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Season 2005 – 2006

Yechel Gagnon Vide et Plein Chantal Gervais Between Self and Other
John Heward and Sylvia Safdie Heads Annual Student Show
John Drew Munro Tiny Builders Virginia McClure Retrospective
Maria Chronopoulos Mapping the Invisible Collective Visions – 60th Anniversary A Fundraising Exhibition and Sale
Vanessa Yanow Chariots of Desire Ikebana Floral Expressions
Michael Smith Wresting Vision Elena Willis Naturally Human
Mondays 9 to 12 A Group Drawing Exhibition at the McClure Gallery
 Yechel Gagnon - Vide et Plein

Yechel Gagnon Vide et Plein

Vernissage: Thursday, Sept. 8 at 6 pm
Exhibition: September 9 to October 1, 2005

Exhibition Press Release:

The McClure Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of new works by Montreal artist Yechel Gagnon. Vide et Plein establishes a dialogue between a series of plywood bas-reliefs and ink drawings. The title of the exhibition refers to an important book on Chinese pictorial language, and marks the artist’s concern with the relationship between Occidental and Oriental tradition.
Gouging a basic sheet of plywood with chisel knives, sanders, routers and grinders, Yechel Gagnon creates pictorial spaces evoking topographical forms and fictional mappings. Using several types of perspectives interwoven with one another, the artist creates images echoing imaginary landscapes. Next to these rich and complex wood engravings, stand delicate gestural ink drawings on paper. The contrast between the warm colors of the wood, it’s strength and size, and the blackness of the ink on fragile paper, creates an environment of contemplation specific to Gagnon’s work.

Yechel Gagnon was born in Montreal where she lives and works. Gagnon received an M.F.A from Concordia University in 2000 and graduated from the Ontario College of Art and Design in 1998. She has exhibited her works in commercial galleries, artist-run centres and museums across Canada. Gagnon has received grants from the Canada Council for the Arts and the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec. Her work is found in private and public collections such as the Osler, Harcourt & Hoskin Collection. Yechel Gagnon is represented by the Moore Gallery in Toronto.

 John Heward and Sylvia Safdie - Heads

John Heward and Sylvia Safdie Heads
Guest Curator: James D. Campbell

Vernissage: Thursday, October 6 at 6 pm
Exhibition: October 7 to 29, 2005

Exhibition Press Release:

The McClure Gallery is pleased to present Heads, a duo exhibition of works by John Heward and Sylvia Safdie, curated by James D. Campbell. Both are well known Montreal artists with extensive exhibition careers. John Heward is best known for the strongly experimental nature of his practice over the last thirty years; Sylvia Safdie works in several disciplines: drawing, painting, installation, sculpture and video.
While Heward and Safdie have often created collaborative pieces in sculpture and installation, this exhibition offers a more intimate take on their respective bodies of work that share thematic concerns, yet maintain their distinct and singular voices. As a counterpoint to his gestural abstractions on canvas, Heward will present a series of expressive self-portraits in ink and pigment on canvas sheets, unstretched and stapled directly to the wall. Safdie’s evocative head images are rendered on oversize sheets of mylar in earth, pigment and oil. Safdie’s images are powerfully ambiguous, suggesting both life and death.

John Heward was born in 1934 in Montreal. After completing a B.A. at Bishop’s University, he worked in book publishing in London, U.K. He returned to Montreal and began painting in 1965. Since then he has exhibited in Canada, the USA, Europe and China. He is also recognized as a percussionist/drummer in the area of contemporary music and free jazz. He is self-taught in both visual art and music.

Sylvia Safdie was born in Aley, Lebanon, in 1942 and spent her early years in Haifa, Israel. She moved to Canada with her family in 1953. She completed her Bachelor of Fine Arts at Concordia University in 1975. Sylvia Safdie has exhibited extensively both nationally and internationally. Her recent solo exhibitions include The Inventories of Invention (Galerie d’art Leonard & Bina Ellen, Montréal, 2003), The Testimony of Trees (Firehouse Gallery, Burlington, Vermont, 2004) and The International Biennale of Contemporary Art (National Gallery in Prague, 2005). Sylvia Safdie and John Heward live and work together in Montreal.

