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Exibitions 1990

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Index of artists, authors and curators

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Marik Boudreau
From January 13th 1990 to February 11th 1990
Architectures oubliées

Optica is an artist-run center. In the context of its new programming, we invited Martha Fleming and Lyne Lapointe to curate a photographic installation by Montreal artist, Marik Boudreau.

The exhibition, which documents a number of architectural relics in a study of urban decay, particularly in the Lachine Canal area of Montreal, will include photographs of La DONNA DELINQUENTA, the Stelco, Redpath, Coleco Factories and of abandoned warehouse. These are portraits of buildings in disuse, black holes in the urban dynamic. They allows us to discover an exceptional architecture, an architecture disrobed of meaning, in its intimacy.

The power and the discretion of Marik Boudreau's photographic work and the intensity of her involvement towards this art are tightly bound with the knowledge of The City. The work reflects the power of the urban unstability. She uses the camera as a "scientific tool" that pulls out the architecture's metaphysic.

These places have been, are and will be the theatre of something. Places in transformation, sites. A sensation of photografing the mobile instead of the immobile.

We said photo-installation because it includes the edification of wood pannels inspired from covered sidewalks, in which will be integrated Marik's photos, as holes in a barricade. She will attempt to adapt construction to each space in which it will be installed and this, during all its itinerancy. She will try to take advantage of the space's condition, integrating the city's point de vue as drawn from the gallery's windows.

The photos represent various buildings in Montreal, they are part of the city's architectural history. The sound track will recall these different periods. The music will become a component of the installation, embodying the elements in space. This experimental music will play during the show. The orchestration will include the following instruments : electronic bass, electronic drums (RX11-RX5), synthetizer, acoustic drum, banjo, ukulele, cymbalum, xylophone and "special effects".

We expect to produce a bilingual brochure that will include a text by Martha Fleming and some reproductions reproductions of Marik Boudreau's work. This brochure will be included, free of charge, to the show's different venues.
- Press release (Optica)

- Cron, Marie-Michèle, «Marik Boudreau: Taudis soit-elle», Voir, 25 au 31 janvier 1990,p.17.
- Ménard, Pierre, «Souvenirs effondrés», Guide Mont-Royal, vol. 51 no. 4 (24 janvier 1990), p.15.
- Lehmann, Henry, «History meets fantasyland in Hébert's witty clay sculptures», The Gazette, Monday, January 29, 1990.

Dennis Adams
From February 17th 1990 to March 18th 1990
Preferred Properties

Appropriating photographs and combining architecture and sculpture, Dennis Adams has created different types of public constructions. He is best known for his bus shelters (in New-York, Munster, Toronto...). "Adams takes the conventions of ambiguity and intervention in advertizing and postulates a new role for the viewer through the use of historial and political images."
- Patricia C. Phillips
"My work is about the fragility of history and memory in a fast-paced consumer society. I want to make visible the instant of loss, savor it if you will, as a kind of poetics of desperation."
- Denis Adams
- Internal document (Optica)

- Gravel, Claire, «Adams, Jean, Wainio, Bourassa: Comme une image retournée...», Le Devoir (samedi 10 mars 1990),C-12.

Artistes : Nathalie Alpers, Susan Bennett, Gerry Bergstein, Laurent Bouchard, Aaron Fink, Bernard Gamoy, Suzanne Grisé, Judy Haberl, Magnus Johnstone, Denis Lebel, Janet Logan, Steve Picker, Violaine Poirier, Suzanne Roux
From March 22nd 1990 to April 22nd 1990
Montréal / Boston

More than a year ago the Conseil des Artistes Peintres du Québec (CAPQ) and The Artists Foundation of Boston agreed to collaborate on an exchange exhibition of painters from Montreal and Boston.

After successfully securing research funds, each organization hired a guest curator – Lorne Falk from Montreal and Helen Shlien from Boston. […]

Artists from Montreal:
Laurent Bouchard, Bernard Gamoy, Suzanne Grisé, Denis Lebel, Janet Logan, Violaine Poirier, Suzanne Roux.

Artists from Boston:
Natalie Alpers, Susan Bennett, Garry Bergstein, Aaron Fink, Judy Haberl, Magnus Johnstone, Steve Picker.

In the final exhibition, each artist will be represented by three works selected by the curators after a second studio visit. The 14 artists will be exhibited together. The show is scheduled for January, 1990 in Boston and for March/April, 1990 in Montreal.

The Orientation of the Exhibition:
[…] The exhibition focuses on figuration, although the legacy of abstraction is evident in several instances. The content of the work addresses two general concerns. First, there is a consideration of what the social relation of contemporary painting might be. This is variously represented by political, feminist, scientific and historical / mythical orientations. The second preoccupation addresses the relation of the individual to his or her natural environment. This is evidenced by the presence of subjects such as the landscape, maps, still life motifs and viruses.

Notwithstanding the concurrence of content, there are notable formal differences between Boston and Montreal painting. Painters in Boston work in a more classical style that can be identified with the legacy of Philip Guston, who taught there for many years. They tend to work within the tradition of the stretched, rectangular canvas and the paint is thick and richly textured. By contrast, Montreal painters tend to employ collage processes, to break with the tradition by shaping the canvas and / or replacing the canvas with materials such as wood or metal. There is a strong surreal element in Montreal painting, whereas Boston painters are inclined to a more expressionist mode.

These similarities and differences will be elaborated by the juxtaposition of different works in the installation and, of course, by the curators catalogue texts.
- Internal document (Optica)

From April 26th 1990 to May 6th 1990

Auction : May 6th
Exhibition dates : April 26th to May 5th
Registration begins at 12h30
Entrance Fee: 3$
Auctioneer: François Beaulieu

optica 3981, boul. Saint-Laurent
Espace 501, Montréal
- Poster (Optica)

© Page couverture l Book cover, S’étourdir de paroles, 1990.

