An Exhibition with a Difference

Lifta Village, 1960 ink
Bubbles, 1980, ink, 22×30 in.

Most exhibitions are held in order to feature an artist’s new work or showcase work done over the years -a retrospective.

On November 16, 2017, a new exhibition of my work will open at the Sidney and Gertrude Zack Gallery in Vancouver. This time the concept will be very different from the well travelled path. This time the main actor in the show is my new book, Light within the Shadows; a painter’s memoir. The art on the walls is conceived as an illustration of my journey as a writer, thus becoming a mini retrospective based on the book and the images included in it. Included will be some of the drawings and wood engravings from the 1950s, when I was still a student at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, never shown before. There will be works from the 1960s, when I lived in Illinois and Montreal and from my beginnings in Vancouver.

Mrs. Suleimanoff doing her laundry, 1958, charcoal, 10″x13″



Jerusalem, 1959, watercolour, 10×13 in.



Mahaneh Yehouda Market, 1959, watercolour and ink, 10×13 in.


On Thursday, November 16 at 6 pm I shall give an illustrated talk about the memoir, followed by a Reception from 7 -9 pm. Everyone is welcome!

950 West 41stAvenue, Vancouver, BC.  604-257-5111




LEGENDS – Fondacion Museo Eugenio Granell, Spain


Museo Fondaçion Eugenio Granell, Santiago de Comopostela, Spain

July 13 – September 24, 2017

Artist Statement for LEGENDS

Mythology is a powerful element that shapes humanity. Old legends spanning millennia have created heroes and religions, defined beliefs and became deeply embedded in our universal consciousness. I have always been interested in these ancient tales and have chosen two stories from different cultures, times and continents as the subjects for my current exhibition, LEGENDS.

The first group of works is inspired by the myth of Medea, the archetype of the abused woman taking revenge on her victimiser. As with most myths, various interpretations exist regarding the murder of her children. Euripides was among the first to attribute the deaths of Medea’s children to her own hand, although other versions abound.

In these mixed media works on paper I focused on Medea’s plight, by concentrating on her face and thoughts. What went on behind those eyes turned inwards, contemplating the destruction of her life, her security and her sense of belonging? The ghostly shadows of the children she is about to lose to another woman are a haunting and surreal presence. The daydream of a life with her beloved, for whom she gave up everything she had, becomes a garden of flowers growing from her head. Medea’s story has all the elements of human tragedy: love, betrayal and the yearning for justice.

The second part of the exhibition derives from a body of works inspired by the initiation practice of the Hamatsa secret society of the Kwawaka’wakw tribe of British Columbia, entitled The Cannibal Birds Suite. As a new immigrant in Vancouver, I was fascinated by the majestic art of the indigenous people of the West Coast. This interest resulted in a large surrealistic body of works that incorporated elements of native culture combined with images of the flora and fauna in the environment in which these people have lived for centuries.

The initiation ritual begins with a young man being sent to the forest where he encounters the fierce Cannibal Bird, who attempts to devour him; in the ensuing struggle the youth prevails and becomes a man-eating bird himself. Dressed in hemlock leaves, gnashing his teeth and biting people on his way, he returns to his people during the Potlach, the winter dance festival, and dancing around the fire he regains his humanity and finds his song. This powerful myth of overcoming one’s demons and finding one’s soul, inspired me to create a number of works on this subject. An important element in these works is a forest symbolizing the soul’s wanderings among the trees, in search of truth. Cannibal Birds lurk among the trees; they are the demons we have to face so that we may find ourselves.


Pnina Granirer was born in 1935 to a Jewish Rumanian family. She moved to Israel in 1950 in the aftermath of atrocious historical circumstances, which included surviving Nazism and shortly thereafter, the so-called “dictatorship of the proletariat.” Twelve years later, she moved to Vancouver where she has lived ever since.

Always resorting to a great variety of media and techniques, in the late seventies Pnina Granirer’s work took a turn that would bring it significantly closer to Surrealism. Between 1978 and 1981, she was inspired by the landscape and rich native cultures of the Pacific Northwest which brings us a vision that Agustin Espinoza would have described as “integral”, that is to say, as poetic and non-realist.

