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image
Nicolas Lachance, Untitled III, 2015. Encre à papier carbone sur toile | Carbon paper ink on canvas, 244 x 183 cm. Avec l’aimable autorisation de l’artiste | Courtesy of the artist. Photo : Richard-Max Tremblay

Nicolas Lachance
From November 14th 2015 to December 19th 2015
Sous roche transpirer

How do we generate intensity in a world swamped with images, with second- and third-hand imagery, in a world that has itself become a simulacrum?

This question drives the work of Nicolas Lachance, who summons the device of painting while subjecting its components to a rigorous process of compression and accumulation. He uses the very techniques that lie behind the exponential proliferation of images—prints and transfers, layered lamination, piled sediments—to create particularly dense tableaux, a profusion of condensed stratifications. Yet Lachance subtracts as much as he adds: he exhausts the pigment, sands the layers of paint, wipes all surplus to the point of opening up the weave of the canvas; he cracks through the wall of the invisible to extract a single image from it.

Extraction means labour. The image’s appearance here never registers as the epiphany of revelation, but proceeds, rather, from a logic of perspiration. Skin is what the over-consumers of images see with today—at times by effect or consequence, through nebulous attention or peripheral sensation; at others by pressure, friction, or some stubborn attachment—such that images infiltrate and suffuse us through every pore. As such, what the artist offers us is an image that is itself emulsified and exuded, its contact contagious, corrosive by design, in its inscription both of the traces on the canvas and of the image on our retinas.

In his recent works, Lachance examines the replication of the image. He culls motifs from the world of infinitely reproduceable images, like the backs of laminated posters, finds unearthed from thrift stores, or archival photographs recovered from the dustbins of memory. These motifs are then reworked, not as subjects for representation but as fragments of time or natural inscriptions to be interpreted, much like a divinatory reading of the stars, stones, or the flight of birds. The monotony of shaded monochrome (dust painting, transfers from carbon paper to canvas) renders the ambiguity of the image and reveals its palimpsest body, activated like a skin, a membrane permeable to affective proliferations.

Author: Ji-Yoon Han
Ji-Yoon Han is pursuing doctoral studies in art history at Université de Montréal.

PRESS RELEASE (pdf)

School Workshop
As part of OPTICA’s educational program, Nicolas Lachance will met up with 5th and 6th graders at Saint-Enfant-Jésus elementary school in the Mile End. Schoolchildren participating in the project will visit the exhibition with the artist in attendance and explore the creative process through a workshop given at their school. The works the students will produce during the workshop will be presented at centre OPTICA’s new AGORA space.

Schoolchildren Opening
The students will exhibit their masterpieces at centre OPTICA's new AGORA space from December 12th to the 19th. There will be an opening on december 15th from 6 PM to 7 PM.

For more information on OPTICA's educational program, please contact Marie-Laure Robitaille à mediation@optica.ca

The educational program is supported by the ministère de la Culture et des Communications and the City of Montreal (as part of the Entente sur le développement culturel de Montréal), and the Caisse Desjardins du Mont-Royal, Caisse Desjardins de l'Est du Plateau, and Caisse Desjardins des Versants du mont Royal.


Entente sur le développement



Since 2014, Nicolas Lachance has exhibited his work at the Darling Foundry and at Galerie René Blouin, which represents him. He garnered an Honourable Mention at the 2014 RBC Canadian Painting Competition. He lives and works in Montréal.