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IntroPar Mathieu Cardin Au temps du mouvement. À une époque où l’information est consommée en temps réel, au moment même où elle est générée et sans discontinu, la notion de vitesse n’est pratiquement plus à considérer. Pour parler de vitesse, il faut se positionner dans le temps à partir d’un moment fixé. Pourtant, il devient de plus en plus difficile de prendre position tellement la quantité d’information à laquelle nous sommes exposés est importante. C’est une dictature du présent engendrée par l’absence d’interruption.
Ces sculptures agissent comme des interfaces permettant les échanges entre différentes idées, images et concepts. Face à l’accélération des transferts d’informations, de l’économie et de l’histoire, les artistes ripostent en créant un son de fond continu plutôt que des cris que personne ne prend le temps d’écouter.
Les nouvelles générations d’artistes ont conscience de cette vitesse et de la perte de valeur d’un discours rigoureux qui nécessite beaucoup d’attention pour être analysé en profondeur. Quand on est confronté tous les jours à des centaines sinon des milliers d’images, il faut capitaliser sur la résistance et la persistance. À travers les travaux des étudiants du cours de sculpture 410, j’ai constaté, chez certains, cette capacité à manipuler la répétition, les objets banals et les petites interventions agilement associées de manière à créer un rythme qui trouve sa profondeur dans ses échos. Beaucoup des travaux observés préconisent une esthétique de rapidité et une imagerie à consommation rapide qui sollicitent instantanément l’intérêt. De nouvelles préoccupations sont aussi perceptibles comme l’élaboration des dispositifs de présentation. L’artiste génère des œuvres qui seront possiblement consommées en galerie, imprimées, mais aussi disponibles de façon virtuelle. Ces préoccupations se manifestent par des mises en scène autant photogéniques qu’efficaces lorsqu’on se retrouve devant l’œuvre.
Bachar b. 1978, Damascus, Syria.
His sculptural work “Two Bodies in Space” alludes to both human and animal incarnation. It is constructed out of organic materials such as wax, cheesecloth and burlap that hang from curved wood and twine. This fragile arrangement evokes the appearance of bodily tissue attached to a bending backbone. The tension aroused by these hampered folds and curves gives off the impression of a structure fraught with the power of gravity. Framed and positioned by an aluminum cube, the pale organismal objects are given their own decontextualized matrix in which to suspend in a frozen waltz.
The subject of touch sits at the forefront of Bachar Bachara’s artistic practice. His training in dentistry and oral surgery has informed the way in which his work approaches the human body. Through imagery or sculptural interventions in space, he aims to create situations that call upon bodily sensations and question social constructs. He perceives the production of art as fueled by the human desire to communicate forces that exceed language. The conceptual underpinnings of his practice are derived from continental philosophy in that he is primarily inspired by a deconstructionist impulse toward the faculties of perception.
Pete b. 1980, Roberval, QC, Canada.
His installation called “Spoonful of Shadows” presents a spatial encipherment dealing with the subject of illusionism and how it has proliferated given the shadowy coalescence of fact and opinion which constitute the unmitigated abundance of information available to us in our current digital age. Inspired by Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, Bouchard’s piece also addresses the ambiguous and illusory nature of interpreting a sculptural representation of ideas. The second work, “Healthy Herbal Anarchy Medicine Show” links Victorian romanticism with today’s renewed sensibility toward the natural world. The viewer is presented with vials holding generic healing liquids reminiscent of the days of snake-oil salesmanship that are sat next to a glass recipe container and a mohawked skull. Via metallic megaphones hung above the showcase of remedies, the piece reaches out directly to the viewer with old-timey piano medleys intercut with pleas and pitches about miracle products, which turn out to be startlingly true. Bouchard spent what he describes as “many bizarre years” with the circus. Evidenced by his work’s strange sense of poetics, its black humor and a marked flare for the dramatic, it is clear that his time away left an undeniable influence on his artistic development. Always very introspective, his work lies in a place where the thoughtful and whimsical meet.
Pete Bouchard’s artistic vision is foregrounded by societal and ecological concerns, which are intertwined with reflections on the tragicomedy of the human condition. His sculptural installations and print media attempt to combine powerful and detailed imagery using an intellectually critical lens. Sources of inspiration at the base of his artistic language include the repeating patterns of history, the wisdom of ancient myths and moralistic philosophy.
Darcy b. 1983, Ottawa, ON, Canada.
#darcy cooke #1983 #ottawa #canada #bfa major in photography #institutional critique #the space between sculpture & photography #playful examinations #superficiality of surface #critical investigations of self-reflexive nature of photography #activity of looking #make conditions of work explicit #painterly approach #”commodity contemplates itself in a world of its own making” #economy of image #subject as object (of desire) #gaze #acquisitive logic of modern consumer society #cultural consumer and commentator #bacchanal #memory #passage of time
Darcy Cooke’s artistic practice is defined by his critical investigation of the medium of photography and its inherently self-reflexive nature. His work often playfully examines the material, processural and hermeneutic relationships that oscillate in between photography and sculpture. Interested in themes that include the passage of time, as well as the superficiality of surface, he approaches photography in a painterly manner.
Marie-Claude b. 1964, Montreal, QC, Canada. The work of Maire-Claude Désilets explores the inner self in a way that seeks to cull a narrative from the viewer’s unique subjective position. Her work also deals with personal authenticity, human decision-making and its individual and collective consequences. Recently, she has been working with environmentally related issues, which raise questions regarding our relation to the earth’s resources, such as water and forestation.
Désilets is a practicing artist living in Montreal. She has participated in multiple group exhibitions. After having completed a comprehensive art program at the Saidye Bronfman School of Fine Arts in Montreal, she is currently enrolled in the Fine Arts program at Concordia University with a major in Sculpture
Her work in this catalog is entitled “Water-Trash Invader”. Its anthropoid form is meant to represent the human threat against the world’s water supply. The trash, which adorns the piece, harkens the importance of acknowledging the danger created by littering our landscapes with waste, as it inevitably ends up in the planet’s rivers and oceans.
Kevyn b. 1990, Sherbrooke, QC, Canada.
