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.