Totemic elements and Kwakiutl masks are incorporated into the series on anthropophagic birds. These mythical birds haunted the forests where people went in search of their song, or their inner being.

Jose Miguel Perez Corrales, professor of Philology, Tenerife, writing in Surrealismo: El Oro del Tiempo    

 To view the exhibition go to LEGENDS under Portfolios


Modernism or postmodernism? (focus on 20th century art history)

Following are some of the topics I discussed during a series of Philosopher’s Art Cafes, that I organized. These cafes became part of the Simon Fraser University large number of other cafes in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland.

Talk delivered for a Philosopher’s Art Café on March 15th, 2006, in conjunction with Artists in our Midst Open Studios Walk.

 Modernism or postmodernism? (focus on 20th century art history)

 If Modernism is associated with the idea of the avant-garde, what happens to the avant-garde in Postmodernism? Has the idea of the avant-garde degenerated into the cult of shock value, seeking the quick impact of advertising? Has innovation become routinized, a mere marketing device? Has the ‘depersonalisation’ of art been balanced by a ‘personality cult’ of the artist-as-self-publicist? Who chooses what is exhibited and why?

Before we even start our discussion let’s try to define, in broad terms what Modernism and Postmodernism are. This is such a vast field, that we cannot hope to do it justice here, there is such an enormous amount of literature and philosophic and critical writings on it, that all we can hope in this forum is just to outline a very general idea.

Modernism started in France, in the late 19th C. as a movement of rebellion by artists against academic traditions and a criticism of existing culture. By experimenting with Dada, Surrealism, later Impressionism and countless other ‘isms’, artists rejected the middle class values and tried to reconstruct society, thinking they could change the world. Of course, as with all other such movements, by the mid 20th c. modernism had become, from ‘avant-garde’, the established norm. At the beginning, the rejection of tradition by artists brought repression in totalitarian regimes, such as Malevitch in Soviet Russia. Ironically, this rebellious trend, fighting against bourgeois values was embraced in capitalist countries and reached its peak in the US, with Abstract Expressionism.

Postmodernism, or PoMo, is considered by some as the next stage, by others as another incarnation of Modernism. When I researched the material for this talk, I was amazed as how diffuse and vague all definitions were, how many different opinions and viewpoints were available. It is really bizarre that we are still talking about some of the current artists as being ‘avant-garde’, when one looks back at the beginning of the 20th c and sees what artists were doing then. I’ll come back to this later.


Postmodernism started in fact with the Dada movement in 1920 and was reinforced mostly by the work of French philosophers such as Leyotard, Derrida and Lacan. It was then embraced by the academia, which has tried (successfully) to present art as an academic and theoretical endeavour, appealing only to the brain, thus emptying art of what it had traditionally done, to communicate not only through ideas, but through emotion as well. Also the end of a personal style, rejection of art history, appropriation, exhibitionism and great use of the shock value. Many see it as an anti-humanist movement, where change becomes the status-quo, leaving the notion of progress obsolete. Depth of meaning is out, newness is in. Mass media appropriation is a common occurence.

I shall not go too deeply into more discussion of definition, this would necessitate a 6 mos. course. Let’s stick with our subject tonight, the State of the Art as we experience it. Most people are not even aware of the philosophical and theoretical debates raging in the art world. They go to see the shows and are either puzzled or dismayed sometime at what they see. Since we are supposed to deal with the visual arts, we should be asking questions based on what we see, although conceptual art, an important component of postmodernism, is about the idea, the concept, and not the form.


  1. Fountain, 1917, Marcel Duchamp.

The French artist Marcel Duchamp. Moved to New York and was the first artist to use the ‘ready-made’ object. After his career as a painter and supporter of cubism, Duchamp fled Europe before WW1 and turned against Cubism with ‘Fountain’. It was an attack on the cultural elitism of early 20th C. With this he blasted away the primacy of the art object, the role of the critic and dealers, the hierarchy of the curators and of the public taste. However, the organizers the Society of Independent Artists of the exhibition rejected the piece, which later disappeared from sight. Later, in the 1950s, with Duchamp’s interest in Surrealism, a dealer asked him to authorize a substitute urinal for an exhibition of his work. He again signed it R.Mutt and substitutes began sprouting like mushrooms. Later he allowed an Italian dealer exclusive rights. Ironic, that this piece which was supposed to deny the preciousness of the art object, became one itself, eventually commanding prices in 6 figures.

