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© Page couverture l Book cover, Empirical Presence : Six Essays, 1992.

Barbara Caruso, Jean-Marie Delavalle, Yves Gaucher, Ron Martin, Jaan Poldaas, Henry Saxe
From October 12th 1991 to November 10th 1991
The Empirical Presence

Curators : James Campbell and Yvonne Lammerich

This exhibition has been conceived from the observation that a tragic and serious gap exists between the dialogue of abstraction, as a highly relevant form of art today, and the public and art community in Canada. Those artists who have commited themselves to this path of investigation in Canada, unlike their American or European counterparts, have had to work much of the time in the last twenty years in relative isolation. This exhibition, although modest in scale and not definitive in representation, is intended to create a dialogue in an effort to close the gap.

Entering the last decade of the 20th century abstraction as an art practice is almost 100 year old. During this time major social, political and cultural changes have taken place. The six artists presented here have absorbed and understood the new code created by these dramatic changes. Their work speaks to us on these terms.

As we are moving closer and closer towards the acceptance that we are the product of worldly conditions and matter, and these in turn are modified by our manipulations, a new equation is in the making between human inherent material conciousness and the conciousness we impose on it. The mind and body appear to be constantly in the process of reconstructing itself, not just within but also outside of its corporeal limits. One of the ways in which this occurs is through the imaging or reading of matter and stretching the imagination forming a new equation or link.

Each of the six artists in this exhibition is concerned with the articulation of this experience, trusting entirely in its plastic and mechanical possibilities, as trusting in the inherent possibilities within each of us. Neither the maker nor the viewer need to be restrained by conventions. In a reciprocal relationship, these works are as much part of what we know or can know, of what we are or could become.

We now understand that our mental abilities are potential capacities which can only be realized in practice, in that we have to learn how to use them. Our ideas of material and matter should be regarded as mental constructions that have to be learned. This realization is already manifest in the works of Caruso, Delavalle, Gaucher, Martin, Poldaas and Saxe. Hence “The Empirical Presence”.
-Yvonne Lammerich, co-curator
-Press release (Optica)

Go to publications catalogue.

- Dumont, Jean, «Dernière chances», Le Devoir, samedi 9 novembre 1991, p. C-10.
- Campbell, James D. and Yvonne Lammerich. trad. Clément Fontaine, «The Empirical Presence: Sculptural Paradigm; Présence empirique: Un paradigme sculptural», ESPACE, vol. 20, été 1992, p. 48-54
- Hakim, Mona, «Galerie Optica: Sens Cible», Voir, du 31 octobre au 6 novembre 1991, p. 24.
- «Lien, passage, limite / Présence empirique, Optica, Montréal, Québec», Parallelogramme, vol. 17, no. 2, 1991, p. 65.