The Link’s Guide to Art Matters 2013
Thirteen years ago, Art Matters started as an answer to raise awareness to the oft-ignored Fine Arts Faculty at Concordia. Now, it’s the largest student-run festival in North America; this year it will show work from 136 artists over a span of two weeks.
Although Montreal is a city filled with vernissages and art exhibits for every taste, Art Matters offers something unique that’s not around for the rest of the year.
Part of the festival’s mandate, along with developing the communication between every department in Fine Arts and bringing together the alternative and the well-established, is to make it known that art, in fact, does matter.
As well as making use of the art spaces that already exist in Concordia, Art Matters will be taking over the city for the next couple of weeks, setting up shop in galleries, bars and studios from downtown to the Mile End.
My advice to you is this: make a plan and see as much as you can. It may turn out to be weird—or, dare I say, even unappealing—but you’ll probably never get to experience it again.
Especially if you are not one to usually peruse the arts scene, Art Matters makes what can sometimes be daunting, if not a well-kept secret, open to everyone.
And did I mention it’s all free?
—Katie McGroarty, Fringe Arts Editor
menagerie for hair & wood
Curated by Heather Caplap and Erin Hill, menagerie for hair & wood combines live performance, video and visual work.
Juxtaposing human hair with traditional textile work, Caplap and Hill describe the linking of the two extremes of texture as being both welcoming and unsettling.
From creating temporary homes for squirrels and birds within outdoor art, to the collection of memories housed inside childhood objects, the exhibit will range from the organic to the experimental.
“What I find interesting is the relationship between the animal and the human world—or the lack of one, where the connection should be rebuilt,” said Jessica Sallay-Carrington, a self-described “ceramic artist inspired by the qualities of animals unique to each species,” who will be displaying her creations at the exhibit.
menagerie for hair & wood/ Until March 17 / La Baraque (928 Ste. Catherine St. E.) / Vernissage: March 13, 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. / Open House and Finissage: March 16, 6:15 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
—By Katie McGroarty
Another F ****** Exhibition About Identities
This March, Casa del Popolo turns into an Art Matters symposium of self-centred art. All the “who,” “what” and “how” of 25 multimedia artists’ egos will be hanging on the walls, floating in the air and screened to your brains.
Suggestion #1: Gulp down that beer/wine/alcohol, pretend you’re going to the bathroom, grab your coat and just leave as fast as you can.
Otherwise, you risk being swallowed by centuries of flowery-to-excess feelings, romantic poetry and sobering love letters.
Suggestion #2: Think twice. It might be worth a try, after all.
Contemporary dancer Pascale Yensen will be performing a solo dance. She will be moving around the randomness that assembled our atoms into a fragile, human body instead of a raw block of cement.
In one of her previous works, Yensen blended together dance, electro-acoustic performances and darkness and light, transforming herself into a cloud of red fireflies. Not bad for a mere mortal.
Concordia film student Alisi Telengut, for her part, plays with painting in her short animated film “Tengri.”
The short touches on death and culture, evoking the centuries-old shamanist ritual of wind burying. If bathing in the Northern Lights was possible, it probably would accurately describe the feeling communicated by Telengut’s use of colours and movement.
Another F****** Exhibition About Identities / Until March 30 / Casa del Popolo (4873 St. Laurent Blvd.) / Open House: March 17, 1:15 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.
—By Flora Hammond
Nature/Culture is about the fundamental dichotomies in our relationship with the planet. It explores the interactions between humanity and our lush, rotating home, in terms of conflict and respect. Do people admire nature or just seek to take from it and destroy it at their leisure?
Curator Cécile Charvet says that on scales both large and small, we are constantly forging a new relationship with the planet.
The six artists of Nature/Culture all “share an interest in this relationship and engage with it through different artistic practices and create new aesthetics and new dialogues around the issues of nature versus culture,” Charvet says.
Artist Ellen Leung contributes her pieces “Vessel #1,” “Vessel #2” and “Vessel #3” to the conversation in a collection of sculptures made of earthenware ceramics.
“My work explores my aesthetic fascination with decay and wounds,” Leung explains. “Organic matter in the process of destroying and building itself up again is in its most intriguing state.”
Fellow artist Elizabeth Brouillard’s work is fascinated by the beauty and strangeness of life and expresses it through the pieces of Inner Eyes.
“It drives me to explore the tree of life as well as the place that man occupies in it […]. My work is characterized by its organic structure and carries the viewer in a poetic universe,” Brouillard says.
Nature/Culture / Until March 22 / Studio #427 (372 Ste. Catherine St. W., #427) / Open House: March 16, 4:00 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. / Finissage: March 18, 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
—By Jake Russell
Youth Well Wasted
Youth Well Wasted is an Art Matters exhibition all about the major milestones and minor thrills of being a teen.