‘Fountain’ was voted in 2004 as the most influential piece of art of the 20th C. by 500 British artists, curators and art dealers.


  1. Felix Gonzales, Fortune Cookies, 1990. This work was offered for a Christie’s auction with a certificate of authenticity signed by the artist. Estimate – $ 6 – 800.000.

Attraction of conceptual art: no skills needed.

  1. Beuys, Crucifixion, 1962. Conceptual piece
  2. Warhol, Good Business is the Best Art. He was the natural follower of Duchamp, using the ready-made and the mass media. He understood the value of publicity and of the artist as ‘star’, reaching out to the popular American culture. The borders between High art and advertising have shrunk.
  3. Marilyn

Increasingly we find writers and critics bemoaning the ‘dumbing down’ of art (at least they did not live long enough to endure the choices of the Turner Prize). Harold Rosenberg, Hilton Kramer. Michael Fried and Karl Ruhrberg held a round table and agreed that “art has become little more than commodity production, investment portfolio and entertainment” They lamented Modern art’s “anything goes” attitude. But in an environment of absolute freedom, what is left for a critic to criticize? The new criticism, especially coming out of Universities, produces jargon-ridden articles which are incomprehensible to anyone without a PhD in art Theory.

  1. Liam Gillick, Turner Prize 2002, The Wood Way. Text has become the art. Again, it is heavily borrowing from the mass media.
  2. Rikrit Tiravanija, Social Pudding Factory at the Miami Art Fair.
  3. Poster for MINI – please define…
  4. Brian Jungen, Flats
  5. Tracey Emin, Bed, Turner Prize
  6. Mike Nelson, Turner Prize, 2002, installation – Trading Station
  7. Damian Hirst, cigarette butts
  8. Damian Hirst, Impossibility of Death in the Mind of someone Living, Turner Prize 1992
  9. Do-Ho Suh, Some/one, S. Korea, New York, 10.000 military dogtags, inside mirrors. Formal elegance and visual beauty, along with conceptual issues of identity, anonymity of war. An example of conceptual art which has retained the aesthetic values.

It is also worth mentioning at this point the enormous costs of conceptual art and its embrace by the very same institutions and market values it is supposed to be rebelling against. The argument that the earlier modern artists were rejected at first does not apply to postmodernism and the high priests of conceptual art. In spite of still calling themselves the ‘avant-garde’ and using such phrases as making ‘cutting-edge’ art, they have now become the establishment, commanding most of the grants and being exhibited in the most prestigious museums.

Too often one has to ask the question “is it art?” and “what is art?”

It was the question which popped in my mind when I entered the large exhibition space at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, in 1980, and thought for a moment that I came to the wrong address. The exhibition consisted of a display of vacuum cleaners and other electrical kitchen utensils, looking more like a show room in a kitchen gadgets store.

The examples are numerous and the question we should dare ask ourselves is, again. In spite of the rampant theories and the pseudo Intellectualization of art, is it not just ‘the Emperor’s New Clothes’ which we are looking at? Is it not time to point out that the glorification of the banal, the bodily fluids, the boredom and poverty of visual stimulation, the superficial ideas presented as deep statements, have proven Hans Christian Andersen’s great wisdom and understanding of human folly.

 April 21, 2012

Do artists communicate with the public?

How does the public relate to art in general and to post-modern art in particular? Are some people intimidated by formal gallery spaces? Should art be easily accessible, or do we need to educate the public for a better understanding?

In order to deal with these questions, I’ll give you first a very short overview of art over the centuries and the way it changed. Without these changes we might not have to ask the questions. I’d like to present you with a few questions and hear from you what you think.

How do artist and audience communicate?

How can an artist effectively communicate with the viewer? When is creative work best shoved under one’s bed, and when should one choose to exhibit? What is the purpose of making art available for public viewing? What does the viewer bring to an exhibition context, and how can a safe space be created for artists to be vulnerable and expose their work and for viewers to respond?

“ I don’t know anything about art”, “what does this mean?” “Why is this art?”

