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2018-2019 Season

Joe Lima The Edge of the Infinite
Andrea Kastner Shadow Cities
573° Virginia McClure Ceramic Biennale. – Guest Curator: Luc Delavigne
James Gardner Syzygy
Marianne Pon-Layus La dernière fille
Jessica Houston Suspended in a Sunbeam
“Watercolour” – Guest Curator: Michael Merrill
Annual Student Exhibition 2019



Joe Lima The Edge of the Infinite

Gallery Tour with the Artist: Thursday September 6 at 5 pm
Vernissage: Thursday September 6 at 6 pm
Thematic Workshop: Saturday September 8, 9:30 am – 4 pm
Exhibition: September 7 to 29

The McClure Gallery’s 2018-2019 season begins with The Edge of The Infinite, an exhibition of established artist, Joe Lima. In the last several years Lima has been focusing on woodcuts. In the beginning stages of work, he collects numerous drawings and photos from personal and historical sources. He examines each drawing and photo for particular lines and shapes he is interested in. The next stage of work is to unravel the cluster of imagery and create an intricate weaving of light and dark patterns on the woodblock surface. In The Edge of the Infinite, Lima will exhibit the woodblocks themselves alongside a variety of prints.

In his work, Joe Lima focuses on creating images that emphasize an intrinsic uncertainty, a longing for something hidden and unattainable in structures, landscapes, and interior spaces. He strives to explore imagery that reveals unknown aspects of the outer world and in turn unlocks a door of secrecy and mystery. In each of his environments he reinterprets the imagery by adding something that changes the spatial structure, creating an ambiguous and hallucinatory setting. Lima’s images consist of large architectural spaces, microscopic environments, and boundless areas.

For Joe Lima, what is important in the work is to develop a thematic tension in spaces both internal and external and to disrupt the natural pattern of things. This produces a plurality of meaning that can distract or enhance our curiosity. It is the transformation of the recognizable to the unusual – a deviation from the norm, giving an image the breath of the surreal.

With Joe Lima’s exhibition, we are also introducing a new series of workshops within our School of Art in collaboration with the Gallery. The objective of the workshop series, in continuity with our educational mandate, is to create an even stronger link between our student community, the wider Montreal community, and our exhibiting artists. A woodblock printing workshop, which will use the exhibition as a source of inspiration, will be held on September 8, 9 am to 4 pm (registration is required).
JOE LIMA is a painter, sculptor, and printmaker who was born in Azores, Portugal in 1963. He works and lives in Montreal and is represented by Galerie Nicolas Robert. Lima studied visual arts at Fanshawe College in London, Ontario, and at Concordia University in Montreal, where he received his B.F.A. He has been exhibiting his work since 1986 in museums and galleries across Canada, the US, and Europe. Joe Lima’s works can be found in major collections in Quebec and Europe, including the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec; Collection Prêt d’oeuvres d’art, Musée du Québec; Battat Contemporary in Montreal; in Portugal at Arquipélago – the Centro de Artes Contemporáneas, and Museu de Angra do Heroísmo.


Andrea Kastner Shadow Cities

Gallery Tour with the Artist: Thursday October 4 at 5 pm
Vernissage: Thursday October 4 at 6 pm
Exhibition: October 5 to 27

The McClure Gallery is pleased to present Shadow Cities, an exhibition of new work by painter Andrea Kastner. Her recent experience as artist-in-residence at the Haliburton landfill saw her sitting on the side of a hill made of the accumulated decades of refuse, painting the landscape of our unwanted goods. There, she thought of the way these mountains of waste in a landfill site are an accidental construction of our times, a shadow city built beside the one we live in. On one hand is the urban landscape built with the things we chose, and here was the landfill, carved by the negative space of our desires. Kastner’s work focuses intently on the things we choose to look away from. This exhibition includes several small panels painted en plein air at the landfill, as well as large format paintings of other places she has documented in the context of her family’s many moves and travels – from the frozen compacted waste in Dawson City, Yukon, to a floating house in Iowa City, or a demolition of a flood-damaged apartment in Binghamton, NY, her current place of residence.

