The Belgo Report » Painting News and reviews of art exhibitions in the Belgo Building Fri, 15 Jan 2016 19:12:50 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Melanie Hoff: 15,000 Volts at Visual Voice Gallery Sun, 11 Oct 2015 22:25:05 +0000 Melanie Hoff
15,000 Volts
Visual Voice Gallery
September 10 – October 18, 2015

Visual Voice Gallery is delighted to present the exhibition 15,000 Volts by American artist Melanie Hoff. The 15,000 Volts – Passage and Control series is the result of years of experimentation with directing fractal burns in wood. Hoff manipulated variables such as the species of wood, the composition of the conductive solution, and the placement of electrodes. From these experiments, she learned how to control specific variables to create compositions. No pattern realized in this way can be exactly replicated. These artworks are a collaboration between the artist and the laws of electricity. The fractal patterns, called Lichtenberg figures, were discovered by 18th Century physicist Georg Christoph Lichtenberg. They were first noted when dust in the air settled on the surface of electrically-charged plates of resin. Hoff’s work fuses scientific and artistic practices by enlisting principles of physics and chemistry as mediums of art.

Melanie Hoff was born in Washington D.C. and lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. She is a graduate of the Pratt Institute where she earned a BFA in sculpture and is currently pursuing a masters degree from New York University’s Interactive Telecommunications Program. Hoff’s work has been exhibited in galleries and on screens internationally. The artist has been featured on the Radiolab podcast’s live show “Apocalyptical”, Discovery Channel’s “Outrageous Acts of Science”, Vice’s “The Creators Project” and on National Public Radio’s “Science Friday”. Hers is a research-based practice that investigates the intangible forces that shape our environment. Though she began her studies as a photography student, after her foray into sculpture, Hoff became increasingly interested in chemistry and electricity, harnessing her knowledge of these scientific fields for her art. She intends to broaden her practice with acquired skills in technology to further investigate our modern environment by exploring not only the hidden behaviors of materials but of one of the most elusive aspects of our environment: humans.

(Text: Visual Voice Gallery)

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Some Species Will Thrive Wed, 09 Sep 2015 00:44:14 +0000 The idea that half of Earth’s animals will become extinct over the next 100 years is, for many people, an abstract idea. It’s difficult to believe or understand the scale of what this will look like. No matter its seeming implausibility, it is nevertheless the prediction of many scientists. Perhaps it then makes sense that it’s from a creative mind that we find a depiction of this somewhat “unimaginable” future.

Artist Ripley Whiteside’s exhibit A Peaceable Kingdom – on display at Pierre-François Ouellette Art Contemporain – is a series depicting the various species that will survive to cohabitate alongside humans in the future. The result is confronting. The works carry that intrinsic mix of melancholy and wry humour that is reserved for negative consequences that are seemingly inevitable.

The works are very much inspired by Montreal and its natural and unnatural environments. Each illustration is named after different quarters of the city like Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, Côte-des-Neiges, and Pierrefonds. The selected animals can be found on the island of Montreal – either in the wild, in pet stores, on Kijiji, or at the Biodome. Whiteside arranged the creatures in a sort of constructed reality. Seeing them positioned against various somewhat bleak backgrounds, one has the impression these unlikely companions have been thrown together under unnecessary and arbitrary circumstances.

Whiteside said in his artist statement, “I am interested in what should or should not be considered natural, and in how absurd this line of questioning can become.”

“These works were born in the complicated corners of nature’s meanings, in the places where we attempt to insinuate ourselves within the natural or insist on our separateness from it; where we take what is natural and in so transform it into artifice; where we fear the natural and unnatural alike, and where we temper those fears with stories,” said Whiteside.

Visually, he uses a series of techniques to bring the animals onto a more confronting plane. In many cases, the animals are depicted life-size. Though more imposing than this is the manner in which each animal meets the viewer’s gaze. Historically, the direct or returned gaze has held great meaning in Western art. For a long time the direct gaze, particularly the direct gaze of women, was something artists avoided. It was thought to displease viewers, male viewers, who preferred subjects to be looking away, making their bodies more visually accessible. Eye contact is thought to bring a more confrontational aspect to the character in question. Berger in his now seminal book, “Ways of Seeing” (1972), discusses how Manet’s Olympia was the first example of the female nude defiantly returning the viewer’s gaze. In her description of Whiteside’s work, Concordia University’s Julia Skelley refers to the returned gaze as signifying consciousness, agency, interiority, and potentially indicative of a soul. And it’s true that in the absence of words, a direct gaze is used to establish a connection and can be thought to force a sense of accountability into the consciousness of the viewer.

It’s also worthy of note that in nature wild animals rarely make eye contact for very long, if at all. Someone viewing an animal may meet eyes with one for an instant, but there is rarely sustained connection. Eye contact is often the first point in the initiation of a relationship between two individuals, the beginning of establishing contact. This facet of Whiteside’s work acts to greatly humanize his animals.