We have heard these questions forever and ever. Many people are afraid to express an opinion about art and rely mostly on what they are told. They are afraid that if they express what they really think, they would be considered as boors and lacking basic understanding about art, so they keep quiet and accept the expert opinion of the day. This lack of confidence is common and may lead to the famous syndrome of the Emperor’s New Clothes, but we’ll talk about this later. So – should we talk about art? Should the artist explain his ideas and feelings involved in his or her creation? Does the artist even care about his ideas being understood? Here we come against a common attitude that, I think, borders on arrogance: “Visual art is a visual experience and hence it should not be talked about. “ And what about music? Should all music appreciation classes be cancelled because music should only be heard and not explained?

Let’s see how matters used to be and what role art played as communicator in the past.

In the past artists did not have the same standing as they do today. They were considered as merely craftsmen (a profession dominated by men), who were commissioned to paint mainly religious themes. As almost all people were illiterate and the Bible was read in Latin, the only way the Church could instruct the masses was by illustrating the Bible stories in frescoes, stained glass, windows and paintings.

slide: Stained glass. – the 3 Magi

slide: The story of Adam and Eve by Cranach the elder, 1533, does not need any explanation, the story is clear.

slide: The dissection – Rembrandt

All the works done in the past were figurative, telling a story and thus relying heavily on narrative. There was very little left to the imagination, the main goal being to make the story clear to the viewer. We see this later on, even after the Church ceased being the main patron, as in the Rembrandt painting of the doctors’ guild dissection lesson, or in the Coronation of Napoleon by David, that describes an important political event. Since photography was still in its infancy in the 19th C., it was not used widely, so these historical paintings give us an accurate depiction of the event, the clothing, the architecture and the times. They become essentially documentary works, communicating a clear story. Everyone understands realistic representations of things from real life, no mystery there.

slide: The coronation of Napoleon, David

This is why purely abstract art tends to appeal to a smaller audience. It is common to want to know what you are looking at so you can place a literal meaning on it. But art, even art that is fairly straightforward in its subject matter, has a larger and deeper meaning that goes beyond the literal, and has an emotional component that is very important.
Earlier painters such as the Italian Paolo Ucello had depicted great battle scenes, as, of course, figurative paintings, conveying the movement of the battle. But for the viewer, which one of the battle scenes better communicate the horrors of the war?

Ucello’s decorative, beautiful, almost festive battle scene, painted in mid 15th C. and clearly painted as a commission by a powerful ruler, or Picasso’s Guernica, painted in mid-20th C.?

Towards the end of the 19th c., some artists became dissatisfied with the straight narrative painting and wanted to express feelings and emotion. Beauty was still a very important aspect of art and so we see a new movement in Vienna, the Secessionists, best represented by Gustav Klimt, who died in 1918 and whose lush, decorative paintings are a feast for the eyes. It seems to me that there is no doubt that this painting easily conveys to the viewer feelings of love and tenderness, even though the figures are somewhat abstracted.

slide: Klimt, the Kiss

Then, at the beginning of the 20th c starting around 1915, a most dramatic change occurs in art. With the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, some artists want to express the tremendous liberation and freedom from the old tradition of painting and we see this, now too familiar image by Kazimir Malevitch, painted in 1915. It is a total revolution in the visual arts; but what does it communicate to the viewer?

slide: Malevich

I would very much like to know what you think, since this minimalist approach of black on black, white on white, geometric forms, etc., have been repeated endlessly and are still showing up in exhibitions of what is called now the ‘new painting’. Do these paintings need an explanation in order to be understood? What do they communicate to the viewer? What is the point of repeating the same ideas over and over again? Here is what Malevich himself says about his painting; after hearing this, think if it helped you to understand the work better.

Malevich described his aesthetic theory, known as Suprematism, as “the supremacy of pure feeling or perception in the pictorial arts.” He viewed the Russian Revolution as having paved the way for a new society in which materialism would eventually lead to spiritual freedom. This austere painting counts among the most radical paintings of its day, yet it is not impersonal; the trace of the artist’s hand is visible in the texture of the paint and the subtle variations of white. The imprecise outlines of the asymmetrical square generate a feeling of infinite space rather than definite borders.

At the same time, many artists continued producing art based on the figure, such as Matisse and Picasso, although now the figure is less and less realistic, therefore more difficult to understand.

