As a contemporary art student at Simon Fraser University downtown, I have spent the last four years dreaming of an opportunity to work with art in a gallery context. Needless to say, I was excited to be chosen among all applicants as BAF’s inaugural intern. Not only am I privileged to learn about the day to day of running a gallery space, gaining valuable experience for my future career, but I am fortunate enough to meet the artists we work with and speak with them about their processes.

Sean Mills has been artist-in-residence since I began my internship at BAF in late February and I have seen his work as it has been developing in our studio. He applies layer upon layer of transparent paint mixed with opaque paint on a plexiglass support, so that the paintings appear to be held in space. Mills is inspired by the increasing amount of transparent architecture in our city. Nicknamed the “City of Glass”, Vancouver is famous for its ubiquitous use of transparent materials in store windows, housing, skyscrapers, and transit stations. As light passes through the pieces, the shadows of the transparent brushstrokes appear on the wall behind them, and the plexiglass almost disappears. This draws attention to the architecture of the gallery around the painting. Sean made his work while specifically thinking about the architecture of BAF and its large glass window facade. Light streaming through the paintings casts a shadow of brushstrokes and seems to paint the gallery space around it. Sean’s work is painting with light itself.

It has been so intriguing to talk to this artist and watch his work in its development. Transparent Architecture as Support opens May 14th from 7-10pm.



Alexandra Best, Gallery Intern