Time-Lapse: Posthumous Conversations – A Geoff McMurchy Retrospective

The SUM Gallery and its staff are guests on the unceded land of the Coast Salish Peoples, including the territories of the xwməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), Stó:lō, and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. We ask you to join us in acknowledging these Indigenous communities, their elders both past and present, as well as future generations. The SUM gallery acknowledges that it was founded upon exclusions and erasures of many Indigenous peoples, including those on whose land this institution is located, and demonstrates our continued commitment to dismantling the ongoing legacies of settler colonialism.

Time-Lapse: Posthumous Conversations – A Geoff McMurchy Retrospective

October 29th – January 23rd, 2021 

Click on any image to view slides.

All photos by SD Holman

Vancouver’s SUM gallery will be hosting select, special events surrounding their new Autumn exhibit, Time-Lapse: Posthumous Conversations — A Geoff McMurchy Retrospective.

This exhibit runs October 29th – January 23rd, 2021 at SUM gallery (Suite 425 – 268 Keefer Street).

Time Lapse: Posthumous Conversations is a memorial exhibition of visual art by Geoff McMurchy, a storm force fag who blew open disability art in Canada and whose legacy includes a generation of disabled artists who thrived under his mentorship. Curated by Yuri Arajs, SD Holman and Persimmon Blackbridge in partnership with Kickstart Disability Arts and Culture and All Souls at Mountainview Cemetery.

About Geoff McMurchy:

Geoff McMurchy (1955–2015) is recognized as a pioneer in the local and international disability arts community. Geoff was an accomplished visual artist, dancer and inspiring arts administrator. After an accident in 1977 left him paralyzed, he became dedicated to changing the lives of disabled artists and challenging attitudes toward disability art as the founding artistic director of  Kickstart Disability Arts and Culture.

McMurchy’s dream  was that disability art be considered on the same level as all art: “My interest is that the art that is presented should not be through the filter of ‘disability’; I would like it to be appreciated as art, and you don’t have to like it.”

Curatorial statement

Artist/visionary Geoff McMurchy (1955–2015) was a legend in the world of Canadian disability arts and culture. So many people knew him, so many people have life changing stories about him. He worked in visual art and dance, while living a life that connected him to people through collaboration, activism, advocacy, and research. 

This collection is primarily McMurchy’s visual art and related ephemera. This was where he truly shone and we have some of his best work to share with you. These works give insight into the perspective of a fiercely independent artist living with a disability: his obsessions, desires, and truths. This is a unique perspective, a queer perspective, one that isn’t often given a platform.

McMurchy’s art is baroque, overflowing with repurposed junk: chaos bent to his formal pursuits. From sculptural assemblages to shadow boxes to his own living environment, he played with perception and assumption in ways that are quintessentially disability art. McMurchy’s death was sudden and unexpected. Documenting where his sold works went was one of those things he might have gotten around to one day. His art is scattered, as is his memory. This exhibit includes many of his finest pieces and lacks others: another absence in a show full of absence.

This exhibit is built on absence, and on presence and the conversations between the two. The backbone of this show is McMurchy’s existing art, found and unfound. Supporting that core are post-mortem conversations with disabled artists SD Holman and Persimmon Blackbridge. XX days after McMurchy’s death, Holman (still living with their wife’s death) photographed the riotous installation that was his home. For 4 days they lived in his apartment (so full of him and so empty), listening to his life’s aesthetic, and answering frame by frame. Blackbridge collaborated with McMurchy in life and continued in death, as she assembled unfinished pieces — working in the classic role of artist’s assistant: his ideas, her hands. Seeking direction from his memory and from the work he left behind, she also combined items from his iconic collections into the art that might have been, speaking always to his sly humour and reverent exuberance.  

This exhibit remembers, honours and celebrates McMurchy at the same time as it reflects the emergence of a vibrant disability arts movement in BC, for which he was a primary architect. 

Persimmon Blackbridge, SD Holman, Yuri Arajs  —  2020

Funds from artwork sold will be used to support Kickstart Disability Arts & Culture and Sum Gallery

Works are priced with value first, followed by an acceptable minimum. Anything can be bought from the minimum and above to a good home.

[Titles of works]

Hanging Up My Wings
Geoff McMurchy
Aluminum car grille, feathers.
50” x 17” x 4”

Headdress, Garden Fairy / PRIDE outfit
Geoff McMurchy
Assemblage sculpture wearable; feathers and fibres.

