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Exibitions 1998

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Index of artists, authors and curators

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OPTICA Fonds (Concordia University Archives)

Guidebooks to help in consulting the archives

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Michael A. Robinson
From January 15th 1998 to February 22nd 1998
Trompe le monde

"Everyday life. The frenzied oscillation between the banality of necessary quotidian activities and an equally frenzied desire to escape. Devoted to the planning and calculating of everything, contemporary life has become a repetition of actions which has led only to anxiety and failure. At once humorous and grim, no one has any real hope of getting out of this. In fact, there seems to be a genuine loss of interest in the outcome of some of the western world's most fundamental predicaments. By what ritualistic means do we sublimate our desire for solutions?"

For the opening, the gallery would be transformed into a discotheque, complete with disco lights, glitterballs and professional DJ's. Examining the notion of a gentle apocalypse, the installation in gallery and a video would help reestablish a general context for the exhibition after the opening.

Michael A. Robinson focuses on the representation of the everyday and the desire to escape, referring to certain rituals and forms of release produced by popular culture. In 1996 this young artist showed Real Real Gone at Gallery Samuel Lallouz. The ground floor was taken up by a minimal-like cube generating coloured light and music, and evoking a nightclub. The following year he participated in "ARCO 97", a contemporary art fair in Madrid, and in "Panique au Faubourg", an event organized during the summer by Quartier Éphémère. Since 1991 his installations have been presented in Canada and Europe.

- Lamarche, Bernard, «On se bouscule dans les centres d’artistes», Le Devoir, 24–25 janvier 1998, p.B14.
- Aquin, Stéphane, «Michael A. Robinson et Kevin de Forest», Voir, 12–18 février 1998, p.55.
- Aquin, Stéphane, «Guide musées et galeries. Centres d’artistes et autres centres d’exposition», Voir, 15–21 janvier 1998, p.25.

Kevin de Forest
From January 15th 1998 to February 22nd 1998
Le magasin de disques

Maybe the Ip paintings are in part a teenage wish-fulfillment, letting me be my own pop-star role model. I'm wanting to feel my own groove, search out my funky bad self. Re-imaging and altering the jackets gives me that permission. When I paint myself as an honorary member of Kiss, become a ghost/tourist/voyeur of my own half-Japanese culture, or look for my own ideal sci-fi home, I allow myself to be as serious, as goofy, as sexy, as self-questioning as I get through the week.

I'm trying to avoid premeditating my results or setting up too many categories. Sometimes the records are ordered in groups, sometimes not. I don't see my artmaking role as providing a consummate structure or organization with which to view the world. For the moment, I'm more concerned with exploring my own urgencies, and just expecting them to be as lurid, strange and multi-layered as they are for me each day. I also need to short-circuit explanations, in order to sidestep my own stifling self-consciousness.

Kevin de Forest is a Montréal artist born in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He is currently an artist in residency at Seika University, Kyoto, Japan.

- Lamarche, Bernard, «On se bouscule dans les centres d’artistes», Le Devoir, 24–25 janvier 1998, p.B14.
- Aquin, Stépane, «Michael A. Robinson et Kevin de Forest», Voir, 12–18 février 1998, p.55.
- Aquin, Stéphane, «Guide musées et galeries. Centres d’artistes et autres centres d’exposition», Voir, 15-21 janvier 1998, p.25.

Lorraine Simms
From March 5th 1998 to April 11th 1998
Conte de jours

"The human face is an empty force, a field of death."
- Artonin Artaud

In this installation I juxtapose a series of self portraits with excerpts from the writings of my paternal grandmother. Here, paintings and writings mirror each other, as both my grandmother and I have compiled personal records - inventories - of daily experience. Projecting her writings and lists onto the gallery walls, I transcribe the marks of my grandmother's hand as the sign of both her visibility and invisibility. Using a pocket mirror I explore and record the disposition of my face, endeavoring to grasp the slippery passage of time. These observations, inscribed within different speaking positions and discursive traditions, chart the different forms genealogy assumes. For this moment our contrasting identities, shaped by location, inheritances and social conditions, become closely entwined. In this work, subjective experience is embodied and expressed in actions that perpetually form, invent and change identity.