La pratique sculpturale de Kevyn Durocher l’amène à manipuler des objets de tous genres choisis pour leurs références, leur histoire ou leurs caractéristiques esthétiques. Avec ceux-ci, il crée des structures improbables s’apparentant à l’architecture. L’attitude que Durocher possède en atelier influence beaucoup son travail et il ’accorde une importance particulière à son instinct. En effet, l’intuition et les erreurs lui permettent de considérer différentes possibilités de construction : précaires ou stables, complexes ou ludiques, minimalistes ou excessives. Durocher considère sa production comme un jeu et tente de trouver des solutions plastiques insoupçonnées afin de susciter une pause, un questionnement ou même la confusion chez le spectateur.
Marie-Lou b. 1974, Montreal, QC, Canada.
“Firing Lines” is an installation piece embodying the omnipresent threats that occupy the spaces we encounter through our everyday travels. Grégoire maps out an example of this phenomenology by extending strings of red yarn from a cluster of hunting posters to its opposing wall. Illustrating the ever-present possibility of violence, these trajectories of danger delineate a range of fire from the mouth of each two-dimensional rifle in a manner referring to ballistics. Her work entitled “Maze” presents a corridor made of hanging translucent fabric, which can be entered from two doorways marked out in red duct tape. Once inside this “space within a space”, the viewer is prompted to question how architectural structures dictate our movements.
Marie-Lou Grégoire’s installations experiment with interactions that occur within spatial structures. By inserting abstract boundaries into barren space, she conjures manipulations capable of challenging viewers’ perceptions and spatial awareness. Her pervasive interest in existentialism has led her to recognize the ability of art to cultivate mindfulness toward a moment in time. Her work dives into the human psyche by exploring theories of perception, notions of subjectivity and transpersonal psychology.
Marie-ève b. 1990, Greenfield Park, QC, Canada.
Marie-Ève Joseph s’intéresse au domicile et au rapport qu’elle entretient avec ce dernier. Son travail vise à documenter le quotidien casanier de son alter ego, la Femme à marier. Ce personnage est une extension de sa personne, parfois authentique, parfois fausse. Par son intermédiaire, Joseph théorise, conceptualise et professionnalise le métier de ménagère de la manière la plus méticuleuse et excessive qui soit. Sa production tend à transformer le conventionnel en exceptionnel. Il s’agit d’une ode rigoureuse à la perfection, d’une histoire d’amour avec l’organisation. L’alter ego dont Joseph dispose voue un réel culte, une dévotion profonde au logis. Sa pratique est avant tout basée sur le texte, sous ses formes écrite et orale.
Maria I. Kapovska began her practice as an artist through painting and drawing. Now working mainly in installation, sculpture and photography, she operates within a primarily minimal aesthetic. Eager to explore new possibilities, however, she has recently begun to branch out into sound and video. Her conceptual preoccupations tend to lean toward the apocalyptic and the cosmic sublime. Kapovska’s work always places an importance on materiality, process and visceral engagement. In the viewer, her work aims to provoke questions about corporeality, universality and mortality. Her sculptural works proffer a conceptual approach in representing objects existing in post-apocalyptic landscape left behind by a nuclear catastrophe. Kapovska’s works are totems to the capacity of radiation to transform that through which it passes in a way that is undetectable by any of the human senses. The ash is the resulting material that remains from this transition from life to death undergone by both man-made objects and architecture, as well as the bodies that disappear. Her photographic series is an experimental endeavor in the observation and documentation of the ways in which radiation manifests itself. She gathered digital images which were individually subjected to the same phases of processing. After being projected onto a wall, they were photographed with a 35mm camera and developed. She chose to avoid perfecting the negatives before scanning them to imbue the final images with the feel of isotopic instability due to gamma ray exposure. The static but subliminal imagery is immersed in the omnipresent sound of a Geiger counter, which references the impalpability of radiation. The desired effect of the experience of this series is a physical/visceral response or even repulsion that relates directly to one’s own corporeal understanding.
b. 1989, Simferopol, Ukraine.
Le procédé artistique est un rituel qu’Alexia LafertéCoutu documente continuellement, ce qui lui permet de décortiquer certains phénomènes de la perception ainsi que certaines structures du comportement humain. L’action et la performance lui permettent de mettre en scène des éléments de l’environnement, en générant entre ceux-ci une interaction directe et physique: c’est une pièce de théâtre ayant pour acteurs principaux les objets et la matière. Le dessin permet à Laferté-Coutu, quant à lui, d’enregistrer des déplacements collectifs ou individuels, des mouvements reliés au langage corporel et verbal, puis des mouvements naissant d’interactions entre l’objet/l’environnement et l’individu. Elle décèle ensuite, à travers la structure des traces, un lien fort avec la structure de l’environnement, qui révèle notamment des déplacements physiques régulés, linéaires et répétitifs en milieu urbain, puis des déplacements sinueux, non-régulés, et désordonnés en milieu naturel. En sculpture, Laferté-Coutu explore les liens entre le résidu physique, la mémoire et l’expérience à travers les caractéristiques physiques des matériaux, ainsi qu’à travers l’abstraction formelle. Cette abstraction naît d’un processus de régulation de la matière, par lequel elle impose une structure géométrique aux matériaux, qui interagiront strictement à l’intérieur de cette forme. Dans l’installation Le Pare-Avant, les fragments de la composition sculpturale peuvent être assemblés, archivés ou reproduits, tandis que d’autres fragments peuvent meme s’immiscer parmi les précédents. Ils demeurent toutefois des vestiges; des traces anachroniques ou abjectes. Ce sont les ruines de vécus retentissants ou banals, qui offrent la possibilité de lier, de construire et de déconstruire les traces palpables de la mémoire à travers les objets, tout en évoquant une recherche cyclique de la définition de l’identité.
b. 1990, Montreal, QC, Canada.
Nicole b. 1991, Dundas, ON, Canada.