Kastner is interested in the cracks and crevices of our built environment. Her paintings imbue these neglected spaces with a glow that comes from looking at the unseen. She exaggerates these slippages by using collage in the planning stage of the paintings, adding tears and holes in the source material, and employing lines of painter’s tape to hold together the fragile reality of the dump. All these fragments of places, these factories, homes, hotels, and wastelands, are bound together in this series of paintings, falling apart and rising up in a collaged reality that is built and unbuilt like a puzzle.

The city is a text being written and re-written, with evidence of revisions in every delicate scar traced on a brick wall. As buildings are torn down, façades exposed, and garbage collected and dumped in the landfill, drafts and corrections to the city are made visible. Kastner’s paintings are a half-written poem to the shadow city, the secrets and ghosts in crumbling and neglected objects, doors that are not walked through but rather appear as portals to alternate worlds.

Andrea Kastner is a Canadian painter based in Binghamton, NY. She holds a BFA from Mount Allison University (2006) and an MFA from the University of Alberta (2012). Her work has been shown in galleries across Canada, including solo shows at Harcourt House (Edmonton), the Kamloops Art Gallery, and ODD Gallery (Dawson City), and group shows at the Art Gallery of Hamilton, the Art Gallery of Windsor, and the Esker Foundation (Calgary). She has received grants from the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation, the BC Arts Council, the Ontario Arts Council, and the Canada Council for the Arts, and was a finalist for the RBC Canadian Painting Competition in 2012. She has participated in residencies at the University of Windsor, the Banff Centre for the Arts, the Vermont Studio Center, and most recently, she was the Reclaim Artist in Residence at the Haliburton School of Art and Design.




Catherine De Abreu, Veronika Horlik, Julie Lavoie, Guy Simoneau & Vera Vicente
Virginia McClure Ceramic Biennale
Guest Curator: Luc Delavigne

Vernissage: Thursday November 1 at 6 pm
Exhibition: November 2 to 24
Curator and Artists’ Talk: Thursday November 8 at 6:30 pm

The McClure Gallery is delighted to launch 573˚, our third Virginia McClure Ceramic Biennale. The title speaks to technical know-how and processes; 573˚C is the temperature at which clay becomes ceramic, miraculously transforming it into art. The artworks in this exhibition articulate how these artists employ their remarkable craftsmanship and knowledge of traditional approaches to experiment in novel ways. In 573˚ we emphasize how this specific knowledge allows contemporary ceramic artists to create work that speaks with relevance to their time and place.

We are honoured and truly grateful to have Luc Delavigne, outgoing president of the Conseil des métiers d’arts du Québec (2013-2018) and current assistant director at the Centre de céramique Bonsecours, as curator of this project. For over fifteen years, Luc has dedicated himself to increasing the visibility of fine crafts, with an emphasis on ceramics, and this exhibition certainly contributes to his remarkable effort. Luc has chosen five distinguished Quebec-based artists – Catherine De Abreu, Veronika Horlik, Julie Lavoie, Guy Simoneau, and Vera Vicente – each with a mastery of particular techniques. We are grateful for these artists’ skillful contributions. Luc’s interest in the object, the process of making, and technical know-how – all serving to articulate contemporary artistic concerns – is very evident in this exhibition.

The Virginia McClure Ceramic Biennale, a series of five exhibitions over ten years, is dedicated to the celebration of excellence and innovation in contemporary ceramic art and honours Virginia McClure’s dedication to the field of ceramics and the Visual Arts Centre. Whereas our first two biennales – Caméléon (2014) and Épisode (2016) – emphasized the impulse towards innovation in contemporary ceramic practice, this year’s theme highlights excellence of craftsmanship as a means to achieve innovation. And unlike the first two exhibitions that invited artists from outside of Quebec, this year, we reached into our own Quebec community, as there are few places more historically anchored in the excellence of craftsmanship than Quebec. The exhibition has an accompanying catalogue of 76 pages including an essay from the curator and a portfolio for each artist.