And then Picasso paints the famous Demoiselles d’Avignon, based on the African masks he had discovered. This is the first step towards another revolutionary visual transformation: Cubism.

slide: Les demoiselles, Picasso, Blue period, Picasso, Dancers, Matisse, cubist, Braque

How did the public react to these works? Have these works mellowed through the years, has the public become accustomed to them, do people understand this art? Like anything new, it takes time to digest the novelty of the new shapes and concepts, but we have to ask the question whether this transformation has led to a smaller number of people who understand and enjoy looking at these works, creating some kind of an elite. On the other hand, have these works enriched and expanded our view of the unlimited possibilities of the artistic imagination?

This was the beginning of an explosion of new styles, different ‘isms’ and the birth of Abstraction.

slides: Motherwell, Clyfford Still, Helen Frankenthaler, Jackson Pollack, Mark Rothko

And then the end of the road: colour field and minimalism, after which there was nowhere else to go.

This was Modernism. As defined by the powerful art critic Clement Greenberg:

Modernism reasserts the two-dimensionality of the picture surface. It forces the viewer to see the painting first as a painted surface, and only later as a picture. This, Greenberg says, is the best way to see any kind of picture. He also believed that painting should have no other meaning than paint on a surface.

So – now we reached the point when our initial question of communication between the artist and the viewer becomes relevant. Now that the figure has disappeared from the painting and the narrative has been eliminated, what are we supposed to think? When one enters the big white box of the exhibition space and is faced with large canvases covered with paint, how does this experience affect us?

Does the power of the colour and the texture of the paint strike one as a strong emotional experience? I know people who said that, when gazing at a Rothko colour field minimalist painting, they broke down and cried. Others, like the group of French tourists I saw once at the MOMA in New York, were laughing and giggling, seeing these paintings as absurd and not at all as art. Could it be that, given the right kind of art education, they would have been able to appreciate these works and gain a better understanding?

Having seen the play ‘Red”, you may now wonder whether the artist even wishes to convey his ideas to the public. We see Rothko disdainfully dismissing the collectors of his paintings as insensitive to the strong feelings he tries to express, while on the other hand he craves the fame and recognition that he cannot get without these same collectors.

Except – for what some still call ‘the dumbing down of culture’: Pop art. It may very well be that after Minimalism literally painted itself into a corner with nowhere else to go, the silliness of POP art, which infuriated Marc Rothko, was the only answer left.

slides: Puppy – Jeff Koons , Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol, who was a superb draughtsman, understood the American psyche and still is one of the most collected artists in America.

Now let’s have a look at landscape painting.

What exactly does it mean for a work of art to communicate with the viewer? Here are a few examples of landscape painting. Which ones are more accessible to the viewer and why?

slides: Robert Genn, Veronica Plewman, Gregg Simpson, Robert Bateman

When we examine the sales records of these artists, we see that the more realistic and easy to understand paintings are doing much better commercially than the more abstracted ones. Does this mean that the more realistic artists communicate their art better than the more abstract ones? Are the artists who simply copy nature easier to understand than the ones who interpret it and give us a new way of seeing it?

Or does it simply mean that we need more education in order to understand the more sophisticated images?

Let’s see now what happens at the post-modern and conceptual art level. Post-Modernism is a rejection of the Modernist values, not a rare occurrence in the art world, when a new vision or style comes into being by rejecting the old one. We saw this happen with the Russian artists who invented abstraction as a demonstration of a new-found freedom, we saw the Impressionists battle against the academic, classical style and now we see the conceit declaring ‘the end of art’, rejecting the visual altogether and claiming that the only thing which counts is the idea, or the concept.

slide: Marcel Duchamps, Fountain

Marcel Duchamps’ ready-made urinal, the famous ‘Fountain’ which I showed you in the last talk I gave, and the idea of the ‘readymades’ was the first big step. It caused a furor when it was first exhibited in the Armory Show in New York, with many arguing that it was not art at all. The discussion it still going on, but now it has also become another ‘contemporary’ trend or fashion. Let’s look at this piece by Joseph Kosuth. How does it communicate at first and how does it change after reading the curator’s statement.

slide: Joseph Kosuth, One and Three Chairs

In this piece, titled “One and Three Chairs” by Joseph Kosuth, we are shown three different ways to picture a chair. We are shown a dictionary definition of the word chair, a real-life chair that someone could actually sit down on, and a photograph of that chair. This artwork is about different ways to show ideas. It presents one chair and three different ways of picturing this same chair. Showing a dictionary definition of the word chair is one way. When I read the definition I imagine a chair in my mind. Showing a photograph is another way to picture a chair. And showing a real-life chair that someone could sit down on is still another way to picture a chair. By showing us three different ways to picture a chair, Kosuth makes the point that there are many ways to show an idea.

