Opening this week – a cartoonist’s work comes to musical life in new collaboration

A small-scale model of CKCK, the television station depicted in George Sprott. Model by Seth.

In what promises to be one of the top visual arts events of the season in Metro Vancouver, Omnis Temporalis opens this week at Richmond Art Gallery.

The new, multi-media work, which runs from April 8 – June 25, is based on George Sprott: 1894-1975, by Guelph artist Seth. Vancouver musician/composer Mark Haney has written and recorded a full album’s worth of material inspired by the graphic novella. Seth himself has designed an immersive installation, which includes an entire cartoon space devoted to the construction of a television station that is the setting for much of the story, including a large-scale 3D cardboard model of the station, and drawings and enlargements from the book itself.

As well, eight live performances are scheduled during the exhibits run. These performances feature actors as characters from the book and live performances of Haney’s compositions by a group of musicians, including the composer.

From the media release: “Mark Haney’s original musical work, written over the last four years, explores notions of an idealized Canada as depicted in Seth’s fictional city of Dominion where George Sprott lives. Notably, Omnis Temporalis is both the title of Haney’s new work and the written motto beneath Dominion’s Coat of Arms, foreshadowing the inevitability of change. Through various portrayals of the eponymous protagonist of the novella, George Sprott, Seth’s narrative explores themes of identity, time, change, loss and memory.”

A sample of Seth’s art from George Sprott.

George Sprott: 1894-1975 was originally published in 2009 by Montreal’s Drawn & Quarterly. Haney first approached Seth for permission to use George Sprott as the basis for this new work in 2011. This began an ongoing dialogue that has resulted in Seth creating a large new work for the RAG exhibition.

The recording of Haney’s collection of pieces inspired by the work, Omnis Temporalis, will play in the space through the exhibition. Drawn & Quarterly is also issuing a physical album of Haney’s music, which will feature a unique package specially designed by Seth.

For more info, visit

The full performance schedule can be found at An Artist’s Talk is scheduled for April 8 between 6-7 p.m., with an opening night performance to follow.

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