Western Front Exhibitions is pleased to present The Western Front Front – Another False Front by Vancouver-based artist Reece Terris. This public art project is commissioned by Western Front Exhibitions and presented with the Vancouver 2010 Cultural Olympiad.
The Western Front Front – Another False Front is an architectural intervention constructed on the exterior of the Western Front building. Terris’s addition consists of a new, larger façade, including parapet and cornice. Exaggerating its formal elements, the structure has been built at one-and-a-half times scale, and installed on top of the existing façade at a slight angle.
Historically, wooden false fronts were ornamental structures erected on the front of goldrush-era buildings to make hastily built boomtowns appear more impressive. This created the illusion of larger, more important buildings mimicking those built of cast iron or brick in more established cities. Symbolizing the pioneering Western town, the false front is both synonymous with the artificial display of wealth as well as the rapid boom-and-bust expansions of early mining, railroad and forestry communities.
One of a handful of wood-frame buildings still standing in Vancouver with a false front, the Western Front was constructed in the early 1900s as a lodge for the the Knights of Pythias, a fraternal order. In 1972, the building was purchased by a group of artists and converted into a live/work space. This affiliation grew into the Western Front Society, one of Canada’s longest-running artist-run centres.
Drawing from architectural history to contemporary discussions around façadism (the practice of demolishing a building while leaving its façade intact), Terris’ project juxtaposes bygone projections of culture and prosperity with references to the rapidly expanding economic cycles of modern-day Vancouver.
Reece Terris graduated from Simon Fraser University in 2005 and has had solo and group exhibitions at venues such as the Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver; The Whatcom Museum of History and Art, Bellingham; The Walter Phillips Gallery at the Banff Centre, Banff; and the Surrey Art Gallery, Surrey. His monumental project Ought Apartment (2009) was most recently featured in a solo presentation as part of Next: A Series of Artist Projects from the Pacific Rim at the Vancouver Art Gallery. Terris is represented by Jennifer Kostuik Gallery, Vancouver.