The environmental aspect of the artist’s series was inspired by Stephen M. Meyer’s The End of the Wild, a book in which the author outlines Earth’s biodiversity crisis. Meyer cites a current extinction rate of 3,000 species per year, and notes that if this continues half of all species will be extinct in the next 100 years. He argues that the surviving animals will be the “weedy” ones (pests and parasites), those that can survive alongside the environmental degradation caused by humans. It’s a tragic and disturbing idea that due to the actions of one species, ours, only the “weeds” of the animal world will survive.

Another strong influence for A Peaceable Kingdom is the work of Edward Hicks (c. 1825-49) and his series of the same name. Hicks’ work was firstly an expression of his Quaker ideals. He painted 61 iterations on the same idea – all inspired by a bible passage, Isaiah 11:6-8. It’s a passage depicting all animals, predators and prey, living together in harmony. In a practical sense, Hicks conveys this uniformity, or peace, through the use of colours within a restricted tonal range. This is a technique also employed by Whiteside. The significant difference between the two artists is that Whiteside’s work doesn’t contain the religious aspect that was very much a focal point for Hicks. Whiteside paints from a more animalist perspective.

In the gallery, the works  – made from natural, homemade, and manufactured inks – are exhibited unframed, and pinned to the wall. There were minimal alterations made to the original state of the works. They appear almost as if they have just been removed from the artist’s studio. The strength of their message doesn’t need any embellishment.

A Peaceable Kingdom is exhibiting at Pierre-François Ouellette Art Contemporain from July 18 – August 15, 2015.

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Out of Town at Laroche/Joncas Fri, 28 Aug 2015 19:42:29 +0000 Exhibition: August 8 – September 5, 2015

Lesley Anderson, Benjamin King, Sean Montgomery, François Simard
Out of Town

For our summer exhibition Out of Town, we have selected a group of paintings by artists that live elsewhere than Montreal. Lesley Anderson (Vancouver), Benjamin King (Brooklyn NY) Sean Montgomery (Ithaca NY) and François Simard (Québec city) whose paintings all realized with contrasting and diverse approaches: all use colors and movement in diverse ways. Two artists present an interpretation of reality, King’s Untitled 2011 a landscape painting which oscillates between figuration and abstraction and Montgomery’s Spring Thaw, which is part of a larger body of work inspired by Henry David Thoreau’s Life in the Woods. Montgomery also has a series of 14 small Tartans paintings 12”x12”also on view. Presented for the first time in the gallery, the tartan series explores notions of identity. Lesley Anderson’s Untitled 2015 and François Simard’s very large triptych (84” x 240”) titled Spectrum from 2011-12, completes the exhibition. François Simard presented his first solo-exhibition with the gallery in June 2015.
Both artists explore color and it’s expressive potential. The approach Simard used to create his work which he qualifies as ‘soft edge’ using only color without any reference to figuration.The painter is interested in the vibration and kinetic space created with color and at the same time questioning these tensions, while Lesley Anderson’s favors a hard edge technique where complex composition uses geometric forms to structure the color. This spontaneous grouping allows the spectator to be surrounded with works that co-exist together for a few weeks, and to construct their own narratives that these mostly abstract works inspire. Lesley Anderson will be presenting her first solo exhibition with the gallery in September. For more information please contact the gallery.

Text: Galerie Laroche/Joncas
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Surfaces at Galerie Lilian Rodriguez Wed, 01 Jul 2015 15:13:17 +0000 June 3 – July 25, 2015


Roger Bellemare, Daniel Lahaise, Jennifer Lupien, José Luis Torres, Monica van Asperen

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ALPTRAUM (NIGHTMARE) at Visual Voice Gallery Tue, 23 Jun 2015 01:44:43 +0000 Exhibition: June 18 – 27, 2015
Vernissage: Thursday, June 18, 2015, 5pm – 7pm

Curator: Marcus Sendlinger
Co-Curators: Li Alin, Bettina Forget

Since 2010 Marcus Sendlinger organizes the wandering exhibition “Alptraum” in different countries all over the world. Starting out in Washington D.C., Montreal is now the 13th location of this world wide artist collaboration with the aim to explore the relationship between the individual, the national and the global collective subconscious surrounding nightmares.

“Like George Orwell’s Room 101, in his predictive tale, 1984, we all have our own version of what constitutes a nightmare, and for this reason, the project has been opened to a large number of artists whose many and varied personal nightmare versions, or visions, act to reflect this hugely variable human state of fears and phobias, pain and panic.” (Marcus Sendlinger) The nightmare motif has a longstanding tradition in visual arts with its intertwining of the fantastical, the horrifying and the elusive. The theme has long fascinated artists – from the hellish landscapes of Hieronymus Bosch, Henry Fuseli’s The Nightmare (1781), Goya’s The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters (c. 1798), right through to the 20th Century, when nightmares became one of the central concerns of the surrealist movement.

