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Season 2013 – 2014


Matt Shane Impassable Chasm
Eva Lapka Eva Lapka
Square Affair A fundraising exhibition
Lorraine Pritchard Cadance
Reuel Dechene Chase
Shireen Kamran Soul Matters
Michel Daigneault
Annual Student Exhibition 2014
Pirates de l’art
Suzelle LevasseurPYRO


Matt Shane Impassable Chasm

Exhibition: September 20 to October 12, 2013
Vernissage: Thursday September 19 at 6 pm
Artist’s Talk: Thursday September 26 at 7 pm

The McClure Gallery is pleased to open its new season with a solo exhibition of recent works by Montreal artist Matt Shane. Impassable Chasm presents two mural sized paintings and a selection of smaller landscapes. If it can be said that the artist’s work is anchored in the landscape tradition, it is also uniquely inhabited by industrial sites and utopian architectural forms.

Matt Shane’s landscapes are active grounds, full of tension and opposition. Their detailed scope and sweeping perspectives refer to 19th century landscapes by European Romantic painters and the Hudson River School. Yet, while these painters strove to depict sublime and pastoral versions of nature, Shane’s work displays ominous signs of development: mines, cities, parking lots. They couple the sublime with a sense of anxiety regarding the scale of human impact on the environment. As the artist embodies these places, he tries to make sense of them, while simultaneously keeping them wondrous and strange.

Painting, for Shane, is like traveling. It involves a reliance on intuition, but also a willingness to relinquish control and to slip into sensory forms of logic. Using colour, texture, form and line, he charts out a mutable frontier, where natural and man-made forces meet and bleed together. The pictorial worlds presented at the McClure Gallery can be situated somewhere at the border of geography and imagination.

Matt Shane was born in Vancouver. He lives and works in Montreal and is an MFA candidate at Concordia University. He has exhibited widely in North America and abroad. Shane has completed artist residencies at Baie-St-Paul, Wander in Den Haag, Cuadro Gallery in Dubai, Art Omi, the Banff Centre, the Vermont Studio Center and Klondike Institute of Arts and Culture (KIAC) in Dawson City.

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Eva Lapka 10 Years

Exhibition: October 18 to November 9, 2013
Curator: Victoria LeBlanc
Vernissage and book launch: Thursday October 17 at 6 pm
Artist and Curator Exchange: Thursday October 24 at 7 pm

The McClure Gallery is honoured to present 10 Years, an exhibition of works by ceramic artist Eva Lapka. Renowned for her mastery of the clay medium, Lapka refashions the human form in a poetically resonant way, addressing issues of loss, memory, identity and the cycles of life and death. The exhibition regroups nearly thirty pieces created over the past decade and is accompanied by a catalogue featuring over forty images as well as a text by Victoria LeBlanc, director of the Visual Arts Centre and curator of this exhibition.

Eva Lapka’s fragmented clay bodies marry form and content towards an evocation of things just below the surface in a way that opens the personal towards a deeply felt investigation of our common humanity. Moreover, the work completed over the last decade bears a distinctive feminist sensibility, a sensual lyricism and intimacy, moving away from the more geometric and classical forms of the past. Continuing to use the stoneware for which she is known, Lapka’s experimentations with multiple glazes and refirings results in rich molten surfaces; the appearance is often of an unearthed artefact. The abstracted human forms resist narration, however, and the resultant layered ambiguity of meaning is important to the artist. “I try to avoid any narratives and allow for breathing room and open dialoque with the viewer.” Be it wall relief or standing sculpture, this exhibition presents work of honed craftsmanship and a singular vision.

Eva Lapka 10 Years also serves to recognize the artist’s contribution to the Visual Arts Centre. Eva has been teaching at the Centre since 1991 and, in 1999, she assumed directorship of the Ceramics Department. After fourteen years, in September 2013, she resigned as Director.

Eva Lapka is originally from the Czech Republic. She completed her formal studies in sculpture and ceramic design at the École des métiers d’art, in Brno. Since 1988 Lapka has taught at several institutions in Montréal including the Visual Arts Centre. She has exhibited extensively both in Canada and internationally. Her works can be found in collections throughout Quebec, Canada, the United States and Europe. Eva Lapka is the recipient of numerous grants and awards and, in 2013, she became a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of the Arts.


