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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

Electronic Reproduction Fees

Gwenaël Bélanger
From January 13th 2006 to February 18th 2006
Courir les rues

When one says of something that it is run of the mill — literally, court les rues, or “runs the street” —, we mean that it is ordinary, common, that we don’t even notice it any more. The expression also evokes the idea of coursing through, searching for something, as courir les bois or courir la ville [running/searching through the woods, the city]. I therefore decided to literally run (or ride) through the streets with the aim of revealing elements of the decor that surrounds us and goes unnoticed. With a 35 mm camera equipped with a motor and transformed for the occasion into a mini-kinematograph, I wanted to seize the notion of movement and time. The chosen point of view isn’t head-on, showing what we’re going toward, but lateral, parallel to one’s trajectory, showing precisely what we usually miss. The experience takes the form of long panoramic shots bearing witness to the variable distance travelled. As Ed Ruscha did in Every Building on the Sunset Strip (1966), the image shows an impossible point of view, as if it wanted to stretch the borders of the frame. Strange perceptions then emerge, of crisscrossing distorted perspectives, of conflicting vanishing points, a movement that makes foreground elements disappear and the background come to the fore.
- Gwenaël Bélanger

Gwenaël Bélanger lives and works in Montreal. His work was presented in a solo exhibition at centre des arts actuels Skol (Montreal), Galerie Graff (Montreal), and Engramme (Quebec City). He also participated in several group exhibitions, including the triennial L’art qui fait boom! (2003) and Manif d’art 3 (Manifestation internationale d’art de Québec, 2005), where he garnered the Prix du public. He is currently completing a master’s in visual arts at Université du Québec à Montréal. He is represented by Galerie Graff.


- «Fast Forward», Canadian Art, vol. 22, no 4, hiver 2005, p.22.
- Bouchard, Marie-Ginette, «Perpectives Fantasmagoriques», Vie des Arts, no 201, hiver 2005-2006, p.22.
- Delgado, Jérôme, «Faire les trottoirs», La Presse, 3 février 2006, p.9.
- Mavrikakis, Nicolas, «Gwenaël Bélanger», Voir, 12 janvier 2006, p.49.

Romeo Gongora
From January 13th 2006 to February 18th 2006
Logiques de l'arrachement

On the one hand, a man, slumped in pain, keeps vigil over the body of a dead woman; on the other, a teenage girl confronts her mother. "Logiques de l’arrachement" brings together individuals trying to free themselves of the emotional weight that confines them.

The videos Acte de foi and Fort-Da [O-o-o-o, A-a-a-a] invite actors to delve into emotional situations articulated around the process of destruction / repair / creation / recovery. This sequence lends structure to the experience of tearing away, at the centre of the themes of mourning and matricide broached in the staging of the loss, real or symbolic, of the mother. In the first video, the recreation of the mother’s death, by a woman simulating death and a man reliving the pain of mourning, reproduces the passage from destruction to rebirth. In the second, a young girl’s surge of unrepressed hate broaches the act of matricide: through a prohibited gesture, she transgresses the maternal yoke and begins her transition from adolescence to adulthood. In its turn, the activation of the cycle of destruction / recovery summons the potential for resurrection that resides in representation, and ushers a dialogue between falsity and truth.

This project follows up on the thematic and formal explorations presented in Les lois de l’indifférence (2004-2005), where the actors, undergoing an experience of otherness, become mirrors of themselves. These issues of identity are overlaid by a social dimension that reveals a Latin-American diaspora and prefigures an immigrant culture. These reflections are shadowed by the mix of pictorial, photographic and video languages made possible in the tension between fixed and moving images.
- Roméo Gongora

Romeo Gongora is a young artist living in Montreal. He completed a master’s degree in visual and media arts at Université du Québec à Montréal in 2005. His video practice explores a mix of pictorial, photographic and video languages in stagings that are imbued with lyrical realism. In 2006-2007, his work will be presented at Centre Culturel de Rencontre, Abbaye de Neumünster (Luxembourg), Expression, Centre d’exposition de Saint-Hyacinthe (Quebec), and Gallery 44, Centre for Contemporary Photography (Toronto). He will also participate in the outdoor group project "Habiter", organized by Vu, Centre de diffusion et de production de la photographie (Quebec City), in summer 2006.

- Bouchard, Marie-Ginette, «Perpectives Fantasmagoriques», Vie des Arts, no 201, hiver 2005-2006, p.22.

