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Season 2009 – 2010

Victoria Block, Ehab Lotayef and Helga Schleeh As We Are Dan Brault Mixed Tape
Sylvain Bouthillette Oeuvres récentes Lise-Hélène Larin Glissements de terrains
Annual student show Eliza Griffiths Action Paintings
John Fox Refiguration Oscar Varese Feedback
Max Wyse Mexico Terrerium Ian Shatilla Defeating Victory
Horror Vacui Simon Bossé, Kristin Eiriksdottir,
Jim Holyoak and Patrick McEown

Victoria Block, Ehab Lotayef and Helga Schleeh As We Are

Vernissage: Monday, June 28 at 6 pm
Artist’s Talk: Thursday, July 8 at 7 pm

Exhibition Press Release:

The McClure Gallery is pleased to present three artists – Victoria Block, Ehab Lotayef and Helga Schleeh. All three artists have worked and continue to work “in community” with “dialogue” and interfaith groups. The photographs of Ehab Lotayef, a practicing Quebec Muslim, deal with both local and Middle Eastern issues. Victoria Block and Helga Schleeh utilize light as a medium in their work, serving to underscore the idea of unity beneath the diversity of cultures and religions.

The artists frequently employ their artistic interventions as mediation tools for conflict resolution, as a process through which to effect greater understanding amongst diverse cultural religious groups and to shed light on issues usually ignored.

A common theme throughout the work of all artists is the underlying touchstone of human fragility. How is such fragility made manifest, assuaged, protected. How is it given voice as the commonality of human experience? The work in this exhibition will bring forward, through the relation of one to the other, these issues as the artists continue the process of understanding through their own artistic practice.

Victoria Block is a landscape painter from Ithaca New York who lives and works in Montreal. Her work is in many private and corporate collections, notably Canadian Embassies in China, Florida, Mexico, Zimbabwe and Guatemala.

Ehab Lotayef is an established poet and photographer living in Montreal. His advocacy for social justice is evident in his works. His poetry collection “To Love a Palestinian Woman” was recently published by TSAR.

Helga Schleeh has over 50 exhibitions to her credit, including at the United Nations in New York, Beijing, Washington, and Miami. She has worked with the World Council of Churches for the UN, and presented an art video on the beauty of the Planet to the United Nations conference on Climate Change in Montreal.

Gallery Hours: Tuesday to Friday 12 – 6 pm; Saturday 10 – 5 pm

galeriemcclure@centredesartsvisuels.ca

Dan Brault Mixed Tape

Dan Brault Mixed Tape [Side A: Frankenstein / Side B: Hard smoke]

Vernissage:Thursday, September 17 at 6 pm
Exhibition: September 11 to October 3, 2009
Artist’s Talk: Thursday, September 17 at 7 pm

Exhibition Press Release:

The McClure Gallery opens its fall season with the exhibition Mixed Tape [Side A: Frankenstein / Side B: Hard smoke] featuring the paintings of Dan Brault. The artist brings together images from diverse aesthetic sources. By borrowing from classical genres such as gestural abstraction or the still life, Brault creates works of varying styles and techniques, from hard-edge painting to cartooning.

Brault confronts images; his approach resembles that of a DJ who draws from existing sources and personal imagery to create new representations. The McClure exhibition also reflects the artist’s preoccupation with how his work occupies a site-specific space. The small gallery [Side A: Frankenstein] presents a painterly collage of diverse styles interacting within a single picture plane. In the large gallery [Side B: Hard smoke] the sense of confrontation is less obvious, emerging more from the contrast between a strict geometric format and its seemingly incongruous content – blurred, evanescent, out of focus. The two gallery spaces themselves play off against each other further enriching the artist’s innovative “mixed tape” of aesthetic discourse.

In breaking traditional boundaries, Dan Brault plays with our capacity to classify genres and questions even the notion of artistic styles or movements. His hybrid associations push against the viewer’s own historical knowledge or understanding of what is and isn’t art.