Nicole Levaqueâ€™s interest in installation lies in the tension between surface and form. She highlights the plasticity of object-meaning by decentralizing material hierarchies through subversion and juxtaposition. These relationships are in constant flux through her use of painting, ceramics and sculpture, whose inherent processes, functions and associations are disarranged to compose interventionist tableaux in space. The process of making becomes a series of systems in which mimicry is the common source between materiality. The aesthetic of these configurations of objects is influenced by urban environments, constructivism and residential renovations.
Leigh b. 1991, Toronto, ON, Canada.
The present video works of hers attempt to address social misperceptions of female sexuality reproduced by the media. She explores the objectification and hyper-sexualization of women through figuration, silhouettes and absence. Her work attempts to accost traditional roles of dominance and submission while examining spectatorship, voyeurism, and the scopophilic gaze. Themes of identity, sexuality, vulnerability and nakedness are examined through ‘staining’ and ‘cleansing’ rituaals. With a commitment to the body, her work concentrates on form, pattern, reproduction and distortion. Originally from the suburbs of Toronto, Macrae is now a Montreal-based artist finishing her undergraduate studies at Concordia University. Macrae is actively involved in a drawing initiative called the Hivemind Collective. The group has displayed two large-scale drawing installations entitled “Mass Elastic” and “Plans for a Simultaneous Planetoid”.
Leigh Macrae’s practice has come to exist within the emerging paradigm of inter-media art. Throughout her undergraduate studies, she became increasingly engaged in spatial drawing, installation, performance and video art. Using video technology, she infuses images, sounds, and ideas in a way that puts forth a dynamic and connected world, saturated with meaning. Hybrid relationships are forged between media and genres, as they break free from the constraints of individual disciplines. Video enables the overlapping of mediums and offers multiple paths to and from the audience. Her desire to redefine the boundaries of artistic expression is manifested through her collaborations and interactions that stretch beyond conventional strategies, aesthetics, and audiences.
Allison E. b. 1988, Kingston, ON, Canada. Majoring in Art History at Concordia University, Allison E. Smith actively investigates (art) historical sources, scientific facts and/or geometric models throughout her sculptural process. Her practice with woodwork, metalwork, leatherwork, and textiles results in physical objects that are meticulously constructed. It is through the conceptual notions that define these materials, and the labour demanded in their creation, that her sculptures investigate, and blur, the distinction between trade, design, and â€œworkâ€? of art.
After graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts, Smith will pursue a deeper investigation of craftsmanship through a fine furniture-making program in the Fall of 2013.
Simon Rafael b. 1989, Toronto, ON, Canada.
Simon Rafael Zaborski was born in Toronto and has been living, working and exhibiting in Montreal for five years. His sculptural work is an amalgam of symbols and experiments that use a wide variety of materials illustrating obscure imaginings of past, present and future cultures. These sculptures are presented as semi-theatrical scenes where each work informs the last, creating a continuum of meaning.
The following discussion was inspired by a comment made by Nicole Levaque at the outset of our class; it concerned “things that make space happen.” My response to this is: how do things make space happen? We can qualify our present circumstance if we look to the way in which sculpture has “behaved” in the recent past. Particularly if we consider the distinction between abstract formalism and minimalism, each produce distinct behaviors in viewing postures. To consider how the viewer performs gives a clue as to how sculpture initiates this encounter between subject and audience artwork. In speaking about spatial prepositions, we can ground the current experience in the studio in its relation to the audience. For example, the sculpture Midday (1960) by Anthony Caro relies principally on the action of moving around the work in a circular motion; a duration in time as a strategic function to both its composition and reception. By comparison, Donald Judd’s installation, Mill Aluminum works (1980-1984) in Marfa, Texas, gives an experience of each element in the series, comprised of a 100 units. This prompts the awareness that we are immediately against, beside or in-between the individual components in its space, standing over or occasionally even on the work, as in Carl Andre’s sculpture. In these works, we are most certainly complicit within the self-same space of the objects. The viewer is not simply positioned in front of an object and immersed within a perceptual experience, but is also absorbed into a physical exchange while interacting with the work, displacing one’s space. To draw on this distinction, we can focus on how exchange/ interaction functions to frame this new idea of installation sculpture. The challenge here, is one pointed on the viewer’s place in the work as much a body, as a subject and observer. Out of this interaction, we are able to identify “important questions about the current position of the artist, material culture, exhibition practices and the role of the audience in Installation.” There is something here to do with a “shift from objective critique towards a new subjectivity, which emphasizes uncertainty and brings both artist and viewer together in a discursive environment.” Sculpture, from my perspective, is material moved through mind; a characteristic that is felt by an object being in the world while originating from the world, something to hold in the hand or reflect in the mind, a dialectic that binds material to the idea of sculpture.
Spatial Prepositions: Allegorical Shadows in New Sculpture By Trevor Gould
Summary By analogy, the sculpture of Katarzyna Kobro on exhibition in the Neo-plastic Room , pin-points something about this exchange between subject and object that I am trying to communicate. Divided in planes of primary colour, the Neo-plastic Room as an architectural intervention is immersive and able to mold, compress and expand the space. In sculpture, Kobro similarly orders elements in open relationships to coexist with space at the same time, capable of both penetrating and absorbing space into itself. Looking at Kobro’s sculpture Spatial Composition No. 4, my sense of this spatial ensemble is to comprehend a model of a space, while at the same time being inside the physical extension of that idea. The virtual impossibility of being both inside while outside at the same time, is what resonates distinct as a subjective response. As the fields of colour open and close in the Neo Plastic Room, so do sensations of the walls, floor and ceiling, in that they mirror the exact template found in Spatial Composition No 4. Mathieu Cardin’s installations can literally be our model for this self-same sensation of space that he too creates in his organization of material and images. 0.59
With the intention to push the boundaries of sense and coherence, a sensation I experience here in these works establishes relationships that connect in disparate ways and disrupt coherent patterns of formal compositions. This experience of feeling uncertain, as though everything might be out of place, is an affect of this new work. We find this affect enacted in the installations and sculptures of Pete Bouchard, Nicole Levaque, Simon Raphael Zaborski, Marie-Lou Grégoire, Bachar Bachara, and Kevyn Durocher. In this mix, there is also a strong push to play on representation through narrative by re-enacting conditions stimulated by anxiety, intimacy and pathos in social roles. These are found in domestic caricatures, or even confrontations with taboos; namely, age and sexuality – as these transgress private and public boundaries and intersect through the body as a site of interrogation. In their performances, Marie-Éve Joseph, Leigh Macrae and Alexia Laferté-Coutu seem to reflect these interests. To this we can add work by Marie-Claude Désilets with something of a ‘Frankenstine complex’; sculpture that looks to behave like a human being communicating its ‘other worldliness’ in its failure to measure up to our image. Mixing materials and finishes, creating simulations and adornments, as well as breathing life into inanimate objects represent further sets of issues which predominate in the material vocabulary of this new sculpture that we find in the works of Allison E. Smith, Darcy Cooke and Maria I. Kapovska.