All three versions are good ways of showing a chair but they are also very different too. This artwork helps us realize that there are many ways an artist can show his or her idea of a chair. The artist thought this was very interesting. He thought that the way an idea is shown is interesting. In fact, he thought that this IDEA was more interesting that the chair itself. The idea is the most important thing about this artwork, which is why it’s called Conceptual Art.

Let’s have quick look at the winner of the famous Turner Prize competition in 2011 and what the media has to say. But here, again, I have to qualify this by saying that one should also not always rely on the opinion of the media. We have the example of how the media totally panned the Impressionists at the beginning and how mistaken they were.

Read this article by Eleanor Harding:

Creativity: Martin Boyce’s rubbish bin wowed the judges despite its simplicity

Who could mistake this rubbish bin for art? It must be the Turner Prize judges, as winner is announced


There are no prizes for guessing which competition this piece of, erm, art won yesterday.

This year’s Turner Prize has been awarded to Martin Boyce, whose recreation of a park scene included a wonky bin as its centrepiece.

The bin, which has a slightly rusting frame and an old rag for a bag, was described as ‘pioneering’ and displaying a ‘new sense of poetry’ by judges.

slide: Martin Boyce, the Bin

So – we have finally arrived at what I mentioned at the start: the syndrome of the Emperor’s New Clothes. Is it really art, or is it art only because we are told so?

The bottom line:

Art presents to the viewer a different way of looking at the world, at social issues, emotions, the environment and the landscape around us. The artist brings out that which cannot be seen or felt easily. It is a language that speaks in visual terms, the only was a visual artist can communicate. It is a dialogue, a conversation between the artist and an audience. The same piece of art, viewed by different people, will elicit different interpretations.

If the viewers are intimidated by important museums, art critics and gallery directors, perhaps the wise thing to do is to first keep an open mind and try to look at the arguments of why this is art. And then, after hearing the arguments, to make up one’s mind and not be afraid to express one’s opinion. Some of the works do stand up to what we consider art, but many other do not. Do these artists even care what the public thinks? Do they want to communicate at all? I’d like to hear what you think.





































Artists in our Midst this weekend was a great success

Well, it’s over! The weekend of Open Studios of Artists in our Midst has been most successful. I want to thank all of you who came to visit my studio and a very special thank you to all of those who purchased my art. I enjoyed meeting old friends and was thrilled to see new faces. It was gratifying to sense the enthusiasm and the pleasure of all of you who left carrying a piece of art that would enrich your life, while contributing to a great cause that is helping many others.

I am glad to report that that I am proud to help Stand up for Mental Health by handing them a donation of $15,000 that reflects the proceeds of the art you have bought from me. This donation will enable the organisation to open a new venue in Victoria, which they were unable to do until now for lack of funds.

Many thanks also to the few people who sent SMH cheques, since they were unable to come to the studio.

Thank you all and enjoy the art!

Laugh All You Can – It’s Good for the Soul! Big Artsy Fundraiser

It is time for you to become an art collector and support a good cause. What can bring you more happiness than this?

On the occasion of the 25thAnniversary of West of Main / Artists in our Midst, I will hold a benefit art sale in my studio. All large prints and works on canvas will be offered at a 50% discount with all proceeds donated to Stand up for Mental Health, an organization like no other, created by David Granirer and now active across Canada, the US and Australia.