3rd Virginia McClure Ceramic Biennale

76 pages (43 colour reproductions)
English / French
ISBN : 987-1-926429-19-3
McClure Gallery, 2018
Available: McClure Gallery
$24.95 + tax


James Gardner  Syzygy

Gallery tour: Thursday November 29 at 5 pm
Vernissage: Thursday November 29 at 6 pm
Exhibition: November 30 to December 21, 2018

The McClure Gallery is pleased to present Syzygy, an exhibition by James Gardner. A syzygy is an alignment of three celestial bodies. In this exhibition, it is not planets but three bodies of work that conjunct and resonate with one another. Shown together for the first time, this conglomeration of painting and sculpture explores how images build, gather, and accumulate. Gardner wants the exhibition to help the viewer think about how images emerge and reify over time; how they fragment and recede, not just in memory or cognition, but also throughout history. As such, Sygyzy contextualizes images and image making as analogous with geologic process and other forms of biotic growth and decay. The work is arranged so as to mimic occurrences like accretions or sedimentations. Even as the assemblies of paintings and sculptures make reference to the studio, we see too how systems of making can point towards processes of propagation, replication, or degradation. A picture is never static, but remains caught up in a recombinant process.

The paintings in the exhibition collage together fragments of memory, image, and symbol. Their structures and references are culled from Gardner’s research into ‘Western esotericism’. Subjects like alchemical philosophy inform material processes, colour and form resonate with tropes from psychedelic culture, and the traces of imagery in the paintings allude to Gardner’s encounter with astrological symbolic systems. References are made to the places he inhabits too, but these are rendered strange through recurrent methods of dissolution and reconstitution. The sculptural work in the show has a direct correlation with the paintings, as all the material used is a by-product of the painting process. Either as embellished material cast-offs or caricatures of studio infrastructures, the sculptures anchor image making in a network of conceptual and material relations. The experience of looking becomes an encounter with an ecology of image.

Born, 1983, in Kitchener Ontario, James Gardner currently lives in Montreal and is a MFA candidate at Concordia University. This is his first solo exhibition in Montreal. Gardner has received multiple awards including The Toronto Arts Council and Ontario Arts Council Emerging Artist Grants, the TFVA’s Artist Prize, and The Canada Council for the Arts Project Grant. Recently Gardner received the prestigious Joseph Armand Bombardier Canadian Master’s Scholarship. Gardner was nominated for the 2014 RBC Painting Competition and was also a founding member of the artist collective VSVSVS. Recent exhibitions include Not Together but Alongside at Mercer Union (Toronto, 2015), Painting Eaters at Katzman Contemporary (Toronto, 2016), Sailing Stones at Platform Projects, (Athens, 2017), and Selenotropic at Campus gallery (Barrie, 2017).

Read a review of this exhibition on Akimblog.


Marianne Pon-Layus La dernière fille

Gallery Tour with the Artist: Thursday January 10 at 5 pm
Vernissage:  Thursday January 10 at 6 pm
Exhibition:  January 11 to February 2

The McClure Gallery is pleased to present La dernière fille, an exhibition of new paintings by Marianne Pon-Layus. Her work shows oddly similar women in sensual and aggressive settings with a disconcerting humor.

The situations she depicts contradict the ways women are shown in classical paintings. Far from lascivious models or respectable mothers, her protagonists have a right to violence and desire. With cathartic intent, she wants to free the female figure of heteronormative fantasy and self-shame by exploring domination and role reversal.

MARIANNE PON-LAYUS lives in Montreal, where she draws and paints. In her work, she explores the influence of power relations and stereotypes on the construction of identity. In 2012, Pon-Layus received her Master’s of Fine Arts from the Université du Québec à Montréal’s School of Visual Arts and Media, where she was awarded the Professor’s Fund scholarship. Pon-Layus has had solo exhibitions at Galerie Lilian Rodriguez, Galerie B-312, la Maison de la culture Frontenac and the Outremont Art Gallery. Her work has also been included in group exhibitions at Art-Mûr and the Musée du Bas-Saint-Laurent. As an artist in residence, she traveled in Quebec, Sweden, and Belgium in 2015 and 2016. In 2018, she exhibited large paintings across Canada, in Winnipeg at La Maison des artistes visuels francophones and in Dawson City at the Klondike Institute of Art and Culture.


Jessica Houston Suspended in a Sunbeam

Jessica Houston
Jessica Houston, Qausuittuq ᖃᐅᓱᐃᑦᑐᖅ(The Place with No Dawn), 2010, video still from 24-hour time-lapse photography to HD video

Vernissage:  Thursday February 7 at 6 pm
Exhibition:  February 8 to March 2, 2019
Talk: Thursday February 28 at 6:30 pm

The McClure Gallery is pleased to present Suspended in a Sunbeam, which features mixed-media works that span Jessica Houston’s decade-long engagement with the Canadian North. Houston explores the complex ecosystems of the Arctic, including its history of colonialization, current territorial claims, and climate change. Fragments coalesce in the gallery – colours of soil, a photograph of an abandoned trading post, a charred piece of wood emitting sounds – to emphasize the active power of materials. Earth itself fills the gallery, and our relationship to land, territory and matter is called into question.