Needless to say, these observations are made in recognition of the overlap between individual works. These categories are not closed, in any manner of speaking. Highlights or accents merely point to a dominant mode of expression or reaction to the work which facilitate differences within the studio. This focus provides the grouping for the sections that follow. What is clear in these works is a shared worldview that poses a firm challenge to social, political and environmental injustice in the face of cultural and global homogeneity and social determinants, with a stern warning regarding future predictions and outcomes common to all. The Work: Exchange Interaction The Body as Audience In this grouping, we can see how the viewer takes up a position in the work and how the material functions as a catalyst for collaborative discourse between artist and audience. Nicole Levaque’s work is exemplary in her open-ended process, where she continually re-cycles material from one work to another, rolling over old experience into new contexts. Her work is also noted for its sprawl of material as the work assumes control of the space. Basil Miami (2012) and Thinking Baroque (2013) are two installations open to both spatial variations and interpretations that rarely have a focal point, except that which is taken up by the viewer who is immersed in the work and engaging within its discourse. Thinking Baroque is arranged rather like stations; clusters of material a little like islands for ordering and sequencing materials. Despite the fact that her
We have seen the body consumed, reproduced, morphed and placed in various contexts while reminded of Anthony Synnotte’s sense of the intense intimacy of smell; the act of inhaling the emanations of the other, an intimate exchange between the private and public domain. “The sense of who one is, is highly dependent on the body.” As a site of interrogation within the work, a sense of self is not fixed in any way, but is continually open to negotiation, interpretation and critique. There has been a serious exchange on these topics in the studio, determining the nature of this body and pushing the discussion into future realms which question the social significance of human contents and identities. In this way, we can look to the body, its presence, participation and representation as the means with which to encounter these works in the studio.
work is full of sculptural references to history and her own process, her discourse is not about continuity, but loops back onto itself. This lack of a sequence becomes a sign for this installation’s simultaneous independence and relation to audience and interaction. There is an element connected to every aspect of the space – the ceiling, the walls and floor. In a manner resembling a Karaoke prompt, the eye bounces from element to element as the viewer is led back and forth across the space, connecting all the dots. On one end, fauxgranite finishes stand in for steps and are plastered to the opposite wall, taking the place of tiles. This kind of mirroring of finishes and materials continues into the smallest detail. Plaster items reproduced in any number of finishes form a kind of leitmotif in the middle of the space, like an index for the work. We see and feel a dizzying array of surfaces miming each other in their claim for authenticity. Always alert to placement, she says: “My interest in the tension between surface and form is emphasized through material hierarchies that juxtapose one another, elements that continually shape the viewers’ experience […] in which mimicry is the common source between materiality” . The title, Thinking Baroque is particularly telling in that it represents a neo-baroque attitude by expanding beyond the frame, while employing surfaces that play on decoration and pattern. This is complex, challenging work and, like slow-cooking, is deliberate in yielding its parts for new contemplation and positions. This is clearly evident in Simon Raphael Zaborski’s installation, Future Altar (2) (2012) which is also comprised of small “islands” of material, that we see as well in “The Fountainhead” (To be a man of steel one must first wear tights) (2013). These are groupings of material set in an open narrative that rely on a free association between objects, loosely linking them through form to connect with their meaning and coherence as an experience. With its moniker “To be a man of steel one must first wear tights”, his work, “The Fountainhead”, is a wonderful parody of power. With the finesse of an R. Crumb illustration, this work unfolds in a sequence that culminates in a punch-line as a shadow projection on the wall. There are three crucial elements in the work; a cat, an apartment building and the shadow of superman. This ornamental cat stands on wooden stilts in plaster embedded into combat boots giving it a wonderful loopy gait, immediately drawing us into its alter ego, Fritz the Cat “truckin’ on down the line.” By no means is this incidental to the work, as this skillful use of imagery gives it an elegance that shines through some of its rough finish. The cat’s left oversized arm extends out to mimic a fascist salute. A luminous plastic chain dangles from its paw which anchors a model of an apartment house
that projects a shadow of Superman out of one of its windows. This stand-up shadow captures Nietzsche’s concept of the Übermensch, bringing us to the core of the work. Played out with ample skill and significance, this parody runs deep with somber reflection. A similar cautionary tale is repeated in Future Alter (2) (2012), wherein an altar – a site for ceremonies and communion – is erected for the future, warning us of an impending peril. As Zaborski notes, the work contains “a simple visual narrative that might suggest looking upon absurd cultural archeology.” Pushing in the opposite direction of any aesthetic sensibility, his finishes often provoke an aversion. His works are coated in enamel paint or presented with plaster splatters left on them and so on. This aesthetic ploy of his causes any form of complacency or familiarity with the work to be overwhelmed by this visual surplus. There is nothing to like, in any conventional sense and yet, there is an abundance of thought to animate the mind. This is the intent of the work as Zaborski confers on his use of materials: “The agency to more clearly illustrate the relationship between thought, object and symbol.” We now know the thought, as well as the critical intent. “When working on these pieces” he says, “I would imagine the future devoid of knowledge, people only able to think with general symbols and materials that in the past functioned and had meaning.” Leaping ahead in time, Zaborski conjures up a fictional space where the value of exchange between objects fails, and “now only retain the imbued cultural reverence of ‘standing for something’ [that might] contain a simple visual narrative and suggest looking upon absurd cultural archeology.” In this reflexivity lies the distinctiveness of his work. In a related manner, Pete Bouchard’s installations are equally challenging in their material composition. Delicately poised in Spoonful of Shadows (2013), several components are spread out in the space, connected only by black electric cable that is also the source of illumination in the work. To offset this ensemble, aluminum foil on the floor and wall follow the contours of shadows projected by the installation’s light source. This is all to comment on the nature of reality; shadows reflect rather than project the outlines of objects as if each reflection takes you to the next – never-ending and infinite like a hall of mirrors. In reaction to the allegory of Plato’s cave, he turns this on its head since what is taken to be fact within the work is not even an illusion, but a facsimile of a world reproduced by the artist; hence the double play of the shadow in the title duplicating its host’s image. The idea that one might scoop up a spoonful of shadows is akin to dancing on the head of a pin; a kind