Apron and Tutu, Garden Fairy / PRIDE outfit
Assemblage sculpture wearable; astroturf skirt, tutu.
Valued at $250 – $50 minimum

Geoff McMurchy
Assemblage sculpture; metal, glass, plastic.
59” x 13” x 9”

Vortex of Everything
Geoff McMurchy
Assemblage sculpture; metal colander, feathers, twigs, chopsticks, wire.24” x 7” x 7”
Valued at $300 – $50 minimum

Lightbulb Candle
Geoff McMurchy
Assemblage sculpture; glass light bulb, wood, metal, fibres.
7” x 3” x 4”

Crow Shaker
Geoff McMurchy
Assemblage sculpture; feathers, metallic shaker
15” x 12” x 6”

Spring Salad
Geoff McMurchy
Assemblage sculpture; metal colander, steel shavings.
13” x 8” x 8”
Valued at $300 – $50 minimum 

The Light Is Implied
Geoff McMurchy
Assemblage sculpture; wood, lightbulb, metal, spring.
15” x 6” x 5”

Digger 1
Geoff McMurchy
Assemblage sculpture; metal springs, toy backhoe bucket.
14” x 5” x 7”
Valued at $800 – $100 minimum 

Digger 2
Geoff McMurchy
Assemblage sculpture; metal springs, toy backhoe bucket.
14” x 5” x 6”
Valued at $800 – $100 minimum 

Band From Hell
Geoff McMurchy
Assemblage sculpture; wood, metal, fabric, figurines, artificial flowers.
23” x 15.5” x 20”
Valued at $1500 – $300 minimum 

Geoff McMurchy
Assemblage sculpture; wooden and metal letters.
Various sizes

Sink Your Teeth
Geoff McMurchy
Assemblage sculpture; wooden box, metal, plastic, bone, printed ephemera.
30” x 25” x 5”
Valued at $1500 – $200 minimum 

Light Box
Geoff McMurchy
Assemblage sculpture; wood, metal, metal crate, incandescent string lights.
17” x 21” x 17”
Valued at $150 – $50 minimum 

So Many Recipes
Geoff McMurchy
Assemblage sculpture; wood, metal, wire, printed and written ephemera, copper recipe box, artificial flowers.
20” x 15” x 20”

Geoff McMurchy
Assemblage sculpture; wood, metal, ceramic, plastic, bone, printed ephemera, incandescent string lights.
36” x 30” x 5”
Valued at $4000 – $500 minimum 

Would You Like to See My Feather Box
Geoff McMurchy
Assemblage sculpture; cigar box, bones, wire, feathers, Polaroid photographs, sea glass.
12” x 9” x 7”
Valued at $1500 – $200 minimum 

Badlands (unfinished)
Geoff McMurchy
Assemblage sculpture; wooden box, vials, small metal objects, bone, egg shells, photographs, metal pins.
17” x 12” x 4”, 15” x 15”

Geoff McMurchy
Assemblage sculpture; wooden, plastic and ceramic snakes.
Various sizes
Valued at $900 – $175 minimum 

Double Helix
Geoff McMurchy
Assemblage sculpture; copper pipe, industrial culinary mixers.
72” x 15” x 7”
Valued at $900 – $200 minimum 

Evidence of a Garden/Plant Tags
Geoff McMurchy
Assemblage sculpture; wood, paint, plastic and paper plant tags.
35” x 36” x 12”
Valued at $750 – $150 minimum

X Ray Vision
Geoff McMurchy
12.5” x 15”

Geoff McMurchy
Assemblage sculpture; egg beaters.
Various sizes
Valued at $1500 – $200 minimum

My Service Griffon
Geoff McMurchy
Assemblage sculpture; repurposed wood, glass, metallic candle holders.
50” x 24” x 35”

Prayer Wheel
Geoff McMurchy
Assemblage sculpture; repurposed metal, bicycle wheels, lightbulbs, metal crate, artificial flowers.
66” x 23” x 23”
Valued at $3000 – $500 minimum

Not Fade Away
Geoff McMurchy
Print collage and pencil.
22 1/2” x 21 1/2”

Wind Machine
Geoff McMurchy
Assemblage sculpture; colander, metal wire, metal crate, decorative metallic leaves.
31” x 21” x 10”
Valued at $3000 – $500 minimum

Geoff McMurchy
Photographic print.
13 7/8” x 9 1/2”
Valued at $300 – $75 minimum

Giclee Photographs of Geoff’s art home by SD Holman
16″ x 20″ limited edition of 10 
Valued at $600 – $300 minimum each

1. Centaur
2. Frogs
3. Beaters
4. Griffon
5. Zeppelin

6. Skeletons
7. Dresser
8. Xray
9. Altar
10. Desk

11. Table
12. Tutu
13. Window
14. Cupboard

15. Lift
16. Spine
17. Empty chair



Opening Reception | Thursday, October 29th | 5 pm – 8 pm 
Curator Brunch Online Talk | Saturday, November 7th | 12 pm – 1 pm 
ONLINE Curator Tour | Thursday, November 19th | 6 pm
ONLINE Curator Tour | Saturday, November 28st | 1 pm
Closing Reception | Saturday, January 23rd | TBA

LOCATION:  SUM gallery | Suite 425 – 268 Keefer Street, Vancouver, B.C.