Lorraine Simms is an artist and teacher who lives and works in Montreal. She obtained her master's degree from Concordia University, where she currently teaches. Her work has been exhibited both locally and nationally, and she has curated several exhibitions. In 1996 her installations were included in two group exhibitions: "Trans/mission", at Galerie La Centrale and "Les occupantes", an apartment based exhibition sponsored by Venus Fly Trap Collective. In 1997 her painting series, Nomenclature, was shown at Galerie Sans Nom in Moncton, New Brunswick, as part of a two-person exhibition. Recently, her works have been exhibited at Galerie Luz in Montréal and Archive Gallery in Toronto.

- Aquin, Stéphane, «L’art de vivre», Voir, 26 mars – 1 avril 1998, p.77.
- Lehmann, Henry, «Photo exhibition by Evergon more chic than cheeky», The Gazette, 28 mars 1998, p.J6.

Randall Finnerty, Euan Macdonald, Cathy Sisler
From March 5th 1998 to April 11th 1998
Fin de siècle : Le souci

Curator : François Dion

The "Fin de siècle" series comprises four exhibitions addressing, through different themes, various aspects of today’s culture. The whole series is grounded in a reflection on recent artistic production and the work of the curator as both exhibition producer and critical analyst. The four exhibitions will take place over a two-year period.

''Le Souci'' (Worry) focuses on a particular state of mind resulting from the primeval anxiety of being related to the world. Anxiety is, first and foremost, self-anxiety and inevitably about oneself in the world and with others. The three selected artists question this relation to the world in different ways : through a sense of nature, the experience of art and from the pespective of the social being. The works produce an effect similar to introspection where the consciousness of being in the world triggers reflection. The world returns our image and worries us. What we see might be staring back at us. This is the source of our anxiety. Thus, the guest artists partake in a debate linked to the role of art and artists within a redefinition of the modern world and the human condition.

Go to publications catalogue.

Randall Finnerty studied at York University, Sheridan College and the Ontatio College of Art before moving to Montréal. His drawings were shown in two solo exhibitions in Montréal in May 1997 and September 1995, as well as in a group show at Maison de la Culture Frontenac, also in 1997. He is currently working at the National Film Board.

Euan Macdonald was born in Scotland. He studied at the Alberta College of Art and the Ontario College of Art. Among his solo exhibitions, “Based on a True Story” was presented at the Art Gallery of Ontario. His work was also shown at the Koffler Gallery, the Birganart Gallery and the Robert Birch Gallery in Toronto. Euan Macdonald lives and works in Toronto.

Cathy Sisler was born in the United States. She lived in Toronto where she studied at the Ontario College of Art before moving to Montréal en 1992. She holds a master’s degree in visual arts from Concordia University. Cathy Sisler has shown her work in several artist and exhibition centres in Canada, including Articule, La Centrale, Oboro and the Saidye Bronfman Centre in Montréal, YYZ in Toronto and the Western Front in Vancouver. In December 1997, her work was presented at the Centre d’art contemporain de Basse-Normandie in France.

François Dion is a critic and a curator. He has worked with various cultural organizations in Montréal and is co-publisher of CUBE. He has organized, among other exhibitions, “Emprunts” (Galerie Vox) in 1995 and “Les Présents relatifs” (Quartier éphémère and Centre d’art contemporain de Rueil-Malmaison) in 1997.

Matts Leiderstam
From April 16th 1998 to May 23rd 1998
After Image / Returned : d'après le Printemps de Nicolas Poussin ou le Paradis terrestre, 1664

Urban intervention: painting left in a Montreal public park cruising
Projection of the painting location inside the gallery.

In gay cruising there has always been an element of secrecy, hidden codes one has to learn in order to understand. This is also something particularly strong in art history. If one looks closer at paintings, for example the portrayal of the ideal landscape, the genre- and Victorian paintings, one can find layers of symbols and hidden meanings where sexuality is co-creator. It is not explicit, but concealed inside other types of narratives: titles, literary themes, etc. In cruising as in all forms of flirting the gaze is the main tool to give a sign of approval. One aspect of my work deals with this erotic moment, focusing on when you are looking at a painting for the first time and when the painting is looking back at you.

