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Victoria's Open Space adding new art to Commerical Alley

Open Space, Victoria’s artist-run exhibition and performance centre, has partnered with the city to add some colour to Commercial Alley.

A series of paintings by street artist Troy Lovegates, also known as Other, were put on display in June. Lovegates’ work was chosen to work in conjunction with Open Space’s Reclaim the Streets symposium, an examination of Victoria’s urban art.

Lovegates’ work will be removed on Aug. 13 to make way for Commercial Alley’s second exhibition by local artist and poet Roy Green.

Titled Bird Quartet, the series of paintings flings some of Vancouver Island’s indigenous avians, such as the blue heron, the pileated woodpecker and the rufous hummingbird into semi-human form in an attempt to explore humanity’s fascination with the creatures.

Open Space curatorial assistant Alexis Hogan said that Green was chosen to be the second featured artist because of the relevance his subjects hold for Vancouver Island and the contrast his work provides to Lovegates’.

“When we saw examples of (Green’s) work, we were effortlessly able to envision his four portraits enlivening the space,” Hogan said. “We felt he would be an interesting and inspirational bridge for the community.”

Green himself said that a public venue like Commercial Alley is the ideal place for his series.

“It’s meant for the public, to catch them by surprise,” he said. “I’m hoping it will be an unexpected visual treat for people who may not even know there’s art on display in the alley.”

Bird Quartet will be unveiled as part of the Integrate Arts Festival on Aug. 15 in Commercial Alley, located between Yates Street and Bastion Square, and displayed until Jan. 15. Open Space hopes to continue their partnership with the city and have a third exhibition replace Bird Quartet following its removal.

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