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Reclaimed industrial waste becomes art in New Westminster show

See historic Vancouver architecture reborn in this new exhibition at Amelia Douglas Gallery.
Art in Sherry Cooper's Industrial Remnants exhibition uses reclaimed industrial waste to explore historic Vancouver architecture.

Historic Vancouver architecture is reborn in a new exhibition at New Westminster’s Amelia Douglas Gallery.

Industrial Remnants, featuring work by artist Sherry Cooper, is on at the Douglas College gallery from Jan. 31 until March 22. An opening reception is set for Tuesday, Jan. 31 at 5 p.m., with an artist talk at 7 p.m.

A press release notes the artworks in the show are inspired by the Wilkinson Steel building at the edge of False Creek, capturing the rusted, weathered hues of the city’s past.

“I love the patchwork surfaces of the old, boarded-up building,” Cooper said in the release. “To me, it looks very much like a collage of textured patterns and artistic elements. The building has survived the passage of time. The corrugated steel cladding, aged and weathered by wind and rain, offers up an alternative concept of beauty.”

Jacci Wintermans, the gallery’s co-chair, noted that Cooper creates a warm, pleasing esthetic for her work by layering textiles and textures — using many items that had been thrown away as waste.

Cooper’s work uses a variety of reclaimed items, including old fabric curtains for the surface of the works, adding in paint and items such as rusty nails and washers, metal fragments and old wood.

“As throwaway culture continues to prevail in Western society, it’s refreshing to see what was once considered industrial waste used to create beauty,” Wintermans said.

Cooper, who’s 80 years old, formerly worked as an art teacher in the Burnaby and Coquitlam school districts and also at the University of British Columbia. She says this will be her last exhibit — but she still plans to create art.

In fact, she said, Industrial Remnants could be the beginning of a series of architecturally inspired collections; she’s interested in deconstructing the appearance of modern buildings and reimagining them through collages of recycled materials.

“Juxtaposing shiny plastics with the density of the buildings might make one ponder what would decay first,” Cooper said.

Check out Industrial Remnants at Amelia Douglas Gallery

  • What: Industrial Remnants, an exhibition featuring work by Sherry Cooper
  • Where: Amelia Douglas Gallery, fourth floor north, Douglas College, 700 Royal Ave., New West
  • When: Tuesday, Jan. 31 to Wednesday, March 22. Opening reception Tuesday, Jan. 31 starting at 5 p.m., with artist talk at 7 p.m.

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