John Drew Munro - Tiny Builders

John Drew Munro Tiny Builders

Vernissage: Thursday, November 3 at 6 pm
Exhibition: November 4 to 26, 2005

Exhibition Press Release:

The McClure Gallery is pleased to present Tiny Builders, a solo exhibition of recent encaustic paintings on wood panels by Montreal artist John Drew Munro.
Since 2002 John Drew Munro’s work has focused on the smallest of geometric forms: the dot. While quite insignificant in its singularity, the dot gains power through numbers – in repetition it can be arranged to form intricate networks of constellations, patterns and clusters. Dots create fragile designs that simultaneously construct and destruct a system with its own built-in entropy.
Munro’s technique appears deceptively simple: a layer of encaustic is poured over a prepared wood surface. Using both a small chisel and an electric drill, the surface is incised with holes of varying sizes. The holes are then filled and scraped back to a level surface. This process is repeated until an aesthetic equilibrium is achieved. The wax surface becomes a form of solid light while the dots may be considered as matter constructing itself.
The title of the exhibition was lifted from an early twentieth century children’s science book – specifically a chapter dedicated to the wonders of microphotography, still in its infancy. The grainy photos, coupled with the author’s enthusiastic descriptions, stimulated the production of these paintings.

John Drew Munro was born in 1954 in Montreal, where he lives and works. He studied at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts School from 1976 to 1977 and later received a BFA from Concordia University in 1981. Munro presented his work in a solo exhibition at the Evanston Art Center in Chicago in 1995 and in duo exhibitions at Galerie Luz (1999, 1998) and the Christchurch Cathedral (1996) in Montreal. His work was recently included in a group exhibition at Galerie Sandra Goldie (2005) in Montreal. John Drew Munro’s work is included in private and corporate collections in Canada and the US.

Maria Chronopoulos - Mapping the Invisible
Vanessa Yanow - Chariots of Desire

Maria Chronopoulos Mapping the Invisible
Vanessa Yanow Chariots of Desire

Vernissage: Thursday, December 1 at 6 pm
Exhibition: December 2 to 22, 2005

Exhibition Press Release:

The McClure Gallery is pleased to present two solo exhibitions by emerging Montreal artists Maria Chronopoulos and Vanessa Yanow.
In the small gallery, Maria Chronopoulos’ Mapping the invisible is an exhibition of recent prints, drawings and installation. Chronopoulos’ work explores landscape and the body as references to the passage of life and the boundaries between our world and the unknown.
The artist combines images of living organisms from nature – birds, dragonflies, branches and roots – with those of human body parts such as hair, hands and feet. Both traditional techniques (etching, lithography, monotype) and new printmaking processes (photogravure, photolithography, digital print) are integrated into her work.
In the large gallery, painter, mixed media and glass artist Vanessa Yanow conjures up compelling artworks that playfully critique consumer culture and the industry of food. The works are humorous, intricately ornamented musings on these plasticized concepts; both two-dimensional and sculptural works contrast the tactility of handcrafted materials with the prefab aesthetics of the artist’s inspiration.
For instance, Yanow takes the coldly manufactured icon of the supermarket shopping cart and transforms it into a lace-like and ghostly image in Six Thousand Three Hundred And Sixty Seven Price Tags. In another work, New Devotion, the icon reappears as a delicate flame-worked miniature glass shopping cart perched like a shimmering jewel on an overstuffed pillow covered in yet more price tags.

Maria Chronopoulos graduated from Concordia University with a BFA in 2001. Her work has been shown in Canada, France, Italy and Australia in both solo and group exhibitions. Maria Chronopoulos is a member of Atelier Circulaire, an artist-run centre dedicated to printmaking where she is also the coordinator.

Vanessa Yanow graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design with a BFA in 1998. She recently participated in group exhibitions in New York and France. Vanessa Yanow has travelled in the USA, France and West Africa to study various traditional craft techniques.

Michael Smith - Wresting Vision

Michael Smith Wresting Vision

Vernissage: Thursday, January 5 at 6 pm
Exhibition: January 6 to 28, 2006

Exhibition Press Release:

The McClure Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of recent large-format landscape paintings by Michael Smith. In Smith’s work, the landscape is transformed by the complex interaction of cultural, political, psychological and social events that surround us. The artist’s work references a rich tradition of painting, from English landscape to contemporary abstraction.
Wresting Vision features three paintings exhibited for the first time: The Burial, Cradle of Words and Constellation Breaking. A selection of collages, created as studies for the final paintings, are also included.
The Burial refers to the landscape as a symbol of transformation. Here, the figures, broken earth, sky and trees appear in a state of flux. They seem to arrive and fall away from sight, captured only for a moment before disintegrating into a surface of fractured brushstrokes. Cradle of Words acts as a ground onto which spoken words settle or fall. Notations from the artist’s own diary are embedded within the painting. Constellation Breaking evokes the brittle light of an imagined constellation ‘touching down’ or splintering a tree into shards and embers of light.
“Painting, for me, is a manifestation of a process of wresting an illusion of light into matter, materiality – its mark-making offers traces of hand and time.” Michael Smith

Born in the UK, Michael Smith has lived in Quebec since 1978. He completed a Master of Fine Arts degree at Concordia University in 1983, where he later taught studio art (1982-1990). He is currently teaching at Dawson College, Montreal. Smith recently presented solo exhibitions in Montreal, Toronto, Calgary and Brussels and group exhibitions in Kaohsiung (Taiwan), Prague, Berlin and Montreal. His works are found in many important public collections, including those of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Musée du Québec, Musée d’art de Joliette, Université de Sherbrooke, Concordia University and the University of Lethbridge.