Jean-Maxime Dufresne
From March 3rd 2006 to April 8th 2006

Pitched into the midst of a reality fiction, several individuals wander through various areas of the city, their trajectory closely followed by the camera’s eye. The disruptive adversities of winter transform the situation into something of a trial as the subjects test the weather shifts and silent intervals of a city in the grip of a storm. And as they undertake their slow traversals, panning the altered landscapes and weather-marked topographies, anonymity, isolation, and wandering become inextricably manifest in the criss-crossed cityscape in which they negotiate their presence, their apparent quest for shelter echoed in observations on the transformed spaces.

"Trackers" produces a “mental geography” of these passages by freely revisiting certain mediating devices in sports imagery and adventure documentaries (slow-motion breakdown, objective camera). Instead of the complex points of view frequently employed in such productions, I attempt to reveal an imagination that lingers on incidental happenings along the way, pushing the limits of low-tech capture in the field, while intentionally blurring forms of authentication of experience. The attention given to physical movement, evinced in the treatment of video and sound, then reveals a whole series of frictions and moments of inertia. In the gallery, the installation makes visitors a witness to these trekkings, draws them into the process of an action of which they can sense the rhythm connected with the physical effort.

Treading the snow-covered ground, tracing, breaking one’s momentum, observing, recording, tracking...
– Jean-Maxime Dufresne

The artist would like to thank Virginie Laganière, Thomas Ouellet Fredericks, Maude Smith Gagnon as well as the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec for its support.

Jean-Maxime Dufresne holds a bachelor’s degree in architecture and will be completing a master’s in interactive media, in 2006, at Université du Québec à Montréal. Themes of psychogeography and technological mediation continue to nourish his work, which touches on modes of experiencing urban and social territories and on the transformations that shape them. In this connection, he recently created the video and sound project "Rest Area" (Interstices / Galerie Art-Mûr, 2004), plus the multipartite projects "Hot Spots" (Dare-Dare, 2005) and "Surfaces de réparation" (AXENÉO7, 2003), which he co-produced with Virginie Laganière. Since 2002, he’s been a member of the urban exploration workshop SYN-, with whom he participated in the "Hypothèse d’insertions" and "Prospectus" interventions in Hull-Gatineau and in Montreal’s inner city (AXENÉO7, CCA extra-muros). At the same time, Dufresne helps organize the "Périphériques" events.

Jeanie Riddle
From March 3rd 2006 to April 8th 2006
Floating Floors... or Maybe Just a Pile of Love

Re-working the main space at Optica using simple forms, ready-mades, and non-desirable consumer goods and mishaps, Jeanie Riddle redefines a process of arrangement very much a part of hard modernism à la Judd, Hollingsworth, and Newman.

Typically her materials of choice are found at the hardware store. Here, the paint chip is used as a kind of paintbrush. And the application of faux wood grain panels, mat tack, and house paint — hopelessly failed from a practical point of view — is always considered and carefully put up or painted.

Thriving on the process of installing the materials, Jeanie Riddle cares for them, adding painted surface after painted surface, sometimes scratching into it, then protectively covering it in plastic, and constantly cleaning, constantly trying to fix its messiness.

This feminization disrupts the seamlessness of the environment, creating a purposeful dysfunction of the materials and of the space they inhabit. It leaves open the activity of inserting the individual into the drama of the everyday, the in-betweens of the project.

"Floating floors... or maybe just a pile of love" is a site-specific project that shifts freely between strict formalism and the dramatic potential of a set. In the gallery, six low platforms serve as frames for adding something that is between painting, sculpture and arrangement. They act as stations or pauses on this “new” floor site. One platform is left empty, as if ready for action, inciting viewers to become part of the staging.

Riddle’s interest is not with monumental space, but rather with sites of the real, of the banal, of the feminized, in short, with spaces women are typically left to reflect upon and to which she assigns content that relates back to minimalism proper. It is this trajectory that helps conjure concrete evidence of a past for this rendition of a present — the (female) artist was here.