But are nightmares individual to all? Like dreams, which have become synonymous with individual ambition? Or are nightmares perhaps expressions of the undesirable unconscious – that common denominator of a community? Do they indicate national archetypes? Or do they simply remain in the grips of the global fears of present age? These are the questions at the centre of the Alptraum exhibition, suggesting answers through the various repetitions of the same theme.

(text: Li Alin)
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Écrans à Galerie Hugues Charbonneau Tue, 16 Jun 2015 01:35:21 +0000 Exposition :  20 juin  au 25 juillet 2015
Vernissage : le 20 juin de 15h à 17h

La Galerie Hugues Charbonneau marque sa saison estivale par une exposition collective réunissant les artistes Trevor Gould, Jean-Benoit Pouliot et Julie Trudel ainsi que Maryse Goudreau et Lucie Robert, invitées pour l’occasion. Écrans rassemblent des œuvres qui revoient les limites du concept de l’écran selon différentes modalités tantôt picturales, tantôt historiques, physiques ou politiques.

L’écran détient le pouvoir paradoxal de révéler et de dissimuler simultanément. Cette dualité qui construit, voire conditionne, notre regard exprime l’incomplétude inévitable des images qui nous entourent en sous-tendant leur hors-champ et leurs sous-textes. L’écran devient ainsi un dispositif esthétique, politique et philosophique qui permet d’analyser notre lecture du monde. Il mobilise des idées d’interprétation ou de morcellement des récits en nourrissant une compréhension plus large de notre relation à l’immatériel, à l’infigurable.

Véhicule pour l’art à cheval entre un médium et un média, l’écran peut en effet être compris comme support de projection physique ou abstrait, mais peut aussi être approché comme construction historique et culturelle, comme arme normative à l’endroit des corps, comme feuilletage iconographique et conceptuel… La notion d’écran renvoie enfin à toute une archéologie des images et à une histoire des idées.

(texte : Galerie Hugues Charbonneau)
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Jon Knowles Monograph at Galerie Donald Browne Tue, 02 Jun 2015 20:13:31 +0000 Jon Knowles
Rubbing the Khaki

Closing Party and launch of Monograph

Saturday, June 13, 2015, 4pm

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Louise Elie, Josèe Charbonneau, Apostolos Stefanopoulos at Galerie Luz Sun, 31 May 2015 13:33:11 +0000 Exhibition: June 3 – 27, 2015
Vernissage: Wednesday June 3, from 5 – 8pm

Louise Elie

From click to printout, using all the technical possibilities that the virtual darkroom provides, Louise Elie lets herself be guided by light, transparency, textures and movement; by the swiftness of time passing, the evocation of memories and their disappearance, the beauty and the fragility of life.
The sea is part of her life. Through a regular pattern of separations and reunions, through thousands of hours spent in its company since her childhood, she has developed a close relationship, an intimate bond with the sea. Drawing on that bond, Louise Elie has created a series of images that stretch this dimension of intimacy to the point of abstraction, reducing the sea to line and colour. In another series, captured at night under a full moon and a cloudy sky, the photographer transforms the sea into expressionist images. Infused with power, density and mystery, these pieces evoke the paradoxical permanence of the sea’s infinite and ever-changing motion and its poetic resonance.

Josèe Charbonneau

Photography is Josée Charbonneau’s favourite medium and means of expression. She approaches her works on paper by using the organic shape of the image in a spatial environment. Using photo engraving, she creates visions inspired by her unconscious and the power of her childhood imagination. Through photo engraving, her pictures are always evolving and unique, evoking the spirit of the sea, with its complex currents and shifting winds. With “Water’s edge“ Josée Charbonneau presents an important step in her creative quest.
The eight virtues of the Koi Carp have been a source of inspiration in her artistic research: There is no fixed port, no purpose, live life in the present moment, ignore the straight and narrow, evolve with ease in uncertainty, appreciate your community, remain calm and serene, swim against the current back to the source.

Apostolos Stefanopoulos

Aretephos Studio emerged as a medium of symbolic art—‘Aretephos’—where works are defined and motivated by geometric shapes and script. Quotes are by various philosophers, scientists, musicians, spiritualists, poets, and dramatists that have shaped humanity into what it is today.
Artist Apostolos Stefanopoulos believes that art can visually express words geometrically: lines as length; color as dominance; circles and polygons as continuity; and triangles as stationary objects in space-time. Words finally have a real visual presence-a new way to be understood and appreciated.
Series Aretephos hosts quotes from profound individuals that have shaped humanity into what it is today. In your everyday life, it is nearly impossible to not come in contact with one of their philosophies or methods. All work in this section differs from one to another allowing one to interpret the quotes. 7 Sins & 7 Virtues brings to life our everyday challenges and accomplishments. We have all once in our lives been motivated by these principles. The categories appear similar because the veil between them is slim and dangerous. Mathematics encompasses equations in physics and geometry that defines reality and has been crucial in our understanding what is. One can only imagine what life would be like without these advances.
States of the Soul enters ones’ emotional states. Everyday, we express our selves in different, yet similar ways, but we never have the opportunity to see it on paper, now we can.