 Mondays 9 to 12 - A group drawing exhibition at the McClure Gallery

Mondays 9 to 12  A Group Drawing Exhibition at the McClure Gallery

Vernissage: Thursday, February 2 at 6 pm
Exhibition: February 3 to 25, 2006

Exhibition Press Release:

The McClure Gallery is pleased to present a group exhibition of drawings from the model. The title of the exhibition, Mondays 9 to 12, references the almost ritualistic tradition, among a group of Montreal artists, of meeting Monday mornings for three hours to draw the human figure. While members of the group have come and gone or even returned, core members have been working together for over thirty years.
Mondays 9 to 12 is an intimate exhibition featuring works by the ten current members of the drawing group; each artist is represented by approximately three works. Members include Susan Brainerd Alain, Sandi Bolton, Charles Colby, Barbara Palca Dickstein, Hannah Franklin, Paula Gillett, Mary Martha Guy, Jennifer Hornyak, Jean Lukanovich and Virginia McClure.
The group is united by their love of drawing and their commitment to the act of drawing as an important discipline within their artistic practice. The works strongly reflect the artist’s very individual, personal style and response to the model. Included are what seem to be quite fully developed renderings along with more spontaneous contour studies that capture the essence of a human pose in one line. The latter reflect one of the most enticing aspects of drawing – the sense of a caught moment within an ongoing process.

The group was established in 1969, meeting in attics, basements, kitchens and living rooms. After a variety of studio moves, the artists have found a home for the last five years at the Visual Arts Centre. During the three-hour session, there are no critiques and few comments. The models they choose to work with, often repeatedly, include talented artists, dancers and professional art models. The support and friendship amongst the members of the group have sustained them in what is so often a solitary act.

Chantal Gervais - Between Self and Other

Chantal Gervais Between Self and Other

Vernissage: Thursday, March 2 at 6 pm
Exhibition: March 3 to 25, 2006

Exhibition Press Release:

The McClure Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of large-format colour photographs created in 2003 and 2005 by Ottawa artist Chantal Gervais. Between Self and Other investigates the vulnerability and resilience of the human body. The images portray anonymous subjects as they emerge from darkness in ambiguous physical and emotional states; the works touch on issues of pain, desire, strength and frailty in relation to aging and dying.
Since 1997, Gervais has produced a significant body of work that deals with the human body and its corporeality. In her recent work, Gervais collaborated with people who, as a result of surgery, accidents or aging have experienced acute physical changes to their bodies.
“The subjects of the works appear to be waiting. In many cases, their poses suggest a state of dormancy, somewhere on the border of sleep and death. In the multi-part works, because Gervais photographs her subjects at different angles, they seem to twist slightly, or move languidly in response to some unknown stimulus. It appears as if the individuals have returned to a womb-like place that is safe and secure. However, any idea of their having regressed to a more new and emergent state is contested by the marks of aging, as well as the scars that reveal a history of the body’s engagement with its own struggles against death… Most importantly, Gervais reminds us that we cannot take these issues for granted, but must acknowledge their importance both privately and in a more public forum, such as offered by the art gallery space.”
Excerpt from text by Andrea Kunard for Chantal Gervais’ exhibition Between Self and Other at Carleton University Art Gallery, Ottawa (2005).

Chantal Gervais was born in Val d’Or, Quebec in 1965 and currently lives and works in Ottawa. She received a Bachelor in Fine Arts from the University of Ottawa (1993) and an MA in Art and Media Practice from the University of Westminster in London, England (2003). Gervais’ photographic and video works have been exhibited at venues in Canada including Carleton University Art Gallery, Ottawa (2005), Vidéographe, Montreal (2002), Galerie Séquence, Chicoutimi (2000), Gallery 44, Toronto (1998) and (upcoming) Harcourt House Gallery, Edmonton (2006). Gervais is the recipient of grants from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council and the City of Ottawa. She was awarded the Duke and Duchess of York Prize in Photography by the Canada Council in 2002. Her work is in the collection of the City of Ottawa and in several private collections.