Jeanie Riddle lives and works in Montreal. She obtained an MFA from Concordia University in 2005 and was the recipient of the inaugural Yves Gaucher Award (2002). Her work in painting has been shown in Montreal (Rad'a, Pratt & Whitney, and Studio Orange), and in San Francisco (Somar and Natoma Space). She has shown collaborative work at Centre des arts actuel SKOL and at Alley Jaunt in Toronto. She has recently shown solo installation work at The New Gallery 15+ project in Calgary, and in May 2005, she received a full fellowship to The Vermont Studio Center. She is currently preparing for an upcoming solo exhibition at YYZ, Toronto (May 2006).

From April 28th 2006 to June 3rd 2006
Effet de mode et autres pirateries du genre


I’m bgl. There are three of me. I am pleased to invite you to our solo exhibition "Effet de mode et autres pirateries du genre". Inspired by trends in contemporary art, this recent work presents four large-scale laminated photos under plexiglass. With this radical departure from installations, I hope to finally satisfy the collectors, gallery owners and other art lovers who’ve been nervously foraging in the coarse tracts of contemporary art, for I fear the end of the grant is fast approaching. And you . . .

I was born, by accident, in 1996, of an uncertain friendship between J. Bilodeau, S. Giguère, and N. Laverdière, during their heady studies in the lucrative field of visual art. Surprisingly, obtaining a single diploma out of three opened doors for me: galleries, artist centres, museums, local events throughout the province. This is where I learnt the trade, and where I met the inspiring family of Quebec art, which I quietly promote abroad. I do the best I can in the inscrutable art jungle. I’m having a blast, and hope it goes on for a while, because, for all three of me, the rummaging is swell.

Happy spring,


- Hellman, Michel, «Hors des sentiers battus», Le Devoir, 21-22 janvier 2006, p.E8.
- Mavrikakis, Nicolas, «BGL», Voir, 12 janvier 2006, p.48.
- Noël de Tilly, Ariane, «Expositions : BGL», Ciel variable, no 73, septembre 2006, p.36.
- Pocreau, Yann, «À l’attaque! BGL, Thierry Marceau», Espace Sculpture, no 77, automne 2006, pp.16-21.
- Redfern, Christine, «Through the Looking Glass», Canadian Art, vol. 23, no 3, automne 2006, pp.83-85.

Daniel Olson
From April 28th 2006 to June 3rd 2006
Beside Myself | Hors de moi

- Marcel Duchamp

Je cherche en même temps
l’éternel et l’éphémère.
- Georges Perec

For twenty years, Daniel Olson has been presenting works of ambiguous intention. An anachronistic film star peering through the wrong end of the spyglass, he reveals a world with a distinct carnival atmosphere, but where an air of death hangs over everything. At heart a poet, and a thief, Olson plays at working and works at playing in pursuit of the marvellous and the ungraspable. His works are a poetry of almost nothing, simple gestures imbued with extreme significance, small explosions where very little happens—but in an interesting way.

In this exhibition, two new video projects continue Olson’s private investigations of ghosts and doubles. In Beside Myself, two ghost-like versions of the artist at work and at play on a typewriter and a toy piano—or is it the other way around?— come together in an office. In Olson-Welles, he attempts the impossible feat of inhabiting the past, something he has successfully failed at twice before by positioning himself within projected images of his father and of himself as a child. This time he has chosen Orson Welles, the director of one of the greatest films of all time, and arguably the biggest failure of the twentieth century.

It’s not that Olson believes in the supernatural—he is an obstinate non-believer in almost everything—nor that he considers himself the equal of Welles or the other great figures with whom he “collaborates.” But if you’re bound to fail—and we’re all going down eventually—you might as well do it in an interesting way.
— Leo Danielson

Leo Danielson is an occasional writer who lives in New York and Paris.

Daniel Olson is an artist who lives and works in Montréal, where he is said to be working on his famous disappearing act.

- Mellema, Tatiana, «Daniel Olson : Beside Myself», C Magazine, no 91, automne 2006, pp.54-55.

David Dupont
From August 1st 2006 to September 30th 2006
Résidence de recherche jeune création - Montréal

François Morelli
From September 9th 2006 to October 14th 2006
Home Wall Drawing. L'art de manger

"Home Wall Drawing. L’art de manger" went through several stages. The process began with the idea of barter: a site-specific work offered in exchange for a home-made meal. From January to June 2004, Morelli was concurrently in residence at the Paris Cité international des arts — the Canada Council for the Arts studio — and at the École Nationale Supérieure d’Art in Limoges. During this period, he proposed creating a stencil mural drawing for those who desired it, in a space of their choice in their home. In exchange, hosts prepared him one of their favorite dishes. Exchanges were set up randomly, by word of mouth and through promotional fliers designed and distributed by the artist in various public spaces.