Born in Montreal, Dan Brault lives and works in Quebec City. He received a BFA from Concordia University (2002) and a MFA Laval University (2006). His work has been shown in different gallery and artist run center across Quebec and Canada. He recently participate in the 26th edition of the Symposium international d’art de Baie Saint-Paul. Soon, we will see his work at the Centre Art-Image (Gatineau). He his represented by the Peak Gallery of Toronto.

Lise-Hélène Larin Glissements de terrains

Lise-Hélène Larin Glissements de terrains

Vernissage: Thursday, October 8 at 6 pm
Exhibition: October 9 to 31, 2009
Artist’s Talk: Thursday, October 15 at 7 pm

Exhibition Press Release:

The McClure Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of works by Lise-Hélène Larin. Glissements de terrains features “simulated photos” of mathematical landscapes culled from the artist’s 3D animation archives. The artist arrived at this concept through the process of her experimentation. The virtual camera captures her “mise en scenes” which are revelatory of the programmes own manoeuverings; she further enhances these with intriguing textures. The work thus exploits mutations in the artistic process as well as the transformation of representation in a virtual world.

Glissements de terrains questions the figurative and narrative conventions of 3D cinema where simulation and the ideology of strict representation reign. Lise-Hélène Larin plays with our perception as it varies significantly according to whether her images are fixed or in flux and most especially when they are non-figurative. The exhibition includes 7 large-format “simulated photos”, 21 small still images taken from a single animation and an animation shown on a large flat TV screen. Finally, the exhibition also features an example of her new work involving “objets mathématiques”.

Lise-Hélène Larin lives and works in Montreal. She is currently completing a PhD at Université du Québec à Montréal and teaches painting and drawing at Concordia University and Dawson College. She has produced 3d animation films at the National Film Board of Canada and for Radio-Canada and received a grant for her research which questions 3D animation through abstraction. Her films have been shown in several countries including the United-States, Germany and Belgium.

Eliza Griffiths Action Paintings

Eliza Griffiths Action Paintings

Vernissage: Thursday, November 5 at 6 pm
Exhibition: November 6 to 28, 2009
Artist’s Talk: Thursday, November 19 at 7 pm

Exhibition Press Release:

(Action: the bringing about of an alteration by force or through a natural agency) The McClure Gallery exhibition Action Paintings features new works by Montreal-based artist Eliza Griffiths. This recent body of figurative paintings and drawings proposes a consideration of different kinds of action within the two-dimensional field. Using her cast of recurring characters, Griffiths continues her exploration of social and psychological dynamics through the depiction of flamboyant human gestures such as running, brawling, gambling, etc. The exaggerated poses of her figures embody notions of forced action, suspended action, and non-action (as in the spiritual Taoist practice of wu wei), as metaphors for addressing complex metaphysical and existential questions.

As with all of Griffiths’ work, her preoccupation with human experience, identity stability and mutability, gender, desire, love, and trauma is traced through the suggested narrative tableaux she stages. In creating characters distilled from these tableaux, much like film stills, Griffiths produces works that invest the viewer personally, creating dialogue and ambiguity between subject and object, viewer and viewed. Her most recent work elaborates what were primarily psychological explorations into a more collective psychic space.

Eliza Griffiths was born in London, UK and immigrated to Canada at an early age. She earned a BFA from Concordia University and did graduate studies in Art History and Theory at Carleton University, focusing on feminist and other ‘marginal’ art histories. Griffiths’ paintings have been widely exhibited throughout Canada and internationally, including exhibitions at Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Centre (Buffalo); Mercer Union (Toronto); the Saidye Bronfman Center (Montreal); Platform Gallery, (London, UK); The Painting Center (NY,NY); and ARCO, (Madrid, Spain). Her work has been featured in publications such as NYArts Magazine; Canadian Art; Border Crossings; C-Magazine; ARCO Madrid, and has been extensively collected both privately and publicly. Griffiths lives in Montreal and is an Assistant Professor in Studio Arts at Concordia University. Her work can be viewed at www.elizagriffiths.com.