Annual Student Show - 2005-2006

Annual Student Show

Vernissage: Thursday, March 30 at 6 pm
Exhibition: March 31 to April 22, 2006

Exhibition Press Release:

Students registered in the School of Art’s winter session are invited to exhibit their work in our Annual Student Exhibition. The exhibition, which includes hundreds of works in a wide variety of media, gives students the experience of seeing their work in the context of a professional gallery. It also provides an opportunity for students and public to see the great diversity of creative activity that takes place at the Centre.

Virginia McClure - Retrospective
Virginia McClure Retrospective

Vernissage and Book Launch: Thursday, April 27 at 6 pm
Exhibition: April 28 to May 20, 2006

Exhibition Press Release:

The McClure Gallery celebrates the career of ceramic and mixed media artist Virginia McClure with a retrospective exhibition of her work on the occasion of the Visual Arts Centre’s 60th Anniversary. Virginia McClure has been a pivotal figure in the history of the Centre since the 1950s, serving both as director and president of the board over the years. As an early member of The Potter’s Club, the Centre’s original name, Virginia McClure was a talented and successful ceramic artist. She went on to develop as a multimedia artist and, most recently, as a poet.
Included in this exhibition are some of McClure’s early experimental works from the 1970s which combine plastics and ceramics. As well, a selection of monoprints created over the last fifteen years, in both large and small format, emphasize the vibrant colour and expressive energy for which the artist is known. Virginia McClure has presented numerous solo and group exhibitions in Montreal, Toronto, Boston, New York and Barcelona.
On the occasion of Virginia McClure’s retrospective exhibition, the Visual Arts Centre is pleased to launch its second publication, green jelly beans; poems and monoprints, a book of poetry and monoprints by Virginia McClure

Collective Visions – 60th Anniversary - A Fundraising Exhibition and Sale

Collective Visions – 60th Anniversary   A Fundraising Exhibition and Sale

Vernissage and Gala Evening: May 25, 6 pm
Exhibition: May 23 to June 3, 2006

Ikebana - Floral Expressions

Ikebana Floral Expressions

Vernissage: Thursday, June 15 at 6 pm
Exhibition: June 16 and 17, 2006

Exhibition Press Release:

The McClure Gallery is pleased to present a special three-day exhibition of approximately 25 floral arrangements by members, teachers and masters of The Montreal Chapter of the Ohara School of Ikebana.
The art of Ikebana (literally “flowers kept alive”) is one of the many cultural and artistic exports of Japan. Its connection to all forms of nature and the strong observation of the seasons establishes a much-needed link to the natural and spiritual world.
Ohara, the first of the modern schools of Ikebana, was formed when Ohara Unshin broke from the Ikenobo school in the late 19th century. The Ohara school generally uses moribana (piled-up flowers) in a shallow, flat container. The school was started at a time when Western culture was heavily influential in Japan and the moribana style made good use of Western plants.

The Montreal Chapter was founded in 2002 by Cornelia Singh, who is the current President. Joining Mrs. Singh and members of the Montreal Chapter, is the top Master of the Ohara School of Canada, Mitsugi Kikuchi. Born in Japan, Kikuchi has been a painter and ikebanist for 35 years. He is the founder of the Ottawa chapter and its honorary advisor.

 Elena Willis - Naturally Human

Elena Willis Naturally Human

Vernissage: Thursday, June 22 at 6 pm
Exhibition: June 23 to July 15, 2006

Exhibition Press Release:

The McClure Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of large format colour photographs by Montreal artist Elena Willis.
The series Naturally Human explores the complexity of the unconscious mind and its influence on our perception of reality. Staged scenes based on the artist’s dreams are recreated in landscape settings, forging a suggestive dialogue between the unconscious mind and the natural world.
The artist states “Naturally Human seeks insight from elements and events that unfold in dreams, the most important source of information concerning the content of the unconscious. The dream-based scenes in this series are projected against landscapes, in order to better place human temperament in direct relation with the natural world. Although human hands have altered such landscapes, they continue to flourish independently from human emotional uncertainty (as they always have). Thus, the landscape manifests a sense of clarity and consistency upon which we may reflect.”

Elena Willis lives and works in Montreal. She received a BFA in photography and women’s studies from Concordia University in 2003. In 2004 she was awarded the Stanley Mills Purchase Prize Award, the Du Maurier Arts Council Grant and the Concordia University Special Project Grant. Elena Willis presented a solo exhibition at Espace 306 in Montreal in 2004.


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