Summary of attitude marked by a tendency, to doubt what others accept to be true. Bouchard employs a kind of cynical reasoning where he notes, “the installation is, in fact, set within one of those (skeptical) souls,” where true knowledge is not possible. “On another level,” he adds, “the piece also relates parts of the allegory to the sculptural practice’s concerns with materiality, effects and space.” His work brings us back to the corporeal present; standing amongst shapes and forms of the installation, we oddly contemplate our own displacement in the world. Solid Spaces
We see works such as “Shoes Mayketh Man” (2012) and The Golden Rectangle (2012), a common thread that clearly exposes the body as a template, by way of its natural collusion with her objects. The argument that she puts forward is, of course, the role proportion, symmetry and harmony play in forming ideas about the spaces we create around us. Imparted by the ancient Greeks, these conceptions form an order which Smith finds to be a challenge in her everyday world. Her work entitled Cuboctahedron (2012) is a skillfully-made object in Birch wood, consisting of connected geometrical shapes and surfaces. Playing off of the Euclidean notion of ‘solid geometry’, this work entirely breaks open the mould which seemed to have shaped her ideas. We are afforded an existential view into her work, by way of the fact that this foremost idea is that by which imperfection is measured. Although it may sound a little like a prescription for sculpture, objects are never benign in their meanings, since they too alter their significance through
Solid space, conjures up a more autonomous presence or conviction in the work which occupies a distinctive place in space. The evolution of Allison E. Smith’s process now engages in an open exchange between material and idea. Instinctively interacting and collaborating in tandem, she has launched her work into new realms of presentation and experience. For example, “Shoes Makyth Man” (2012), presents us with a perfectly-made, beautifully hand-crafted pair of leather shoes for contemplation. For this work, Smith enrolled as a shoemaker’s apprentice to learn the craft of shoemaking. In its significance as a pair of men’s black leather dress shoes, the irony in the craft is revealed in the title once we know the author is the artist and understand how this symmetry has been turned around. As we do not know the size of the shoe, perhaps this is an inversion of the Cinderella complex; we have yet to see if (and who) the shoe fits.
Maria I. Kapovska’s work is like the magician’s slight of hand which possesses the means to create appearances whose first impression quickly evaporates into illusions of completely different apparitions. Her sculptures, often of pared down geometry, stretch these sensibilities. For example, Untitled (Steel and Ash) (2012) a metal frame structure is dusted in barely-visible ash and scattered around the floor as if, in place far too long, the sculpture loads up on notions of origins in this accumulated dust — something to do with a forge and a trial by fire, the birthplace of metal. Is this a cycle of life? In this geometry, does the material confer the significance of something being mourned, an expressed loss, such as death? Is this what is signified by three empty chairs, the trinity, with their feet in cement? Untitled (Three Chairs) (2013) is comprised of simple, raw building material with little aesthetic appeal. Three identical upright wooden chairs stand in a row, all encased in a single slab of cement in a manner similar to a pedestal, but a little more ominous in implication. These elements are infused with a unique dose of meaning and are, in fact, traces or shadows of an apparition; the absent body that elevates the material and the sculpture with it, in spirit – a little like how I imagine a real electric chair to be. Opening up a door to a sixth sense, Kapovska takes us to the perimeters of perception. to another dimension or life-force; tangible in material, yet immaterial in being. Sculpture is a curious medium to explore this probability of spirit. Again, as we see often repeated in the studio, the understated simplicity of material actually vibrates in the mind and not in the heart.
interpretation and critique. The title, Cuboctahedron, simply names its shape and suggests nothing more than the pertinence of the play of symmetry in the contrasting forms which unite the work, giving the work an edge in its placement and materialization. However, this exchange between thought and material reveals a process that is highly crafted. Smith says: “Functioning within a sphere where the midpoint is always design; my body of work [is a concern] with the clash between a work of art and trade.” What she is alluding to, I believe, is precisely the ground broken between ideas and material; how this potential collaboration ultimately translates meaningfully into the world. This is an age-old confrontation revived here for the purpose of placing craft ahead of mediation, first-order experience ahead of a tertiary or virtual exchange between the viewer and her objects, artist and audience. Her desire to feel the perfection of pure intention is Smith’s personal pursuit.
Kevyn Durocher’s works are indeed the clearest manifestation of sculpture in the pure sense of the word; works that, in themselves, encapsulate the idea of sculpture by reflecting on the subject as the content of the work. This is not self-reflexive, but rather an involvement between the language of sculpture and the greater purpose of locating his place in the present. This is achieved through the multiple layers of significance and the references Durocher employs in the use of his material. Choosing objects from the thrift shop, reproductions of famous sculptures, plaster Putti’s, decorative garden ornaments and inflatable toys; these are all fair game for their commentary on culture and, in particular, their rapport with sculptural issues. Willy sur une plage verticale (2012) is an example of this. Naming the oddly shaped plaster form Willy, looking like an inflated toy, Durocher actually anthropomorphizes abstraction. Yet in other works, he skips this step altogether and inserts models as living sculptures, directly in relation to elements such that the living form as a dynamic addition to a space already charged with intent and purpose. His comprehensive installation, Sculpture humaine 1.1 (2012) is a case in point. Defining the space at the centre of this work is a figure clad head to toe in black skin-tight stretch fabric, posing in high-heels on a small platform inside a complex scaffold wooden structure, held together by C clamps. There is an obvious, classic twist to the legs in their pose. Yet, with drooping shoulders and head, the model seems to buckle under invisible pressure, which adds tension to an already dynamic encounter. How long is the pose? What is the duration of the work? A red jerry can on the floor is one of three focal points; another of which looks like black fabric represents something like a liquid shadow of the figure in the work. The figure, the shadow, an allegory – is this a reverse of the Pygmalion myth? We actually interact with a living presence in the work, where this exchange and interaction is complete and finite. A feature of Durocher’s work is that out of each installation and sculpture, he is able to take components or details, singularly or in groups, and recycle them into new configurations; a practice which constantly evolves new experiences. I am uncertain about this phenomena as it is certainly a curious and, by no means, a singular reaction to sculpture in the studio.