I connect different moments of the history of images by making an after image. I copy or paraphrase a painting or an object, using this to make site specific, subtle yet subversive installations, sometimes presented within the context of the museum where I also use paintings or objects from the collection. In my work I ask myself questions about the painting or the object, about the artist, the collector and about the spectator.

Matts Leiderstam lives and works in Malm̦ and Stockholm, Sweden. He was apprentice potter at R̦rstrands AB in Lidk̦ping and holds a B.A. in Arts Education from the Stockholm University College of Arts, Crafts and Design. Leiderstam is interested in codes of representation, revisiting masterpieces from the history of painting, in particular through his work with collections. His work with quotation proposes a new look at genre and landscape painting by modifying the poses of the male subjects so that they look directly at the viewer. His work has been exhibited in Sweden, across Europe and the United States. His group exhibitions include "Transpositions", at the South African National Gallery in Cape Town, Studio Visit, "The Artist Studio" at the Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum in Rotterdam and "Deposition РContemporary Swedish Art in Venice" at the Venice Biennale in 1997. In 1996, his work was shown at the Cubitt Gallery in London, England, and he also participated in the 10th Sydney Biennale entitled "Jurassic Technologies Revenant".

- Lehmann, Henry, «Exhibit offers portraits that avoid our eyes», The Gazette, 9 mai 1998, p.J6.

Patriciu Calimente
From April 16th 1998 to May 23rd 1998
Double Mary

In my work, I re/construct situations which make the viewer consider the nature of different social and cultural positions as they are reflected within various architectural settings ( museums, galleries, alternatives spaces). Having a Romanian background, the work touches on issues of cultural identity, displacement and one's expectations in the context of North American culture.

By using contemporary industrial materials such as fibreglass and aluminium, Double Mary mimics the mass produced object in the form of a triptych. The fibreglass statuettes are replicas of a Virgin Mary, a religious found item which is already a duplicate. The gesture of the figurines, one duplicate Mary looking to another as no "original" exists, is central when interpreting the work. The mass produced surrogate of hope turns away from the viewer to contemplate her "mirror image". Ultimately we ask ourselves : Is this Mary able to protect us? Is her numinous quality retained?

Double Mary registers social and historic conditions, looking at spirituality in a commodity culture and inviting speculation about the relationship between kitsch and the expression of faith. The work becomes critical of the status quo yet at the same time shares a complicity. The concept of "authenticity" is subordinate to the means of mass production, implying a secularisation of the icon. The gesture of removing a triptych from the altar space of the church and placing it in the gallery, alludes to a lost mythology. The questions that the piece address are multilayered. Is this a deconstruction of a religious artifact? or a reconstruction in a new context?

Patriciu Calimente was born in Romania and came to Canada in 1984. His academic studies were done at the University of Windsor (BFA 1990), York University (MFA 1992) and University of Toronto (B.Ed 1996). He lives and works in Toronto as an artist and educator. Calimente's selected group of exhibitions include Art Gallery of Ontario, Time Base Gallery, Institute of Chicago School of Art, Budapest Academy of Fine Arts and selected solo exhibitions at Pitesti Museum of Art, Romania and interventions at George Pompidou Centre, Paris. His work has been acquired through various public and private collections including York Civic Centre and Schulich School of Business- York University, TD Bank Tower, Toronto.

- Lehmann, Henry, «Exhibit offers portraits that avoid our eyes», The Gazette, 9 mai 1998, p.J6.