Square Affair A fundraising exhibition

Gala Evening and Opening Sale:
Thursday Nov 21 at 6 pm

November 19 to 23, 2013

Join us and help support the Visual Arts Centre! We’re filling our McClure Gallery with hundreds of Square Foot paintings and artworks created by the Centre’s dynamic community of artists, students, teachers, staff and friends.

Whether as participating artist or supportive friend, we hope you’ll join us in this fun and celebratory event. The exhibition represents a rare opportunity to view and purchase affordable art in a wide variety of styles and media – all in a square format.

A $25 ticket to the Gala Evening entitles you to first dibs on the art plus wine and hors d’oeuvres.Tickets are available in the office or you can call 514-488-9558 or e-mail

Please come and support us. As Canada’s largest bilingual independent art school and as a non-profit cultural space, our fundraising exhibitions are an important means of ensuring our financial well-being and our ability to continue to offer accessible and excellent programmes and services to the public.


Lorraine Pritchard Cadence

Vernissage: Thursday November 28 at 6 pm
Exhibition: November 29 to December 21, 2013

We are honoured to feature Lorraine Pritchard’s exhibition Cadence in our McClure Gallery. The exhibition brings together approximately twenty works that range from quiet tapestry-like grounds of subtle grey to celebratory fields of pink, blue and green.

Pattern, rhythm, interconnection – “we live in fields of movement and rhythmic pattern” – and the idea of “unity in diversity” are underlying themes that feed Pritchard’s visual investigations. Indeed, her paintings are as much contemplative acts as artworks. They hang like meditative scrolls; the rows of variegated marks become visual testament to a labour of love, a mantra repeated and repeated towards the attainment of an altered consciousness, a renewed perception. Moreover, Pritchard’s works reveal themselves – much like music – over time. We scan and re-scan the black or coloured gestures, gathered in their sequential leanings and relational energies, as they unfold their melodies in evocative, resonant combinations. These are paintings of deep integrity and intent that beckon us again and again.

Lorraine Pritchard was born in the Canadian Prairies of Manitoba. The work has been influenced by the patterning and spatial relationships of the vast plains. As a visual artist her work includes drawings, paintings and constructed assemblages. The underlying motivation of the artist is a search for a visual language that expresses the interrelationship of spiritual and physical reality. Her work has been exhibited in Canada, France, Belgium, United States and Japan (Canadian Embassy in Tokyo). She currently lives and works in her studio in Montreal and is represented by Beaux-arts des Amériques.

Reuel Dechene Chase

Exhibition: January 10 to February 1, 2014
Vernissage: Thursday Januray 9 at 6 pm

The McClure Gallery is pleased to present the work of Reuel Dechene in the exhibition Chase. The exhibition features approximately eight wall-mounted sculptures, each supporting upwards of 1000 miniature lights. The large scale constructions intrigue and provoke. Using his well-stocked toolbox – soldering iron, voltage meter, wire stripper, etc. – Dechene transforms vintage Formica panels, hubcaps, miniature Christmas lights and retro technology into animated light works in a dazzling array of flashing patterns.

Dechene takes advantage of the darkened gallery space. Light emerges soley from his wall mounted luminous installations. In their rhythmic pulsing flashes of light, they appeal both to our imagination and our memory; they are easily reminiscent of childhoold amusement parks, or a kind of “mini Las Vegas / mid 20th century Montreal,” to use the artist’s words.

Dechene’s installations also react to the presence and movement of the viewer. Moreover, each piece spells out phrases or words that evoke multiple associations and meanings and, no less, a kind of campy, kitschy, and at times ironic humour, offensive to some, delightful to others. “Through sculpture, I am singing an ode to the visual language of advertising and consumerism. The detritus of abandoned everyday objects is transformed and resurrected to breath new life,” explains Dechene. His work offers thus a spectacle that can be appreciated as much through the senses as the intellect. The reactions the work elicits are both numerous and strong.

Reuel Dechene is a Montreal multimedia artist. He is recognized for his extravagant use of Christmas lights and has presented his work in solo exhibitions in Calgary, Montrael, Toronto and Ottawa. In 2005, Dechene was invited to participate in 18 Illuminations: Contemporary Art and Light, an exhibition that travelled across Canda from 2005-2008. In 2010, he completed his BFA at Concordia University with distinction.