Life has just started and it’s exciting. Curated by first-year Concordia student Lori Noel, the exhibition is centred on the idea of taking advantage of the present and is described as “young people living with whole-hearted intentions of not wasting a second.”
Over a dozen artists make up the exhibit, which will include paintings, drawings and photography. An exposition by student Kerry Langlois called “Are We Having Fun Yet?” looks at the recent Jersey Shore-esque phenomenon of the “party culture” in today’s youth.
Langlois is fascinated by how much we idolize party culture and romanticize excess and the glamorously wasted. These themes are looked at through text and image.
Another artist, Todd Bolton, brings pensive still moments to the show though his untitled photography. On the flip side, artists like Véronique Croteau highlight supercharged moments like the 2012 Quebec student protests in paint.
Youth Well Wasted / Until March 22 / BBAM! Gallery (3255 St. Jacques St. W.) / Open House: March 16, 1:00 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. / Vernissage: March 20, 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
—By Jake Russell
Erase and Rewind
Erase and Rewind, curated by Bella Giancotta and Marie-Michèle Plante, is an exhibition about the kind of cycles we find in pop culture.
Entertainment and visual culture repeats itself, and the curators are aiming to capture that in a playful way.
The 13 artists in the exhibition will be bringing together vintage and modern images to create a dialogue about the way we view media, and to drive home its cyclical nature.
Among them are self-described “failed porn director” Laura C. Ashley with her multimedia installation show “Make It Rain.”
Chris Drogaris and The Link’s Editor-in-Chief, Julia Wolfe, will bring retro gaming to Erase and Rewind with their game console “The Grid,” which will combine brightly coloured lights and 8-bit beeps to make for a trippy, nostalgic experience.
Another artist is FONKi, a Khmer-French Montreal graffiti artist who will be showing off his spray-painted self-portraits.
Other installations include Caroline Steele’s “Urban Mandalas,” which places the ever-present QR codes of our smartphone culture within an artistic space, and Emilie Gauvin’s “It Makes me Wet & A Reaction Video – Reacting to Crayon by G-Dragon,” which explores how pop culture from the East influences North America.
Erase and Rewind / Until March 22 / Studio XX (4001 Berri St.) / Vernissage: March 14, 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. / Open House: March 17, 12:00 p.m. to 12:45 p.m.
—By Jake Russell
The Tactility of Objects: A Retrospective
The Tactility of Objects: A Retrospective is for anyone whose mother ever scolded them for touching something in a gallery or fancy store. This exhibition wants its audience to recapture a lost intimacy we have with art by allowing visitors to touch its pieces at will.
The 12 artists of this exhibition use a diverse range of artistic mediums, including furniture design, live performance, art books and video.
In other words, this exhibition is a like a crash-course of sitting in the front row during the musical Cats. You must embrace the man in the cat costume sitting on your lap. The interaction between art and art-goer is the focus of these works.
Bianca St. Martin’s piece titled “Form” addresses how people perceive the world around themselves.
“In this book, the idea is that information is hidden within the body, just as it is within the pages of a book. In order to get to it, one must first open the book & then themselves to receiving it,” said St. Martin.
Other pieces include Dylan DiCicco’s pop-up book, titled “Montreal,” and Theresa Passarello’s mixed media piece called “Slip of Memory.”
The Tactility of Objects: A Retrospective / Until March 18 / Les Territoires (372 Ste. Catherine St, W., #527) / Open House: March 16, 5:00 p.m. to 5:45 p.m.
—By Jake Russell
The Ill Palette is a collaborative effort from curators, Jordan Davidson, Vincent Viezzer and Ashley Zver-Volel, which combines the talents of 19 artists in a plethora of mediums into a melting pot of pieces, all interacting with each other on some level or other.
Ill Palette artist Kyle Goforth describes his design process as being “informed by the emotional dimension of the user/object interaction.”
Fellow artist Adrien Fillion says his contribution explores the “breakdown of physical space into intermingling objects that hint at the daily data unseen.”
Curator Viezzer attempts to bring together works that collectively tell stories relating to “detailing the malaise of bodies, buildings and bureaucracy.”
Zver-Volel, for her part, notes that understanding the interaction between people and their environments poses the question of how one understands oneself in space. Her curated works explore this concept, and each draw unique conclusions.
The open house, on March 17, will feature lectures aiming to delve deeper into Ill Palette ’s themes. The event will involve several speakers discussing the making and meaning of displayed works, and help place them within the greater context of ongoing discussions relating to contemporary art.
From 3:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., swing by for several exclusive artist appearances.