Janet Werner
From September 10th 1998 to October 17th 1998

Janet Werner's recent paintings are a significant departure from her earlier work both in scale and theme. While her earlier paintings and installations sought to represent the silent process of thought, in this work it is the face of the thinking subject which is turned toward the viewer. The current work is a series of invented portraits which referencethe decayed genre of classical portrait painting (subsumed by photography and video in the contemporary world) but departs from that tradition both in process and intent. Her portraits are of imagined figures rather than actual people which nevertheless uncannily remind us of people we have known. Though employing the exaggerated features and fixed expressions of cartoon figures, they diverge from the stereotypical cartoon subject frenetically engaged with an exterior world of action and events. Instead, these figures look inward to a psychological space or stare fixedly at some invisible exterior action. The viewer is left with an uncertainty about who they are and what they want. Werner's preoccupation, however, is not with portraiture but with the act of seeing - with the condition of the figure as both subject and object, looker and looked at. In the one-to-one encounter with the paintings, the viewer too is implicated in the process of looking, and the voyeuristic act of viewing itself becomes an integral part of the subject of the work.

Janet Werner was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba. She received her MFA degree from Yale University, School of Art and Architecture, in 1987, and currently lives and works in Saskatoon where she teaches in the Department of Art and Art History, University of Saskatchewan. Werner has had exhibitions of her work at the Robert Birch Gallery (Toronto), the Southern Alberta Art Gallery (Lethbridge), Plug In (Winnipeg), Mercer Union (Toronto), the Charles Scott Gallery (Vancouver), La Centrale (Montréal), the Mendel Art Gallery (Saskatoon), and Garnet Press Gallery (Toronto). An exhibition of her work is scheduled to open at the Art Gallery of Mississauga in March 1999.

- Mark, Lisa Gabrielle, «Getting our hands dirty», C Magazine, no 59, septembre–novembre 1998, pp.18–22.
- «Best Bets», The Gazette, 25 septembre 1998, p.D1.
- «Fast Forward», Canadian Art, automne 1998, p.28.
- «Janet Werner», Voir, 1–7 octobre 1998, p.62.
- «Trust», Mix Magazine, vol. 24, no 2, automne 1998, p.22.

Rachel Echenberg
From September 10th 1998 to October 17th 1998
Dérouler : elle perd le fil

It was easy to forget her small size because of the extent to which she managed to spread herself. In fact her 5' build had come to appear rather huge. She left traces wherever she went.In merging performance into sculpture, activity begins to take over static form, objects tell stories and presence is felt where it may not normally exist. It is through this practice that Rachel Echenberg explores ideas of invisibility in socially constructed spaces. Specifically the difficulties of crossing urban thresholds and questions of public and private transformations that are raised in this liminal passage. The exaggerated body Echenberg creates in her work can expand, retain, blend into itself or its surroundings. Through this body a social body emerges that we relate to in its constantly shifting and contradictory roles.

The installation "Dérouler: elle perd le fil" is in a constant state of becoming unravelled; by the end of the exhibition it will no longer exist as the same form from which it started, but as a trace of its collapse from structure. Rolls of material fall from the ceiling and pile up over the floor. The work attempts to attach itself directly into the room as a site (or sight?) of solidity, but, while in a continual state of transformation, it is simultaneously undoing its own form.

She was is an accompanying book that tells a short story of a woman who seems to leave innocent, and seemingly mundane, traces of herself everywhere. The extent of this spreading has caused the disappearance of her outer form and, in turn, the creation of a very minor legend. Much like the unraveling room, the story speaks of the vulnerability of bodies searching for solidity within a social structure while ignoring their own inherent fluidity.

Rachel Echenberg is a multidisciplinary artist who studied at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. Her work, based in object and text, ranges from performance, video, sculpture and costume. She has performed and exhibited in both solo and group exhibitions since 1992 in Quebec and Eastern Canada. Her solo performances have been included in several series: "See through performances" (1993), OO gallery, Halifax , 'J'y suis, J'y reste", La Centrale, Montréal (1994), "symposium ofperformance art" (1997), Struts Gallery, Calgary and "Counter Poses: re-imagining tableaux vivants" (1998), Oboro, Montréal. She has also taken part in sculpture residencies in Québec and the United States.