Led by award-winning counsellor and stand-up comedian David Granirer, Stand up for Mental Health (which was featured in the VOICE award winning CBC documentary Cracking Up) teaches stand-up comedy to people with mental illness as a way of building confidence and fighting public stigma.
Open Studio and Benefit Sale: May 27 – 28, from 11 am – 5 pm

4557 W. 4th Ave., in the back studio, tel. 604-224-6795

Artists in our Midst – Featured artist

pnina painting2.narrowRead the interview with Pnina Granirer as featured artist for Artists in our Midst 2017 Open Studios.

Opening at the Roundhouse, May 18th, 7 – 9


Open studio May 27- 28, 11 am – 6 pm, 4557 W. 4th Ave.

During the open studio all large prints and works on canvas will be offered at 50% discount, with all proceeds donated to Stand up for Mental Health. (www.standupfor

Light within the Shadows; a painter’s memoir

Pnina Granirer’s memoir. Light within the Shadows, will be launched during the Artists in our Midst /West side of Main Open Studios event, on May 25th, from 7 – 9 pm, at Lord Byng School, 16th and Crown (entrance on Crown).

LWS cover


Pnina Granirer’s memoir of her life from 1935 to the present describes a true artist’s odyssey conceived as a drama in three acts, starting with a perilous childhood as a Jewish girl in 1940s Romania, continuing with emigration to Israel in the early years of the state, and concluding with a long creative period in North America, mostly based in Vancouver. Granirer writes with a painter’s eye, vividly evoking cities from Jerusalem to Paris to Montreal, and landscapes from the coastal sand dunes of Israel to the far north of Canada.

Granirer shares her creative process and how it relates to her life experience in three very different cultures, with their different opportunities and limitations

This thoughtful and fascinating memoir would appeal to anyone interested in the creative life, and how it was lived by one gifted and determined artist through the vicissitudes of the 20th century and into the 21st.

Graham Good

Professor Emeritus of English, UBC

Author of The Observing Self and Humanism Betrayed

Good Company

42a3cfcf0da27faf174771df8a9abcf4I am honoured to be part of the prestigious permanent collection of Museo Fondacion Eugenio Granell, Spain. I am in good company, indeed, as seen in the list of artists below.

My work, Discovery at Gabriola 3, 22×30 in, mixed media on paper, 1987, has been selected to represent this permanent exhibition on the website of the Museum.



Sala 1. Segunda Planta
Con obras de Picasso, Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst, Joan Miró, Toyen, Pnina Granirer, Penelope Rosemont, entre muchos otros.

La exposición Colección Surrealista, comisariada por Natalia Fernández Segarra, se compone de una selección de obras de la colección del mismo nombre creada por Granell a lo largo de su vida.
Entre los artistas que conforman la muestra destacamos a Picasso, Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst, Man Ray, Joan Miró, Roberto Matta, Wifredo Lam, Francis Picabia, Susana Wald, Maruja Mallo, Anne Ethuin, Cruceiro Seixas, Toyen, Penelope Rosemont, Karl-Otto Gotz, Joana Domanska, Pnina Granirer o Yo Yoshitomé, entre otros.

Las llaves del deseo – The Keys of Desire

Red Landscape
Red Landscape


I had the honour of being invited to participate in the International exhibition of Surrealist Art, titled Las llaves del deseo (The Keys of Desire), that opened on March 11, 2916 at the Museo Municipal de Cartago in Costa Rica. Artists, musicians and writers from 19 countries are included in this major exhibition.

The seven works in the show will become part of the permanent collection of the Fondacion CameleonArt.

Although I do not consider myself a surrealist artist, my work contains many elements related to this style. Surrealism has pervaded our culture and our everyday language to the extent that it is difficult to consider it separate from other art forms. It is the way of expressing imagination that shapes dreams. For visual artists it becomes the poetry of form and colour, the projection of the inner vision made real.

Following my participation in a four Vancouver artists show, West Coast Surreal: a Canadian Perspective, at the Fundacion Museo Eugenio Granell, Santiago de Compostela, Spain, I continued to receive invitations to other exhibitions of Surrealist art, in Coinmbra, Portugal and Santiago de Chile. My works are now in the collections of the Fundacion Museo Eugenio Granell and the Museo Nacional de Chile. I discovered that the world of Surrealist artists was a warm and friendly one, where both artists and curators supported and helped one another and showed interest and appreciation for the art, unlike the usual cold, unfriendly art world of most museums and curators of contemporary art.