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Denis Lessard, Arlene Stamp
From January 12th 2001 to February 17th 2001

"Tableau" was described by Sylvie Fortin as a "transformance" exploring translation itself as a metaphor in an immersive experience, rather than a simply transitive one. This evocation of an evening shared by Denis Lessard and Arlene Stamp, which took place in Montréal in 1994, returns to its city of origin in the year 2001. "A visually sophisticated and compelling installation, "Tableau" presents an evocation of a dinner table set for two. Simply and poignantly, the audio component presents an attempt by the participants to reach an understanding of this shared event, an understanding shaped by their own cultural and linguistic references." (Sylvie Fortin) "Tableau" was presented in 1997 in Calgary as part of a group exhibition entitled "Tongue", curated by Cate Rimmer for Truck Gallery; and again in 1998, as an independent exhibition, at the Ottawa Art Gallery. Now "Tableau" comes to Optica with a revised audio component in which the two sound tracks, previously separated, are now heard simultaneously in a richly woven tapestry of story and sound in two languages.

While in Montréal in 1994 for a collaborative installation with Yvonne Lammerich at Optica, Denis invited Arlene, whom he had met in 1988, to share a dinner which he himself would prepare. A few weeks later, a collaborative project between the two artists began in which this single evening was remembered and re-told in terms of their own perceptions, each in their own language. "Tableau" is the outcome of this shared experience.

Denis Lessard lives and works in Montréal. Since 1982 Denis has given his performances and shown his visual work in Québec, across Canada, in France and the United States, while being active as an art critic, independent curator and translator. His multidisciplinary work has addressed issues pertaining to collection, male identity, and relationships between literature, music and the visual arts. In the fall of 1998, he was artist in residence in Rotterdam, within the collective Het Wilde Weten where he produced the photographs for his recent exhibition at Galerie VOX in Montréal. This fall, he was in residence in Saskatoon, with the collaboration of AKA Gallery and The Photographers Gallery, as well as in the St. Norbert Arts and Cultural Centre, near Winnipeg.

Arlene Stamp currently lives and works in Calgary, Alberta. Many of Arlene’s projects over a span of the last 20 years have involved an interaction with another person. The contingency of meaning is a recurring theme played out through collaborative interaction and attention to context. "Modern Mother" is a recent and ongoing body of work based on her mother, Mary Smith, and will be shown next at University Art Gallery - Calstate, Stanislaus. Her abstract work with recursive patterns emphasizes the same theme within a singular context. Her Signs of Breathing will be exhibited next month in a group exhibition entitled "Pleasures of Sight and States of Being", curated by Roald Nasgaard for the Museum of Fine Arts at Florida State University.

- Bouchard, Gilbert, «Prairie signs of a time gone», The Globe and Mail, 5 décembre 2000, p.R1.