In Limoges, he continued his work on home space and ornamentation by crafting a set of porcelain table settings. Rarely serving as a motif, ink stamps are still much in use today by manufacturers or craftsmen, who place their signature on the underside of an item for identification purposes. Morelli, however, uses the stamp as decor, ennobling the act of marking a surface and covering it with drawings.

The process is encapsulated in the exhibition at Optica, which includes a “stamp-drawing” frieze print on paper, porcelain plates, and a sculpture. Documenting all twenty-two meals is a CD-Rom, thus including in the installation both the in situ work and the recipes bartered for it.

"Home Wall Drawing. L’art de manger" posits artistic activity as subject once again, reexamining the status of the art object, and form, both in their reception and in their dissemination. Interested in so-called minor and often marginalized forms of expression, Morelli attempts to give new life to artistic engagement, using ornamentation, dream material, ritual, and the everyday as premise for communication with the other.

The Mural Draw
With the purchase of the Home Wall Drawing CD-Rom for $20, five raffle tickets are provided in view of the draw for a mural produced by the artist.

Friday, September 29th
Les Journées de la culture
Walkthroughs with the artist
Exhibitions at OPTICA and Joyce Yahouda* galleries.
Phone reservations are required for groups.

François Morelli concurrently has work on view at Joyce Yahouda Gallery

François Morelli lives and works in Montreal. After completing his bachelor’s degree in 1981, he left his home town and headed for New York, where he stayed until 1991, captivated by new art forms, including performance and conceptual approaches. During this period, he taught as associate professor at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and, from 1985 to 1989, at both the State University of New York and the City University of New York in Manhattan. Back in Montreal, he taught at Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières until 1996. Since then, he has joined the teaching staff at Concordia University. In the nineties, he exhibited regularly at Galerie Christiane Chassay, in Montreal, and at Horodner Romley Gallery, in New York (1993-1996). He has taken part in several national and international exhibitions, including the Biennale du Havre (2006), the Biennale de Montréal (2002), and ICI’s Walk Ways (2002), New York. Currently, he is represented by the Joyce Yahouda Gallery in Montreal. Besides the events/actions/performances on which his practice is founded, Morelli also indulges in drawing, sculpture, installation, and artists’ books.

- Black, Barbara, «Two shows, one artist», Concordia Journal, vol. 2, no 3, 12 octobre 2006, p.10.
- Crevier, Lyne, «S’incruster», Ici Montréal, 21-27 septembre 2006, p.50.
- Lehmann, Henry, «The soul in the object», The Gazette, 23 septembre 2006, p.E11.
- Tousignant, Isa, «Downtown», Hour, 12 octobre 2006.
- Viau, René, «De visu – Occupations des lieux», Le Devoir, 23-24 septembre 2006, p.E6.

Glenda León
From September 9th 2006 to October 14th 2006
Mar Interno (Inner Sea / Mer interne)

Cuban art at the beginning of the twenty-first century ventures into territory in which the distances between craft and experimentation, market and ideology, are not easily determined. Amid this ambiguity, León’s work emerges with a poetics reminiscent of the yoga maxim, “Live as if everything were important.” Such a stance situates her in a slippery and indeterminate space. Post-conceptual and post-minimal art form the backdrop for León’s constructions within an international art discourse. She approaches reality by going beyond appearances, in the manner of those who reject conceptual and minimal absolutisms. What she makes evident are the simple things that envelop us, slipping in between memories and oblivion, choices and destinies.

This mute and solitary trajectory, devoid of both constructive claim and formal complexity, has turned León into a narrator for whom things are described by their own determinations. The surroundings mingle with and invert their meanings.
Excerpts from "Overflying the ordinary enviroment", Magaly Espinosa, Bomb Magazine, no 82, NY, 2002-2003.

Here is all distance, and there it was breathing.
— Rainer Maria Rilke

There is an ignored longing for a state of freedom, for a feeling of belonging to the world. Sometimes art can be a little remark upon (remembrance, souvenir of?) this state, an intrinsic and long-hidden power. The power of imagination, the power of living, of belonging, and of being in harmony.
It is a rembembrance of our magical capacity to transform — and for being transformed.
— Glenda León

Glenda León would like to thank Ferran and Marisa Cano in Mallorca Spain.