The elegance of Darcy Cooke’s ideas is exemplified by his formal concerns in how he merges the virtual and the real and explores photography using space. A work such as One Up One Down (2012) is composed of two large-format photographs, one of which documents a studio set-up of a still life with a champagne bottle sprouting pink roses on a green bistro-like table. This image is paired with another depicting two suspended shirts just touching the floor; fresh from the laundry in their plastic sleeve, they hang on a brass coat hook. Each vignette has its own appeal – an open narrative of a time well-spent. A related work of a simple neon sign in script confirms this interpretation that reads “After Party.” This is either a sign for the place of this gathering or a declaration of its passing — where the hangover begins. In its reference and designation of a space, we understand from the above works that they embrace space and time. One Up One Down reproduced in 1:1 scale and documented in its actual location in space also pushes this sense further. On their passage into the gallery, these photographs, like the neon sign, operate as a kind of prop. The tension in the work on exhibit lies expressly in this dual register between space and place, with these photos mounted precisely at the same point of view in the gallery as depicted in the photo. We witness a kind of transposition between studio space and gallery, particularly since in, the gallery, the image of the framed white shirt sitting on the floor and propped against the wall imitates its own image in the photograph. Flush with the baseboard of the gallery, this image seamlessly brings into line the floor and wall in the photograph with that of the exhibition space, save for the difference in location. When viewing this work, we experience space folding in on itself and sense that somehow different places bond together over time, laminating the viewer in-between two contexts in a dynamic response to the work’s spatial reach. Some of this same sensibility is conveyed in the new work of enlarged 6’ tall book spines propped against the wall. We understand from these oversized images that there is a direct spatial relationship again between floor and wall. A support placed at each end of the rows of books, holding them upright, reproduces bookends for the piece in an L-shape. His work sits on this tension in architectural space, collaborating with the flat photographic virtual surface projected into space. Bachar Bachara straddles between object and installation in his new work and also reaches out into space in such a way as to bond with the architectural structure as a meaning-bearing element. Either as a frame or as bisecting angles of slim lengths of extruded aluminum
Up Against the Wall
Back to the Wall Artists who share a common bond by confronting their limits, frustrations, anxieties and intimacy, reveal their hand as they take a stand against social and cultural conditions; sometimes toward oppression and others simply as reactions to personal events. Leigh Macrae reacts forcefully to her anxieties, anger and frustrations; an effect of social pressures impacting on sexuality, gender and identity. Working from a diverse platform, she embraces installation, video and performance for the widest possible latitude to confront traditional roles of domination; specifically, “spectatorship, voyeurism and the scopophilic gaze” of the body. Typically sexuality and identity zigzag through her work in a commitment “to form, pattern, reproduction, [and] distortion”, which appear as formal tropes in her work. In her performances Without Sight (2011) and Silent Paradox (2012),
suspended by ties, these lines in space create a space-frame or mesh of some description that in one way or another becomes a spatial web, encapsulating his bodies that trapped by their waxy, organic forms. Being open enough to seduce and entangle the viewer by arousing the sensation of living flesh, his wax forms are “made to allude to the body (human-animal),” as Bachara explains, “without explicitly representing, nor creating a narrative figure.” Is it that we project ourselves into these works through their semi-transparent presence? In previous works, by way of his interest in the brain and the network of the spinal cord, Bachara sought a link between ideation and materialization as an allegory for thought. The spatial reach of his new work Study of Body in Space (2012) and Two Bodies in Space (2013) are both in reaction to the architecture while animating the space within. In the former, materials such as cheesecloth, burlap and coloured wax reproduce this sensation of flesh and, by extension, a body when suspended in an aluminum frame, which creates a room within a room. We need to qualify that flesh here is neither maudlin nor macabre. Elegant in conception and forceful in its presence, this delicate balance is well-maintained in the subtle grace of elements which are dispersed like drawing in space. His interest in mind and body is carried through in his imagery to where we feel that standing in front of this recent work is much like an encounter with a ‘thought-model,’ a concretization of thought. Although touch he says “is the primary question in (his) relation to art,” it is nevertheless “through images or sculptural interventions in space,” he claims, “that evoke bodily sensation, and question social constructions.”