SUM gallery is closely monitoring the COVID-19 crisis and acting accordingly by implementing precautions aligned with public health advisories. We are committed to making this and future exhibitions as safe and accessible as possible.
Timed-entry appointments to visit the TIME-LAPSE exhibition can be made between 12 pm and 6 pm
Tuesday through Saturday via online booking.

Special events are ASL interpreted. Tours are ASL interpreted upon request. 


Yuri Arajs is a working artist who has dedicated much  of his practice to advocating for fellow artists, including artists who live with a disability. He has founded and run a number of arts organizations and art galleries in the US and in Canada  over the last 20 years, including: former  Gallery Director of Interact Center for the Visual and Performing Arts and Outsiders and Others in Minneapolis; former Artistic Director  of Kickstart Disability Arts and Culture in Vancouver and Executive Director  of newly launched Outsiders and Others in Vancouver, BC. His advocacy in the arts community focuses on working with, showing and facilitating public exposure and financial  compensation for self-taught and non-traditional artists. Yuri has been recognized by the press and received numerous awards for his arts advocacy and promotion, as well as for his curatorial work as a gallerist, and was named most influential curator by the Minnesota Monthly in 2008. Yuri is also an accomplished artist, holding three degrees,  including a Masters of Fine Art from Cranbrook Academy of Art. His work is in both private and public collections.

SD Holman is a queer pagan Jewish photo-based artist and curator whose work has toured internationally. An ECUAD graduate in1990, Holman was picked up by the Vancouver Association for Non-commercial Culture (the NON) right out of art school. Holman was appointed Artistic Director of Pride in Art in 2008 ,and spearheaded the founding of the Queer Arts Festival, now recognized among  the top 3 of its kind worldwide, and SUM, Canada’s only queer-mandated transdisciplinary gallery and programmed artists including Kent Monkman, Cris Derksen, Jeremy Dutcher, Paul Wong, Angela Grossman  and Jonathan D. Katz . Curatorial highlights include TRIGGER, the 25th anniversary exhibition for Kiss & Tell’s notorious Drawing the Line project, Adrian Stimson’s Naked Napi solo show, and Paul Wong’s monumental  multi-curator Through the Trapdoor underground storage locker exhibition. A laureate of the YWCA Women of Distinction Award one of Canada’s most prestigious awards Holman’s work has exhibited at Wellesley College, the Advocate Gallery (Los Angeles), the Soady-Campbell Gallery (New York), the San Francisco Public Library, The Helen Pitt International Gallery, Charles H. Scott, Exposure, Gallery Gachet, the Roundhouse, Vancouver East Cultural Centre, Artropolis, and Fotobase Galleries (Vancouver). Holman’s portrait project BUTCH: Not like the other girls toured North America and is going into its second edition, distributed by Caitlin Press Dagger Editions.

Persimmon Blackbridge is an interdisciplinary artist, performer, actor, and video maker. Blackbridge’s pioneering contribution to queer video in Canada  began with Still Sane,Blackbridge’s 1984 Vancouver colloboration with Sheila Gilhooly, inspired by the latter’s three-year  psychiatric incarceration for being a lesbian in the seventies.  In the 1990s, Blackbridgewas a leading  member of the lesbian sex/art collective Kiss and Tell. Their touring erotic arts exhibition “Drawing the Line” helped turn  the tide in the feminist sex wars—pro artistic sexual expression, anti-censorship. Kiss and Tell’s groundbreaking exhibition “True Inversions,” presented at the Banff Centre in 1992, sparked a political confrontation in Alberta around arts funding and freedom of expression. Blackbridge has also been a seminal figure in the disability arts movement from the seventies until the present, with series such as Sunnybrook, From the Inside/Out, Acrobats and Constructed Identities rendering the insights of disability theory and activism into visceral embodiment.

About SUM gallery (sumgallery.ca): SUM gallery is Canada’s only queer mandated visual art gallery and one of only a few worldwide. SUM produces, presents and exhibits with a curatorial vision favouring challenging, thought-provoking multidisciplinary work that pushes boundaries and initiates dialogue. SUM brings diverse communities together to support artistic risk-taking, incite creative collaboration and experimentation and celebrate the rich heritage of queer artists and art.

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