(Text: Galerie Luz)

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Les finalistes du Prix Albert-Dumouchel pour la relève à Arprim Wed, 27 May 2015 19:54:16 +0000 Exposition: 30 mai – 13 juin 2015
Vernissage: le samedi, 30 mai, 15h

Arprim est fier de présenter, du 30 mai au 13 juin 2015, la 26e édition de l’exposition collective Première impression dans le cadre du Prix Albert-Dumouchel pour la relève.

S’adressant aux étudiants de premier cycle universitaire, le Prix Albert-Dumouchel vise à souligner l’excellence des artistes de la relève en offrant un prix d’une valeur de plus de 1 000 $. Passerelle vers le milieu professionnel, cette récompense comprend, entre autres, une résidence de production de deux semaines dans les ateliers d’Engramme (Québec) et une bourse de 200 $ offerte par la famille Dumouchel.

Le jury a sélectionné ces finalistes universitaires prometteurs, qui seront à découvrir lors de Première impression :
Maxime Archambault (UQAM), Ann Karine Bourdeau Leduc (UQAM), Caroline Champoux (UQTR), Jacinthe Derasp (Concordia University), Delphine Egesborg (Université Laval), Alexandre Ménard (UQAM), Stéphanie Nuckle (UQAM), Kimberlin Starnino (Concordia University).

Le dévoilement du lauréat aura lieu lors du vernissage, le samedi 30 mai à 15h.

Nous remercions chaleureusement la famille Dumouchel ainsi nos généreux partenaires : Engramme, centre de production en estampe, le Regroupement des artistes en arts visuels (RAAV), la revue esse et Daniel Roussel, photographe.

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JASON ARSENAULT, JOHN BOYLE-SINGFIELD, ALEX McLEOD, OLI SORENSON at Galerie Trois Points Wed, 27 May 2015 13:10:01 +0000 Exhibition: May 16 to June 27 2015
Vernissage: Saturday May 23, 2015, 3pm

Galerie Trois Points is thrilled to feature guest artists Jason Arsenault, John Boyle-Singfield and Oli Sorenson along Alex McLeod’s works in Previsualization, a group exhibition opening on May 23rd. The selected works reveal certain truths about how virtualization – through the appropriation and distorted use of software, applications, movies, files and digital technologies – may impact our daily life and perception of reality.

Information technologies – and more specifically those related to image visualization – are now demultiplicated, sophisticated and user-friendly. These applications, originally intended for communication, design or entertainment purposes allow users to anticipate, revise and generate a multitude of versions until reaching an optimal outcome. The four artists included in this exhibition appropriate such technologies, aiming to highlight their inherent strenghts and weaknesses, thus revealing the ubiquitous logic of advertising and push the limits of intellectual property.

Alex McLeod uses specialized software to digitally construct idealized landscapes evoking virtual maquettes. Those hyperrealistic renders – often built with web-found modelization – seduce and confuse at once the viewer by balancing between the complexity of structures and the simplicity of compositions. The works selected here encompass post-apocalyptic landscapes where city and chains intertwine.

With his Instagram 3.4.2 series, John Boyle-Singfield isolates on a white background different filters from the popular mobile application. Actual algorithms, the Instagram filters are designed to transform any image into a photograph reminiscant of analog processing like Polaroid or Super 8. These readymades evoke a certain nostalgia in a desire for immediacy, a phenomenon perfectly adapted to today’s increased speed of images production and circulation, enhanced by the planned obsolecence of commonly used technologies.

The notion of encounter – the one that occurs between the work and the spectator and becomes a point of contact between them – lies at the heart of Jason Arsenault’s work. In this exhibition, the Montreal-based artist presents light and kinetic installations altering our perception. Using billboards panels, mirrors and motion sensors, the artist allows the viewer to become a  part of the works. Directly challenging the body, Arsenault builds both infinite and unreachable spaces that exacerbate and neutralize our senses.

Oli Sorenson selected two pieces from his No More Heroes series, an ongoing film remix project utilizing Hollywood blockbusters and cult cinema as primary creative material. Here, we discover Blade Runner and The Matrix completely re-edited as the artist cut out every frame in which the main character is seen or heard. This new narrative highlights the stereotyping of hero worship along with the production and film making structures of Box Office classics.

(Text: Galerie Trois Points)

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