Oscar Varese Feedback

Oscar Varese Feedback

Vernissage: Thursday, December 3 at 6 pm
Exhibition: December 4 to 23, 2009
Artist’s Talk: Thursday, December 10 at 7 pm

Exhibition Press Release:
Feedback, a new series of work by Oscar Varese, presents “three dimensional paintings” that combine sculptural concerns with a poetics of painting. The work is loosely inspired by the theories of Marshall McLuhan, and the artist’s search for a new visual language.

Purposely avoiding any narratives, the works take their cue from the Minimalist considerations of the object itself, offering a neutral and immediately physical relation for the viewer. And yet within the same moment colour, scale and proportion are meant to trigger emotion, experience and memory. Recognizing these contradictions, the works are concerned with finding a delicate equilibrium between positive and negative energies, while also acknowledging the subtle, unexpected directions that may arise between those boundaries.

The works investigate issues of social transformation. Alluding to McLuhan’s theories, Varese notes that the Technical Revolution characterized by fragmentation, specialization and rationality, has given way to a new threshold or paradigm. “Where the Industrial Revolution is seen as an extension of our physical, outer bodies, the Electric Revolution becomes an extension of our nervous system – mainly an information system, and above all a feedback system.” It is within this collision/transition of distinctly different worlds that Varese maintains his search for a visual language giving expression to a spiritual belief – the possibility of finding balance within chaos.

Oscar Varese is a Montreal based artist. After graduating with a BFA in Studio Arts from Concordia University he spent close to ten years within the Design and Installations Department at the Canadian Centre for Architecture. In 2001 he returned to Concordia and earned his second BFA with Distinction in the Design Art program concentrating on graphics and conceptual furniture design.

Ian Shatilla Defeating Victory

Ian Shatilla Defeating Victory

Vernissage: Thursday, January 7 at 6 pm
Exhibition: January 8 to 30, 2010
Artist’s Talk: Thursday, January 14 at 7 pm

Exhibition Press Release:
The McClure Gallery is pleased to open the year with an exhibition of Ian Shatilla’s paintings entitled Defeating Victory. These boldly colored figurative paintings propose a blend of whimsical narration with political engagement. With an un-faltering realism that combines portraits, still-life and fantasy environments, this new work intends to resuscitate response and re-enliven a faith for political images through disassociation with the characters and events of today. A catalogue has been published to accompany the exhibition.

Shatilla’s conceptual framework combines the historical presentation of culturally shared stories and, through the pervasiveness of the internet, a resurgence of a virtual form of word of mouth. The internet becomes a tool whereby ordinary people have an arena to actively respond to current events. Images of all kinds are found unadulterated and uncensored, from the uncompromising graphic violence of Abu Ghraib to irrelevant photographs of wedding cakes and dishware. Virtual fairy-tales emerge in every day banality. Appropriately sourced through google images and mainstream media, these narrative constructs aim at representing moral claims that demand questioning. As the artist attempts to store, record and restore our faith in story telling, the stage and the power is borrowed from classic fairy- tales and adapted to suit the agency of our times.

Ian Shatilla lives and works in Montreal. He obtained a BFA in print making from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and a Masters in Painting and Drawing from Concordia University. His work has been show in Montreal at Galerie Art Mûr, as well as in the United States, Bulgaria and Australia. He now teaches at the Visual Arts Centre.

Horror Vacui Simon Bossé, Kristin Eiriksdottir, Jim Holyoak and Patrick McEown

Horror Vacui   Simon Bossé, Kristin Eiriksdottir, Jim Holyoak
and Patrick McEown

Invited Curator: Eric Simon
Vernissage: Thursday, February 4 at 6 pm
Exhibition: February 5 to 27, 2010

Exhibition Press Release:

The McClure Gallery is pleased to present Horror Vacui, an exhibition featuring the work of four artists who explore drawing as their primary means of expression. In the visual arts, the term ‘Horror Vacui’ refers to a pre-occupation with covering the entire surface of an artwork with detail, leaving no empty spaces. This produces the effect of visual overload, overwhelming the eye with a surplus of information and defying conventional compositional hierarchy. These works are characterized by a feeling of vertigo rather than an organized, structured vision, or clear recognition of what is depicted.