both from her Back Series, the artist pours black ink over her body “tainting of the body is succeeded with the desperate attempt to cleanse the dye from the flesh. The piece confronts the consequences of destructive actions and the inability to ever fully cleanse ourselves of the perceptions we create for ourselves.” Opening the viewer up to her own vulnerability, Macrae plays on the double-edge of desire as a “scopophilic blade” cutting through perception, exposing both the artist’s vulnerability and the indeterminate reception (or gaze) of the viewer. In the same vein, the video performance Hysteria (2013) situates the viewer in a voyeuristic position. I would see the viewer as witness to the artist’s expression of exaggerated emotional outbursts. She describes it as: “Sudden fits of sadness turn to explosive temper tantrums to unpredictable eruptions of laughter, illustrating the sensitivity and fragility of the female disposition.” It is the space separating these actions from the viewer that is really the focus of this work. Here she maintains an outsider position for the viewer. In Silent Paradox, for example, the viewer is caught in the duplicity of the gaze. This tension is what she plays with and, in the photographs and video, it is able to deflect the dynamic outwards so that audience and artist, in fact, become the medium of exchange with the work as a background foil. Significantly, as expressed in her statement, Macrae seeks to stretch the common boundaries of artistic expression through collaboration, interaction and the redefinition of strategies toward aesthetics and audiences. Equally fluent with autonomous objects as she is with animating actions, the work of Alexia Laferté-Coutu embodies this idea of social construction as well. In her action Untitled (2013), chopping meat off of beef ribs and cutting up daisies in a setting that includes a door packed with a fresh layer of snow on the floor, we experience in time these constructs in action. A distinct solemness dominates her works both in performances and installations. Laferté-Coutu uses architectural elements such as old window frames and doors in a way which transforms them into platforms for thought. The door on the floor containing fresh snow is a “field” central to the action happening around it. The slices of raw meat placed on fresh snow insulate her bare feet against the cold while walking over its surface, signifying transformation as a passage in time and a cycle of seasons. Symbolically this is her attempt to insulate herself from the past. Biographically, this is a story about the fallibility of life, tainted or pure. It is dramatic in its contrast of bloody meat and snow. Three window frames upright on the floor in Dans la solitude, je meurs un peu, aussi (2012) each have two panes cast
Summary in a film of plaster-soaked fabric and divide the space, separating out three blocks of plaster embedded with fabric on the floor. As in her performance, her material is in collusion with memory and an expression of isolation. Loneliness is related metaphorically to death in the title; a melancholy solitude to be precise. With the knowledge that the materials used were the remnants of a family home consumed by fire, we comprehend the chain-reaction that sets these works in motion. We can look to her performances and installations as united in their common enterprise either exorcising or commemorating the past as possible outcome. Nevertheless, this rupture in personal history is indeed a vital force communicated in Laferté-Coutu’s work. With it goes everything by which we measure time, stake out our relationships and covet things that help to keep us bound – in time, to the intimacy of the past, if not to life itself.
Marie-Éve Joseph’s ideas take place in residential spaces, bedrooms, Boudoirs, utility spaces, kitchens, attics, closets and the private space of toilets. This is the environment of her alter ego – the ubiquitous, suburban housewife. Les mathématiques journalières (2013) is a culmination of an ongoing series of works that deal with this subject by focusing on the obsession of order and perfection in this fictitious scenario of daily household routine. Joseph says “I analyze and deconstruct a day in various phases in the most detailed and obsessive way.” We see in her performances and photographs that this role is paired with household objects and products, cleaning agents with furniture. We recognize the collusion in this image of domesticity, played to perfection in the repetition of daily chores as a distinct cultural construct. Delegated to woman, it is this doubleedge of consumption; the product with the social role that binds Joseph’s critique to identity and gender. Supported by reams of documentation, details of repetitive chores, timelines of events and narratives about etiquette reveal and underscore the regimentation stifling individuality and imagination, which I would say is the core of her enterprise. These documents in folders on shelves are combined often with ‘self-portraits’ she says. These are photographs of the artist “in character” or ones which take place in real-time performances as a persona she calls “La femme à marier.” Time regiments a day in the life and, as such, clocks curiously set at different times are visual elements in the work. A subtlety that binds the viewer to the work, one logs the actual time of the beginning of the work and the other tunes us into the real time of day. In a neoconceptual way, her space is produced as a content of social and cultural history. To be more precise, as much a critique as it is a
Marie-Claude Désilets’ monstrous figures parody environmental issues. Water-Human Trash Invader (2013), an over-sized figure composed from various rubbish meant to communicate an ecological sensitivity, has an affinity with action figures; hybrid, android-like impersonations which fill children’s imaginations. Conjuring up Hollywood clichés, towering perilously over the viewer, the work appears to be hazardous to our well-being – not that we need reminding of the ever-present threat of global degradation. The second work, Human Trash (2013), is symbiotically attached to the former in that Désilets sees its existence as the result of supplying sustenance (water) for the other. Again, we see tan ambivalence as the title refers to humans as producer and product. Human Trash is made out of distorted clear plastic bottles which have been melted and glued together into a transparent, glutinous-like body. In tandem, the two works parody this cycle of consumption where sustenance for one, produces the detritus for the other. Actually, her commentary questions the fiction of this supposed cycle of reclamation, which, as we now know, is a toxic end-game; entropy at a dead-end, out of sight, out of mind and with disastrous effects on the open ocean, for example. This stuff does not simply go away. This is the import of her work. “I have been working more and more on environmentally-related issues,” she notes “raising questions about choices made with regards to the world resources, questioning our behaviors, as they affect our future and our world’s future.” Désilets’ sculpture seeks to inspire reflection and positive action on one hand or is a fatalistic remnant acknowledging the failure in human folly on the other. Degrading or respectful, her scornful intent is clear and depends entirely on one’s point of view. Marie-Lou Grégoire aims to destabilize certainty by means of experimentation, creating for the viewer unique sensations with which to come into contact. Translated literally, Grégoire uses interventions more as structures for observation and to proffer encounters with communities and publics. This explains the diversity in her work, as each installation keys into something specific for the viewer to encounter. The baton of the artwork or object, so to speak, is passed on to the audience in the “creation” of the piece. This has been explored in a range of interventions that all involve the viewer, in different degrees, to be animated as a group commentary by the participating audience. Maze (2012)
form of cultural analysis, the space she creates is a document of an artifact of social behavior.
Summary and Firing Line (2013) are such works. From a sheer fabric passage, to red wool stretched in a space, they confront predictable attitudes. The process and expectation attached to Maze are fairly evident and yet, in its apparent ephemerality and transparency, there exists an elegance in contrast to the solid space around it. Firing Line, with red wool stretched from end to end in parallel lines, is less so. Attached at one end to a row of several stencil images of hunters on the wall, the wool comes to an end at the opposite wall dangling to the ground. The immediate associations between the firearms, lines of fire and dripping blood is clear â€“ the ammunition, in this case, is not. It is meant to be reflexive, aimed towards itself; a common form of violence in the misappropriation of firearms. Her effort to destabilize certainty comes also with the experience she creates for interaction. In this case, the vulnerability of delicate, stretched wool puts the position of the viewer on alert. Carried over into the interpretation of the work, ambiguity is her challenge. This work undoubtedly destabilizes certain ground with the consequence being that ambiguity is a tremor felt almost throughout all the work in the studio and has become a motif for the oft-repeated disruption seen between audience and artwork.