Glenda León (Havana, 1976) belongs to a new generation of Cuban artists who benefit from international recognition far beyond the shores of Cuba. Her photographs, videos, and objects have been featured in numerous venues, including The Havana Biennial, The Mattress Factory (Pennsylvania), The Brooklyn Museum (NY), and The Armory Photography Show (NY). She is a recipient of the 2006-2007 DAAD Scholarship for Artists (Germany).

- Crevier, Lyne, «Cuba libre», Ici Montréal, 12-18 octobre 2006, p.52.

Catherine Ross
From November 4th 2006 to December 9th 2006
being here

Our magical link to the physical universe is an essential source of inspiration and exploration for video artists. Capturing the mysterious ways we connect to being here — or rendering the familiar mysterious — seems to make us feel better about the unexplainable that crops up in daily life. The medium’s increased accessibility and portability has allowed the video camera to become an everyday accessory, a ready tool for capturing snapshots of daily life, or documenting performances, interventions, and spontaneous interviews in the public domain. The artists in the exhibition explore the diverse potential of video as an artistic medium while conceptually playing with our certainty about reality. All of the works in the exhibition ask us to reconsider what we think we know.

The artists in the exhibition include: Adam Frelin (Albany, NY), Julie Lequin (Los Angeles, CA), Juan Recaman (New York, NY), Will Rogan (San Francisco, CA), Kerry Tribe (Los Angeles, CA/Berlin, Germany), and Siebren Versteeg (New York, NY).
– Catherine Ross

Catherine Ross is a New York based video artist whose work frames unconscious performances found in everyday life. "being here" is Ross’s first curatorial project. Her work has recently been exhibited in Brazil, in Finland, in Canada, and at several venues throughout the United States. Upcoming exhibitions and screenings include Artists Space (New York, NY), Hallwalls (Buffalo, NY), and a solo exhibition at Eastern Edge Gallery in Newfoundland. Ross attended the Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture in 2002, the Atlantic Center for the Arts in 2003, and was awarded a 2005 studio residency from The Marie Walsh Sharpe Art Foundation. She received her BA in studio art from Dartmouth College in 1994.

- Redfern, Christine, «The tables turn», Montreal Mirror, 9-11 novembre 2006, p.56.
- Redfern, Christine, «Hit List», Hour, 2-8 novembre 2006, p.4.

Kevin Yates
From November 4th 2006 to December 9th 2006
This Room Has No Walls

Picnic tables are nondescript objects, usually built from dimensional lumber. For the most part, they are very similar in form and function and have little importance aesthetically. They are both private and public objects, and provide places of escape, relaxation, contemplation, and longing, where families bond, courtships take place, and breakups occur. They take the domestic setting outdoors and provide an illusion of private, protected space. At night they have a darker side, as their park surroundings can become scary and dangerous. They are often carved on with messages of love and hate. In winter, they are stacked for protection from the elements. They do not hold the same value as indoor furniture, and never seem to acquire antique status.

The installation consists of 1153 miniature picnic tables stacked one upon the other to form a 7 foot cube. In this configuration they are both monumental and diminutive, both mundane and sublime, as the multiplicity of their repeated forms blurs their original function and shapes them into an abstract architectural structure.

Far below and almost lost in relation to the tables, sits a small-scale female figure. She leans, her ear to the wall, as if listening in on some unheard conversation.
– Kevin Yates

Kevin Yates (Owen Sound, Ontario) currently resides in Oregon where he is a professor in the sculpture department at the University of Oregon. His work has been exhibited across Canada, and internationally, most recently at the Susan Hobbs Gallery in Toronto, the Jordan Schnitzer Museum in Oregon, and the Armory Show in New York.

- Crevier, Lyne, «Bouffée d’air», ICI Montréal, 16–22 novembre 2006, p.59.
- Hellman, Michel, «Poétique de la table à pique-nique», Le Devoir, 18–19 novembre 2006, p.E8.
- Lehmann, Henry, «Artists get in touch with their inner GPS», The Montreal Gazette, 2 décembre 2006.
- Redfern, Christine, «The tables turn», Montreal Mirror, 9-11 novembre 2006, p.56.
- Tousignant, Isa, «Art about town», Hour, 9-15 novembre 2006.
- Tousignant, Isa, «Hit List», Hour, 2-8 novembre 2006, p.4.