The imagery of these four artists emerges from the darker, less traveled regions of the mind. This exhibition provides access to the unbridled accounts of the rambling nocturnal journeys of a group of adept explorers who bring back powerful images and ideas.

Simon Bossé, born in Montreal, has participated in numerous BD projects such as Comix 2000 (L’Association), l’appareil (La Pastèque) and has published two collections (Intestine and Bébête) at l’Oie de Cravan.
Kristin Eiriksdottir is an artist and writer from Iceland. Her work has been exhibited in Scandinavia and Germany, as well as Iceland, where she has published three books of poetry and drawings. She is currently completing her MFA in drawing and painting at Concordia.
Jim Holyoak, originally from Ann Arbor, Michigan but raised in Aldergrove B.C., has shown his work in LA, New York, Vancouver and Victoria. He is currently completing his MFA in drawing and painting at Concordia.
Patrick McEown, born in Ottawa, teaches drawing at Concordia. His graphic novel, The Hair Shirt, was recently published by Gallimard.
Eric Simon acted as curator for the exhibition. Simon, who teaches painting at Concordia, is a well known artist and the author of numerous essays and novels. His work is represented by Gallery Division in Montreal.

Sylvain Bouthillette Oeuvres récentes

Sylvain Bouthillette Oeuvres récentes

Vernissage: Thursday, March 4 at 6 pm
Exhibition: March 5 to 27, 2010
Artist’s Talk: Thursday, March 11 at 7 pm

Exhibition Press Release:

The McClure Gallery is pleased to feature recent works by Montreal artist Sylvain Bouthillette. The exhibition includes large format paintings and smaller silkscreen prints, all of which continue to explore the artist’s signature vision: the interplay of a rich panoply of popular imagery with spiritual content and considerations; Bouthillette has been studying and practicing Buddhism for over a decade. The result is a painterly cosmogony that is both “in your face” – forceful, provocative – and aesthetically sophisticated.

Bouthillette’s painterly world is destabilizing. In several of the new works, he depicts a holographic geometry of space using a variety of compositional strategies. We are simultaneously propelled through warped time as we are pinned down, unable to budge. Much of his lexicon of images plays out on this shifting ground. He creatively recycles elements of his iconography – here, a strange gathering of squirrels or swarms of bees. Two phrases recur in the work like mantras. The words, “Laissez tomber la tête dans le cœur, le cœur dans le ventre et remontez le tout dans le coeur” swirl around or between the loosely painted oversize bodies of bees or alternately hug the circumference of a circular canvas where again, large format squirrels seem to tilt out of the picture plane towards us. A second phrase – “Each one teach one” – screams out from the centre of a large painting in thick red letters like an urgent admonition. The recent work at the McClure confirms Bouthillette’s reputation as a painter with his finger on the pulse of society’s pastiche of anxieties, but one who easily avails himself of any number of artistic strategies and philosophical perspectives that might yet act as wellsprings of meaning. These are intense, provocative works.

Sylvain Bouthillette lives and works in Montreal. He completed his MFA in painting at Concordia University in 1990. His work has been exhibited in Quebec, Ontario, the United States, France and Switzerland. He has participated in over 30 solo and 40 group exhibitions. His prolific artistic practice includes painting, photography, sound installation and music. Bouthillette is the subject of many articles and reviews. His work is in such public collections as the Musée d’art contemporain in Montreal and the Musée national des beaux arts du Québec.

Victoria LeBlanc
Director, McClure Gallery

Annual student show

Annual student show

Vernissage: Thursdaym April 1 at 6 pm
Exhibition: April 2 to 21, 2010

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.