If in the contemporary sculptural tradition of previous generations had a more solid sense of history with clear boundaries of influences and reactions expressed through refining material and form, this emerging generation would find such a scenario intractable. Part of this can be explained through the analyses of these works outside of historical influences; a character that expresses what I will call an allegorical attitude sculpture casting its own shadow, independent of towering tradition. An allegory is typically a visual image with a distinct meaning partially hidden behind its literal or visible signification. What we see in this work, time and time again, are objects that appear as one thing, only to spin out in another direction altogether. Yet, in this double sense of connotation in the shadow of allegory, lies a persistent challenge expressed through unlikely terms like collision, difference, clash, uneven, uncanny, paradoxes; all seem to point to our current conditions of a disturbed or uneven cultural and social space. Confronting our sense of coherence, history is but one small part in this divisive landscape, squashed between media culture, capital, consumption and an increased fragmentation
The Gaps In-between
under the veil of global communication paradoxically in eversmaller communities. In an effort to summarize this, we return to the beginning. The idea of Baroque is quite apt in this context as new attitudes are being formed. Characterizing this new sculpture, reflexive, spectacle, immersive and serial are spatial dimensions of the concept “neo-baroque”, which is also expressed by material, either beyond the norm or in excess of the norm. In comparison with late Modernism, for instance, the neo-baroque presents us with a “display of loss of entirety, totality, and system in favor of instability, polydimensionability, and change.” To embrace theatricality and the spectacle of mise-en-scene, is an expression of this “Baroque logic”. This therefore positions us to formulate and search for conclusions for future actions and outcomes. We can make anything we want, yet not everything we make will be sculpture. What we experience in this gap existing between then and now is a lateral trajectory breaking new terrain yet to be deciphered, part of which your challenge is to make public new sign posts showing the way for future collaborations – new ways of thinking while making new things. This will be the pleasure of seeing your ideas in material turn to significant statements in the world.
Index Bachar Bachara
Study for Body in Space Wax, wood, aluminum, twine, burlap and plexiglass 8’ x 8’ x 8’ 2012
Water-Trash Invader Wood armature and trash (mixed materials) 8’ x 3’ x 3’ 2013
Two Bodies in Space Wax, wood, aluminum, twine, burlap and cheesecloth 8’ x 4’ x 8’ 2013
Kevyn Durocher Willy sur une plage verticale Bois, platre et laine 5’ x 4’ x 3’ 2011
Healthy Herbal Anarchy Medicine Show Pine, banisters, faux-suede, pleather, buttons, glass jars, herbal tinctures, crystal skull, packing tape, aluminum flashing, digital prints and sound component 70” x 40” x 18” 2013 Healthy Herbal Anarchy Medicine Show (Detail) Darcy Cooke Afterparty Neon sign mounted on Plexiglas 12” x 42” 2011
Untitled (Installation) Bois, tissu, humain (model), objets et serres 25’ x 15’ x 8’ 2012 Casse-tête 10 morceaux, pour tout êge 15’ x 6’ 2012 Marie-Lou Grégoire Firing Lines Canvas, acrylic and yarn Dimensions variable 2013 Maze Fabric, thread and duck tape 12’ x 4’ x 12’ 2011 Marie-ève Joseph
Untitled (Still life with Krug and White Roses) Ink-jet print and walnut frame 30” x 40” 2012
Monologue 01 : la vaisselle (Performance) 2012 Les mathématiques journalières (Installation) 2013
Untitled (Dry-Cleaned Shirts in Studio) Ink-jet print and walnut frame 43.5” x 57” 2012
Spoonful of Shadows Aluminum, sheer fabric, cable, plastic flowers, spray paint, wood, 3/8 steel rod and Plexiglas Dimensions variable 2013
Index Maria I. Kapovska
Untitled (Nuclear Radiation Series) 11 inkjet prints and sound component 26” x 40” 2012
Without Sight (Back Series) (Video still) India ink 2011
Untitled Steel and ash Dimensions variable 2012
Silent Paradox (Back Series) (Video still) India ink, rubbing alcohol and plastic tarp 2012
Untitled (Chairs) Wood and cement Dimensions variable 2012
Hysteria (Video still) 2013 Allison E. Smith
Alexia Laferté-Coutu Feeling White (Performance : 7 minutes) Viande rouge, marguerites, neige, canevas toilé, planche de bois, porte et couteau 2013
Nicole Levaque Basil Miami (Installation) Wood, styrofoam, cement, liquid plastic, foam casts and acrylic Dimensions variable 2012 Thinking Baroque (Installation) Ceramics, wood, foam, plaster, acrylic and sand Dimensions variable 2013
Cuboctahedron Birch 37” x 37” x 37” 2012 Simon Rafael Zaborski The Beginning of Trees Wood, postcards, shellac, fake lime, paper, latex, powdered pigment,and plumb bob 2’ x 5’ 2012 The Fountainhead (To be a man of steel one must first wear tights) Plaster, cement, high density foam, dowel, oil paint, spray paint, glow in the dark chain, tin and flash light 2012 Future Altar Spray foam, spray paint, oil paint, corrugated plastic, tricycle, wood, twine, wax, latex, foam board and drywall Dimensions variable 2013
Le Pare-Avant (Dans la solitude, je meurs un peu, aussi) Fenêtres, verre, plâtre, soie, velours et tissus variés Dimensions variables 2012
“Shoes Makyth Man” Hand crafted leather shoes 12” x 9.5” x 5” 2012
Project Coordinators Maria I. Kapovska Allison E. Smith Publisher Allison E. Smith Graphic Design Christopher Spears
Printer Blackdot Editors Christina Ryan Marie-Ă¨ve Joseph Funded By The Fine Arts Student Alliance The Fine Arts Reading Room The Concordia Council on Student Life The Concordia Student Union
Contributing Authors Trevor Gould Matthieu Cardin
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