Mark Gomes
From October 29th 1998 to December 5th 1998

"bones" is the presentation of 27 sculptural specimens which refer to an imaginative space : a) architectural models? b) the skeletons of prehistoric reptiles? c) fantastical machinery? d) all of the above and none of the above. Each cardboard form easily shifts from one association to another. Their authoritative presentation and display confirm that they are definitely cultural products. The gallery appears to have become the site of an archaelogical dig or natural history museum. The viewer is encouraged to walk around the plinth, to see these specimens from all angles, establish relationships between them and with them. Like Dyan Marie writes, ''the mix of form categories develops a partnership of organic and constructed shapes. Organized on a random grid, an amoeba-like form stands next to an architectural detail is arranged in turn next to something that resembles a body part – some sculptures incorporating both organic and technical elements. In bringing organic and built forms together on a common ground of material and scale, categorical difference become less fixed.'' ( C Magazine, sept-nov. 1997)

Mark Gomes has previously used cardboard in his process, but in the preliminary stages, the sculpture would be finished in aluminium or wicker, for example. Here, Gomes has allowed the forms to remain in this state of potential while simultaneously asserting themselves as finished product.

- Miller, Marcus, «Tyrannosaurus», Hour, 12–18 novembre 1998, p.35.
- Mavrikakis, Nicolas, «La couleur du temps. Abstraction libre», Voir, 3–9 décembre 1998, p.99.

© Page couverture l Book cover, Fin de siècle, 2000.

Carmen Ruschiensky, Sylvain P. Cousineau
From October 29th 1998 to December 5th 1998
Fin de siècle : Contrordre

Curator: François Dion

"Contreordre" (Counterorder) adresses the important aspect of art as a construction, mental and material, contained and revealed. The possible meaning of art, or its absence, is mediated through a singular structure (in these cases appearing as "abstract") constructed with material and intellectual elements. Art can also be without materiality or "meaning," therefore, how do we accept to consider or try to understand it?

 "Contreordre" (Counterorder) brings together works that imply, by their physical presence and their possible signification, there is a previous order that has been questioned and redefined afterward. This previous order is essential to the processes of recognition of the artistic aspect of the works as it indicates points of reference in terms of aesthetics and semantics. The works put forward the reordering (let say "of the world") in a post-structuralist manner emphasizing on individual subjectivity and agency, history and different peripheral parametres. Mediation continues to be an issue here but it extends beyond the question of language and takes in consideration the effects due to displacements and combinations and abstraction. A political understanding of Counterorder underlines the close relation of art and artistic action with authority and its counterpart. The title refers to the ability of the artist to make use of the world and rearange it in a way that is more suitable. Art may be considered as a political, philosophical or social statement. In doing so, it refers to power as an ability artists hold to respond to the authoritarian dominant culture and politic. In this context, artworks are inhibitors which hold back easy consensus promoting an understanding of things prior to their experience.

Go to publications catalogue.

Carmen Ruschiensky studied at the University of Regina and at Concordia University in Montreal. In 1997, she had individual exhibits at Neutral Ground (Regina) and Galerie Clark (Montreal). Previously, she presented her work in various group shows at the Saidye Bronfman Centre (Montreal), Musée du Québec (Québec City) and Articule (Montreal). In the summer of 1998, she was invited to participate in the "Symposium de la Nouvelle Peinture" (Baie-Saint-Paul) and in the large multi-site event called "Artifice" (Montreal).

Sylvain Cousineau was born in Arvida in 1949 and now lives in Hull (Québec). He has exhibited in major museums in Québec and Canada as well as important galleries. His latest solo exhibitions include the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal, Galerie L'Autre équivoque (Ottawa), Galerie Pink (Montreal) and the Canadian Embassy in Paris. Sylvain Cousineau teaches at the University of Ottawa.

François Dion is a critic and a curator. He has worked with various cultural organizations in Montréal and is co-publisher of CUBE. He has organized, among other exhibitions, "Emprunts" (Galerie Vox) in 1995 and "Les présents relatifs" (Quartier Éphémère and Centre d’art contemporain de Rueil-Malmaison) in 1997. He is currently the director of Gallery 101 in Ottawa.

- Mavrikakis, Nicolas, «La couleur du temps. Abstraction libre», Voir, 3–9 décembre 1998, p.99.