Paul Landon
From May 12th 1990 to June 6th 1990
S'étourdir de paroles

My recent installations are derived from my drawings. Like drawings they function as traces of a lost human presence. The recorded voices played back over the speakers are the ephemeral evidence of the absent interloper. The wires suggest the paths that he may have followed. The surrounding architectural space is utilized as a third element affecting both the physical layout of the wires and the quality of the sound.
- Paul Landon
- Press release (optica)

Go to publications catalogue.

- Gravel, Claire, «Femmes et écologie: Elanor Bond: rendre à l'homme son aliénation», Le Devoir (samedi 2 juin 1990), p. 7.
- «S'étourdir de paroles», Parallélogramme, Vol. 16, No. 1.

© Page couverture l Book cover, Inter'di, 1990.

Gordon Laird, Josh Garber
From September 8th 1990 to October 7th 1990

Optica is pleased to present the first of a three part exhibition series entitled Inter’di. In this first segment, photographic works by Gordon Laird are presented together with a sculpture installation by Josh Garber.

“Two themes underlie my work. The first issue deals with the relationship between man and technology. The second issue focuses on the problem of harnessing energy in its pure organic state.”
-Josh Garber

“The work is like a paper cut, about feeling before seeing, about surprising reactions from seemingly innocuous objects. […] you are drawn again and again to your own biases which surface through the immediate visual and visceral; before you have the chance to consider a position, you’re already in one.”
- Karen Houle on Gordon Laird
– Press release (Optica)

Go to publications catalogue

- Gravel, Claire, «L'apocalypse et après», Le Devoir, samedi 22 septembre 1990,p. C-12.

Bernard Rousseau, Miguel Angel Berlanga
From October 20th 1990 to November 18th 1990

The following document is only available in French :
« Il me semble que notre espèce ait franchi un point mystérieux, d’où il soit impossible de régresser. » Cette pensée de Cannetti, reprise par Jean Beaudrillard dans « Les stratégies fatales », laisse entendre qu’il y aurait un point dans l’histoire où on aurait quitté la réalité. Depuis lors, rien ne serait vrai, mais nous ne pourrions pas nous en rendre compte.

Et si l’apocalypse, ce moment à la fois tant attendu et tant redouté, avait déjà eu lieu sans qu’on s’en aperçoive, comme une sorte d’excroissance qui aurait poussé tranquillement, une sorte de cancer des systèmes, incluant celui de la culture, où on s’obstine à tout répertorier, à tout référencer à l’infini. Ces mises en abîme finissent par créer un labyrinthe fantastique où toutes ces citations, toutes ces références vivent les unes au dépens des autres jusqu’à la démesure, l’encombrement et au détriment de leur finalité initiale.

Dans la série que je travaille en ce moment, j’avance l’hypothèse que ce point pourrait très bien coïncider avec la mort de l’art annoncée par les minimalistes. Chaque œuvre comporte un ou plus d’un élément à caractère minimaliste, qui vient ce greffer à une image figurative.

Par exemple; le torero mort est une œuvre inspirée du tableau de Monet qui porte le même titre où un personnage semble flotter dans un fond quasi uniforme. Le torero évoque, en quelque sorte, l’art minimaliste confronté au défi qu’il a choisi. L’un et l’autre deviennent la victime de leur propre jeu.

L’image s’étend sur quatre tableaux-dessins carrés du même format et placés côte à côte. Le quatrième est monochrome, par allusion au minimalisme. À gauche, en retrait, ce trouve un cinquième tableau complètement noir.

Dans Autopsie, le même personnage, au dernier acte, gît sur une froide plaque de pierre blanche. Au-dessous de cette première image, un panneau tout blanc.
- Miguel Angel Berlanga, 1989
- Internal document (Optica)
Go to publications catalogue

- Gravel, Claire, «L'apocalypse et après», Le Devoir, samedi 22 septembre 1990, p. C-12.
- Gravel, Claire, «Le carambolage généralisé de la sculpture», Le Devoir, jeudi 25 octobre 1990, p. B-3.

Michelle Normoyle, Pierre Fournier
From November 24th 1990 to December 23rd 1990

My work deal with the sabotage/subversion of the technological age by employing a crude technique that renders a high image into a low tech one. By using the camera or the photocopier to record a preexisting picture made by another person, the authority and authorship of that image is questioned. It becomes a trace of an image that is moving from order to disorder, from progress or the modern world view to an entropic one.

The anonymous faces of people in television, film and the print media often go unnoticed, abandoned in favor of the more alluring "star". The unknown is left to contemplate, to engage in more personal, less public pursuits. In Media Solemnis, Key Actions, Faithful Portraits and the Repo series the anonymous media subject is captured in a private experience—from the sexually charged religious ecstasy of Media Solemnis to the intent pre-event concentration of the skaters in Figure.

The immediately recognizable visage of the celebrity allows us to experience immediate gratification. The narrative formula of most films gives us a safe release after two hours of time; the special effects serve to create the most effect for the least effort. The act of reading subverts this process. In the Repo series and Faithful Portraits text becomes a formal element and begin to support the image, even dominate it at times.
- Michelle Normoyle, 1989
- Artist declaration (Optica)

Go to publications catalogue.

- Gravel, Claire, «L'apocalypse et après», Le Devoir, samedi 22 septembre 1990, p. C-12.
- Gravel, Claire, «Anti-technologie contre haute technologie», Le Devoir, mardi 18 décembre 1990,p. B-3.