Ill Palette / Until March 22 / Eastern Bloc (7240 Clark St., second floor) / Vernissage: March 15, 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. / Open House: March 17, 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
—By Megan Dolski
Assumptions are not derivative of accepted facts but of distant tales.
Assumptions are not derivative of accepted facts but of distant tales. brings together thirteen artists seeking to collectively explore their surroundings.
By way of a variety of mediums—which include photography, video and painting— the group delves into relationships and discrepancies between the tangible and imagined aspects of their environment.
Curated by Julian Garcia and Emma Siemens-Adolphe, the exhibit begins on March 7 hosted at Galerie Espace.
The open house, set for March 17, will feature a silent auction, allowing participants to purchase the curated pieces.
Participating photographer Thomas Bouquin describes his thinking as “how elements such as memory, space and light can influence and modify our perception of the banal and common places of our everyday life.”
Another of the exhibit’s artists, Lisandre St-Cyr Lamothe, hopes to explore the “natural beauty” and “fragility” of the land—despite the fact that most humans live in urban centres.
The exhibit seeks to be an “extension of our cognition” and attempts to reinterpret reality, questioning and elaborating on established symbols.
Assumptions are not derivative of accepted facts but of distant tales. / Until March 19 / Galerie Espace (4844 St. Laurent Blvd.) / Vernissage: March 12, 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. / Open House: March 17, 2:15 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
—By Megan Dolski
Lab 353 – Biologie Materialiste
Benjamin J. Allard explores the relationship between humans and nature in his exhibition, or laboratory, Lab 353 – Biologie Materialiste. More specifically, he wants to “reframe” the ideas that characterize how these two groups relate.
To help ensure the works and theme are properly understood and appreciated, Allard outlines a couple of prerequisites for attendees.
He notes that having a body is a must, and recommends taking note of both one’s past and surroundings before stepping into the space, cautioning that “passing oversight could bring the viewer to hasty conclusions.”
While “second sight is not required,” he adds, visitors should assume the survival humanity.
The lab requires meditation on “fields related to biology such as history, philosophy or aesthetics.”
The March 17 vernissage features a keynote speaker and a debate on materialistic ecology—and the buffet promises to push the boundaries of ideas surrounding food.
Lab 353 – Biologie Materialiste / Until March 22 / Espace Project (353 Villeray St.) / Vernissage and Open House: March 17, 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.
—By Megan Dolski
We all have our own personal shrines and collections to those special objects that capture our interests, whether they are postage stamps, shells, dolls—or every issue of The Link. Curio is an exhibit that explores these collections that enable the mundane to transcend into something more, at least for those who collect them.
For this exhibition, ten artists “present a contemporary series of explorations into the unmonumental, the stuff that we collect, the sentiments we ascribe to our collections, and the rituals that surround the act of collecting.”
Artist Zoe Wonfor displays jars containing different objects and specimens, and says of her work, “I want my work to provide moments to think about Yellowstone National Park, Gala apples, lunch time or lovers. I hope these works give a viewer a moment to pause.”
Artist Lianne Zannier’s lifestyle embraces the Curio theme to the fullest.
“I am an artist and amateur collector of collectables making worlds and strange dioramas with the curious curiosities I find,” said Zannier.
Her found sculpture, entitled “Friends,” will be on display for the exhibition.
Curio / Until March 22 / Coat Check Gallery (5180 Notre-Dame St. W.) / Open House: March 16, 12:00 p.m. to 12:45 p.m. / Finissage: March 21, 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
—By Jake Russell
“The past leaves traces on our bodies and it informs the ways we construct our narratives.” The exhibition Ruins examines the relationships between history, memory, human experience and vestiges of the past.
Curated by Michelle Cantin-Reid, Ruins offers “a space to connect with histories, to construct them, and ultimately, if we choose, to deconstruct them, as revisiting is impossible and forgetting is as well.”
Six artists open up the dialogue and bring their interpretations of what “ruins” mean to them using a wide range of mediums.
Artist George Grant’s “Untitled” is a raw abstract composition of snow, salt, gravel and dirt on canvas.
“Engaging between the abstract and the literal,” Grant says, “my interests lie in the ephemeral qualities of memory and experience.”
Alexia Laferté-Coutu also takes a non-traditional approach with her piece, “Dans la solitude je meurs un peu, aussi,” a sculpture constructed from found wood and glass panels, velvet, silk and plaster.
Laferté-Coutu places emphasis on the artistic process itself, allowing her to break down the ritualized methods of creation and illustrate the balancing act of building and unraveling identities.
Ruins / Until March 22 / VAV Gallery (1395 René-Lévesque Blvd. W.) / Open House: March 16, 2:15 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. / Finissage: March 19, 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
—By Jake Russell