Shireen Kamran Soul Matters

Exhibition: February 7th to March 1st, 2014
Vernissage: Thursday February 6th at 6 pm

The McClure Gallery is pleased to present Soul Matters, an exhibition of recent works by Shireen Kamran. The approximately 12 paintings included in the exhibition testify to the artist’s continuing exploration of the intersections and tensions between the representational and abstract. Her recent works evince an emboldened, expressive energy and painterly experimentation.

Kamran’s paintings lay out a deeply personal iconography of marks against an atmospheric ground. The artist notes, “My work is autobiographical to some extent, a visual language engaged in a search for self, drawing on cultural traditions perceived to be forbidden.” Much of the emotional energy of Kamran’s painting emerges from the recurring negotiation and reconciliation of her roots. Kamran’s work is steeped in Sufi mysticism and the lyric poetry of Rumi. Her works thus function as diasporic topographies. Paintings such as The Way of the Soul #3 or Cul de Sac, are long horizontals that suggest an unfolding narrative of cultural reminiscence, dislocation, retrieval, and at times, resolution. We move alternately through quiet tempered spaces of dark indigo or nuanced gray before confronting dense vertical passages of gesture, shape and colour. Scattered strategically throughout the field is the artist’s private lexicon – hybrid animal and human shapes, a vessel, frayed letters, a tear, a chair, a shoreline. The roughly rendered metaphors remain ambiguous, teasingly just below the threshold of recognition, their meaning deriving as much from what is withheld, and the gestural energy of that withholding, as from the image itself. The palette is recognizable; rich burnt yellows and cadmium reds against harmonic grays and browns. Her brushstrokes, scrapings, and layering of paint imbue the canvas with a raw physicality that recalls the sensibility of early German Expressionism. Shireen Kamran’s works are nuanced archaeologies of shifting moods, enigmatic marks and celebratory gestures that move far beyond the personal in their quest for equilibrium.

Shireen Kamran lives and works in Montreal. She received her BFA from Concordia University cum laude in 2000. The artist is represented by Galerie Saint Laurent & Hill in Ottawa, Oeno gallery in Prince Edward county, Canvas Gallery in Karachi, and the Drawing Room Gallery in Lahore. She has participated extensively in many group and solo shows in Pakistan and Canada.

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Michel Daigneault Some Reflections on the Naked Mountain

Exhibition: March 7 to 29, 2014
Vernissage: Vernissage: Thursday March 6 at 6 pm

The McClure Gallery is pleased to present the most recent paintings of Michel Daigneault in Some Reflections on the Naked Mountain, an exhibition which brings together a dozen of the artist’s most recent large format canvases.

In Some Reflections on the Naked Mountain, Daigneault intensifies his orchestration of a transitory space to further undermine the border between the two great categories of painting – figuration and abstraction. In these new works, the painter incites the viewer to rethink what is being seen by creating a pictorial space where the vocabulary of abstraction depicts a recognizable reality. His painterly strategies allow him to play with and juggle certain visual analogies. The mountain, as the title of the exhibition indicates, functions here as an allusion. Latent, imprecise, it appears in the painting in different forms – be it a contour line, an accumulation of shapes, or yet again, the architecture of landscape in its own right.

Michel Daigneault is among a new generation of abstract painters born “after abstraction.” While it is often thought that little remains to be said within the abstract genre, Daigneault’s canvases bear witness to a reconsideration and renewal of abstraction’s pictorial language. Though non-figurative, his works play ceaselessly with the idea of figuration – through colour, form and their arrangement in space. He takes pleasure in using simple shapes and rich colours to create an intrigue that evokes, rather than reveals, the narrative potential of his works. Indeed, as Gaston Saint-Pierre has noted: “The painting of Michel Daigneault is guided by a regiment of intervention, accountability, mutability of systems and declension of images. We are not in the domain of illusion but rather that of allusion.”

Michel Daigneault lives and works in Montreal and Toronto where he also teaches at York University. His work has been exhibited widely in Canada and the United States, as well as in France and Korea. His work can be found in many private and museum collections, including the National Gallery of Canada, the Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the Collection Prêt d’oeuvres d’art of Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, the Musée d’art de Joliette, the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, Canada Council Art Bank, National Bank of Canada, Hydro-Québec, Royal Bank of Canada, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the University of Lethbridge.


