located on unceded territory of the Coast Salish Peoples, including the territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), Stó:lō and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.