John Fox Refiguration

John Fox Refiguration

Invited Curator:Sandra Paikowsky
Vernissage:Thursday April 29 at 6 pm
Exhibition: April 30 to Mai 22, 2010
Curator’s Talk: Thursday, May 6 at 7 pm

Exhibition Press Release:

The McClure Gallery is pleased to present the exhibition John Fox / Refiguration, which explores the artist’s return to representation in the mid 1980s after fifteen years of painting non-figurative images. The exhibition is curated by Sandra Paikowsky, well- known art historian and the artist’s partner of over thirty years.

John Fox / Refiguration celebrates and pays tribute to a remarkable painter, mentor and friend to so many artists in the Montreal community. The McClure Gallery exhibition offers a generous and telling selection of Fox’s late work: nine large oil paintings, fifteen pochades, twenty drawings and twenty-one watercolours. These recent works show traces of the figurative motifs from his early career but also bear witness to the artist’s new approach to the themes of places and people. Fox uses colour as structure and metaphor, as shapes and spaces, to reveal the truths of painting. As the curator notes, the paintings are “more a matter of mind than of mimesis.” The exhibition also underlines the deftly deliberate but seemingly effortless brushwork and sensuous line for which Fox was so celebrated. All of the drawings and watercolours, as well as the panel paintings are being shown here for the first time.

The exhibition is accompanied by a full-colour publication, including over 60 plates as well as perceptive and eloquent texts by Sandra Paikowsky and Montreal artists Peter Krausz and Michael Smith.

John Fox (b.1927) lived and worked in Montreal, with lengthy annual visits to Venice, Italy from the mid 1970s until his death there in 2008. He influenced generations of artists in Montreal through his extensive teaching career at Concordia University and his generous friendships. Fox has had numerous solo exhibitions throughout his career and participated in group exhibitions across Canada and internationally. His work is represented in major public, corporate and private collections in Canada, the United States and Europe.

Max Wyse Mexico Terrerium

Max Wyse Mexico Terrerium

Curator: Hedwidge Asselin
Vernissage:Thursday May 27 at 6 pm
Exhibition:May 28 to June 19, 2010
Artist’s Talk: Wednesday, June 9 at 7 pm

Exhibition Press Release:

The McClure Gallery is pleased to present a new body of work by Montreal artist Max Wyse. Mexico Terrarium includes approximately eight large format mixed media paintings on Plexiglas. In a universe that brings together animal, vegetal and human bodies, the paintings of Max Wyse place us outside history in the company of human figures engaged in acts of spontaneous and magical transmutation and transformation.

These new works – including two, eight-foot long horizontal freizes – transform the gallery into a kind of hallucinatory dream chamber. Amalgamations of both his own imaginings and Aztec mythological figures, Wyse’s surreal hybrid beings – part human, part animal/vegetal – seem deeply embroiled in the task of reconstructing themselves and negotiating a densely packed and often enigmatic habitat. Wyse’s creative manipulation of the human form results in headless creatures with tree stump legs, or serpant-like torsos. However surreal the iconography, the works display a draftsmanlike attention to detail and a subtly orchestrated palette. And in their own way, they make visual commentary on the interface between humanity and the environment that plays itself out beyond the representation of ritual and provokes a somewhat dismembered existence, alternately threatening and reassuring.

The exhibition is accompanied by a 16-page catalogue with text by well known Montreal writer and curator James D. Campbell. The artist would like to thank the Canada Council as well as the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec.

Born in 1974 in British Columbia, Max Wyse lives and works in Montreal. In his work he proposes a symbiosis between the human, plant and animal worlds, revealing the tensions under the skin of a complex reality, where the strange belongs to the quotidian. He has exhibited in Montreal, Vancouver, Toronto, New York and Paris and his work figures in numerous private and public collections.

Victoria LeBlanc
Director, McClure Gallery

 

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