Hello my name is… Oliver McTavish: Gallery Coordinator and Rentals Assistant

‘Hello My Name Is…’ is a new profile series on The Cultch blog.  Each post will feature a staff member, volunteer, subscriber, or community mover and shaker. Stay tuned for upcoming photos and interviews and drop us a line at ricky@thecultch.com if you have a burning question for one of our staff members or volunteers!

With only two weeks left until The Cultch’s Gallery Launch Part ( happening August 1st) we thought it would be fitting to interview Oliver McTavish-Wisden (The Cultch’s Gallery coordinator) about this year’s gallery season.

Hi! What’s your name and what do you do at The Cultch?

My name is Oliver McTavish-Wisden, and I am the Gallery Coordinator and Rentals Assistant at The Cultch

Tell us about The Cultch gallery.

The Cultch Gallery is a community focused space dedicated to providing progressive art to the residents of the East Side of Vancouver. It consists of two spaces, the cafe hallway and lobby, and exhibits 20 – 30 artists every year. Our goal is to create a strong artistic presence in the area and to engage the community with new contemporary art.

What was the selection process like?

Tough! We send out a call to artists every spring to gather as many exhibition proposals as possible, and we were blown away this year by the number of talented artists interested in exhibiting in our space. This year we received over 70 submissions, which left us feeling quite pleased with the growth of our gallery.

You mentioned that there is a theme this year in terms of the artists you’ve curated. Can you elaborate on this?

Not quite  a theme as a whole, but rather we’ve partnered artists together in exhibitions that have unifying themes, such as travel, symmetry, urban signage, the natural world, abstraction, etc. It’s really exciting to see our artists matching up so well!

What happens at a gallery opening?

A gallery opening at The Cultch is a good chance to discover new art you haven’t seen before, meet the artists behind the exhibition, and meet new people over a nice drink. The great thing about an art opening is all the dialogue that occurs around the art. If you don’t share your interpretation of the work with others, it’s quite possible you’re only seeing one side of a three dimensional object.

What is the criterion for choosing an artist? Is there some quality in the work that you’re specifically looking for that leads you to gravitate towards certain works?

The exhibitions are selected by a triumvirate of curators, so there’s no select criterion. However, I can say that we have no preferred genre or style, no specific medium. We select artists based on the skill level they possess and the projects they propose. We have a deep appreciation for those who exhibit their own style and possess unique ideas.

What can patrons expect this season in terms of the work of art?

An incredible variety. We have more artists this season than every before, and almost every single one of them is new! You can expect life size wooden figures, natural Rorschach tests, decomposing couches, huge abstract paintings, interactive design, international photography, woodcut prints, giant textiles and more.

Make sure to join us for the Gallery Launch Party on August 1st. For more information, visit: The Cultch Gallery Online. All art displayed in The Cultch gallery is available for sale and may be purchased through The Cultch. If interested, please contact us at gallery@thecultch.com.

The Cultch Gallery: Preview Jan – Mar 2013

By Alana Husband

If you haven’t gotten a chance to check out the gallery at The Cultch yet, get on it.  This spring, we’ve got a full schedule of exhibitions by acclaimed artists for your viewing pleasure. From quirky action figures by Niklas Bergman in Action Figure Expo to the arresting portraits set during the Holocaust by Hinda Avery in The Rozen Sisterr’, to the thought provoking pieces of Transactions of the Eye & Sound Memories by Harold Coego, you won’t want to miss out on experiencing the work of these, and the other talented artists we’ve got lined up. So get out your calendar and take note of the following…

Hinda Avery – Scenes From a Resistanze
January 22 – February 17, 2013
Opening: January 23, 6 – 8pm

“What does it mean to confront an atrocity with a revenge fantasy? I argue that by depicting Holocaust subject matter in an absurd, humorous way, my work becomes satire. However, unlike most satire, my paintings do not solely aim to relieve tension. I aim to unnerve.” – Hinda Avery

Hinda Avery is a Vancouver-born artist and teacher. She attended the Ontario College of Art and Design, and Saint Martins School of Art, in London, England. She holds a BFA, a Teaching Certificate in Art Education, and an MFA. She later gained a PhD in Architecture and Planning Education and has taught Art Education and Women’s Studies for several years. Her paintings integrate political and social issues; the feminist movement of the 1970s giving her work a particular focus – that of portraying women in a non-stereotypical way.

Harold Ceogo – Transaction of the Eye & Sound Memories
January 22 – February 17, 2013
Opening: January 23rd, 6 – 8pm

“I consider myself to be an outsider of a modern panorama…images are representations of ‘reality’ through an abstract cinematographic kaleidoscope. They are visible like music to the eye telling us a story – a twisted photocopy of ourselves, or perhaps more like a dream where something is always out of place.” – Harold Coego

Harold Coego was born in Havana, Cuba in 1973 to an enthusiastic artistic family. Before moving to Vancouver in 2002, he worked as an archaeologist assistant, light designer, and scenographic co-designer at the Obstacle Theatre with Victor Varela (an internationally recognized Cuban theatre director). It was while working with Varela that Coego learned about artistic discipline, dedication, light, and composition but most importantly, about human emotions and the many ways to represent it.

Niklas Bergman – Action Figure Expo
February 19 – March 17, 2013
Opening: February 20th, 6 – 8pm

From Niklas Bergman’s long-running comic book Sproing! comes a handful of its population immortalized in this limited action figure collection by Hepkid Toys. He states, “I find that we meet the same characters no matter where we’re from. And these characters, whether they be friendly, a nuisance, or simply familiar, bring us back to the place we grew up in, places we hated and eventually loved.”

Niklas Bergman is a native of Gredeby, Sweden. His comics have been published by Rollins Comics for over 10 years. He is also the founder of Sensible Studios and other works include Smalltown Ramblings, Hobo Sports, and No, Not There!


Robin Ripley – Book Bytes

February 19 – March 17, 2013
Opening: February 20, 6 – 8pm

“The focus of my art practice has often included the re-examination of mundane objects, as they function as signifiers for sensory information, knowledge and memory. These objects also highlight the interwoven nature of our perception and the interplay between art and life.” – Robin Ripley

Robin Ripley holds a BFA from Emily Carr University of Art + Design. During her time working in libraries, she began collecting covers from old books as they were re-bound and has been a keen observer of how technology has informed the way we read – from books to eBooks to QR codes. The language of objects and the way people connect with the common materials that surround them have been recurring themes in her work. Her working processes are often laborious, questioning current economic models of speed and “efficiency” while suggesting that transformation is still possible through small gestures if we make time to notice the details of the world.

Alan Robbins – Making It
February 19 – March 17 2013
Opening: February 20, 6 – 8pm

Alan Robbins firmly believes that his work is better appreciated in book form. He wants viewers to have something on hand to study and manipulate. “It’s better than a gallery setting where people strain to see an image or the computer where it can easily be magnified.” Making It will feature works from across Robbins’ career. Several of his books, talking about his beginnings as an artist to his eventual disappearance from the art scene, will also be on hand for perusal.