Annual Student Exhibition

Vernissage: Thursday, April 4 at 6 pm
Exhibition: April 5 to April 20

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.


Pirates de l’art

Vernissage: Thursday May 1st at 6 pm
Exhibition: May 2 to 24
Invited Curator: Robert Poulin

«As opposed to the word, which supports concepts and theories I prefer the hand that reveals and revels in the imagination and senses. » (Robert Poulin)

The McClure Gallery is pleased to present Pirates de l’art, an exhibition curated by Robert Poulin that brings together the unique works of artists whose practices thrive away from the norm.
It is outside the corridors of institutional and academic art that collector Robert Poulin has, for over a decade now, been navigating his ship. It is there – at the margins of the ‘high’ art world – that he discovers, « les pirates» far from the world of concepts, art statements and written texts. The exhibition Pirates de l’art presents approximately 20 artists who defy easy classification. Their works are marked with a spirit of unrestrained subversion and jubilant invention. Opposed to the world of the savant, these lovers of drawing nourish themselves on the raw stuff of popular culture. Resisting the accepted and dominant attitudes of our time, they privilege instinct over intellect.
Welcome to the rebellious world of Claude Bolduc, Romulo Cesar, Daniel Erban, Marc Leduc, Jacinthe Loranger, Kim Moodie, Shaun Morin, Nancy Ogilvie, Osvaldo Ramirez-Castillo, Étienne Rochon, John Todd , Henriette Valium, Max Wyse and their consorts. With their hands they recount their stories. With our eyes, we hear them.
From 1972 to 1992, Robert Poulin was a professional sculptor working on tubular pieces. He founded la Peau de l’Ours in 1995, a buyers’ collective that now regroups nearly seventy large format artworks. A renowned collector, Poulin has organized many exhibitions and has collaborated with the Galerie d’art d’Outremont. He has opened his own galerie, l’Espace Robert Poulin, which sits in the Belgo building since 2012. L’Espace Robert Poulin has since participated in many important art fairs such as TIAF and PAPIER.


Suzelle Levasseur Pyro

Vernissage: Thursday May 29 at 6 pm
Exhibition: May 30 to June 21, 2014

The McClure Gallery is pleased to present the work of Suzelle Levasseur in the exhibition PYRO. Featured are several large canvases as well as a series of small drawings on paper. The work is autobiographical : using fluid acrylics the artist works intuitively and gesturally to explore memories, both visual and sensory.

Accompanied by explosive sounds, the fireworks would emerge from the smithy where Levasseur’s father practiced his craft: a small cube where rivers of fire and incandescent forms entwined in bursts of light. This father-forger, this Hephaistos, who captured the curiosity of Levasseur as a child, continues to haunt her memory. In this new ensemble of works, she searches for the imprint of the forge fire, as auditory as it is visual. With PYRO, Suzelle Levasseur moves beyond her father’s studio to immerse herself physically as a painter in shards of light, colour, and anarchic explosive traces. In blowing on the embers of the mneumonic, Levasseur seeks to establish the contrasts and harmonies that correspond to the visual impression of electric fire.

Even before proceeding with the painting, an interior journey commences to connect with a precise energy, drive and breath. Finally, a mark appears. «It is there, in that space, in that precise moment that the painting begins, » notes the artist. « The gesture is ready, the paints are mixed, everything falls into place. » For Levasseur, the process is instinctive and corporeal. The works that emerge are at one and the same time intimate and dazzling, and, for the artist, resonant with sensorial memory.

Born in Trois-Rivières, Suzelle Levasseur studied at Université du Québec in Montréal. Her main solo exhibitions were held in Montréal at Galerie Gilles Corbeil, Galerie Yajima, Galerie Yahouda-Meir, Galerie Trois-Points, Galerie Éric Devlin; at Grünwald Gallery in Toronto, Galerie Baudinet-Hubbard in New York, at the Canadian Cultural Centre in Paris, and at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal. Works by Suzelle Levasseur were also part of the exhibition Femmes artistes du XXe siècle au Québec, in 2010 she exhibited at the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, and in the exhibition La question de l’abstraction, until 2016 at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal. Works by Suzelle Levasseur are in numerous collections.

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