Included in this exhibition is a projection of ‘Qausuittuq ᖃᐅᓱᐃᑦᑐᖅ’ | ‘Place with No Dawn,’. This time-lapse video was created with two cameras facing an Arctic landscape. The split screen images extend the horizon and refer to the deportation of people from the two distinct Northern Québec and Baffin communities to assert Canadian sovereignty during the Cold War. Using photography and painting, The Color of Soil points to our extractive measures of relating to the earth, both in terms of resources to exploit and knowledge to acquire, it also offers a view of land as living, full of processes and embedded memory.

Suspended in a Sunbeam offers a space to engage with the histories through which ecologies are made and unmade – a space of solidarity with the ‘non-human’ that evokes another soil under the ground of land grabs, where a self-organizing earth stirs.

JESSICA HOUSTON’s multimedia projects elicit nature/culture entanglements. She has worked with communities in Iceland, the Canadian Arctic and Antarctica for a decade considering questions of ecology and sustainability. She has created site-specific works for the New Jersey MOCA, Asbury Park, New Jersey; the Castello di Corigliano, Puglia, Italy; Governors Island, NY, NY; and The Albany Airport, Albany, NY. Select exhibitions include Art Mûr Gallery, Montréal, Canada; The Hyde Collection Museum, Glens Falls, NY; and The Latimer House Museum, New York, NY. Her works are funded by The Canada Council for the Arts and are in the collections of La collection Prêt d’œuvres d’art, Musée National Des Beaux-Arts du Québec; Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ), Bank of Montréal, Toronto; and the Consulate General of Monaco, Montréal.

Read a review of this show on esse+arts


Marie-Claire Blais, Catherine Bolduc, Pierre Dorion, Karilee Fuglem, Sky Glabush, Jim Holyoak, Henri Michaux, Goodridge Roberts, Matt Shane, Yves Tessier
Guest Curator:  Michael Merrill

Yves Tessier, The Red Paint Job, 1994. Aquarelle sur papier / watercolour on paper, 23 x 50 cm

Vernissage: Thursday March 7 at 6 pm
Exhibition: March 8 to 30
Curator’s Talk: Thursday March 21 at 6:30 pm

The McClure Gallery is delighted to present “Watercolour”. Generally a transparent medium, watercolour exposes the thinking of the artist at work. The paper is primary, providing the lightest tone and, whatever the approach – reckless or precise – it must be considered from the beginning. The artworks in this exhibition feature diverse ways of working with watercolour, some of which fall just beyond the limits of what defines the medium, hence the quotations surrounding the title of this show.

This exhibition revolves around two works, one by Henri Michaux (who approached the medium from what the curator refers to as an “interior vision”), and one by Goodridge Roberts (an “exterior vision”). Michaux refused to paint an existing thing, and Roberts painted only that which exists; Michaux conjured visions out of material reactions, while Roberts interpreted reality, en plein air.

The other artists in the show are situated in various relations to these ideas. Pierre Dorion rigorously extracts the essence of photographic sources. Catherine Bolduc discovers new worlds with ink and watercolour. Karilee Fuglem makes “invisible drawings”. Matt Shane and Jim Holyoak, who often work together, employ ink and watercolour to experiment with contemporary depictions of landscapes – Shane creates urban vistas in black and white, while Holyoak ventures into nature, combining plein air drawing with aspects of Asian ink painting, leaving the process open to accident. Yves Tessier creates dream-like works, combining images from life, film, found images, and fantasy. Marie-Claire Blais traces delicate optical patterns with pigment. Sky Glabush reinvents himself with each new work.

Whatever the pictorial philosophies, the reality is in the materials themselves – a combination of pigment, gum arabic, water, soot, glue, and paper. When the paper is saturated with water and the paint is following its nature, the balance of accident and intention is thrilling. Always, the medium is the message.

Read a review of this show in Le Devoir


Annual Student Exhibition 2019

Vernissage: Thursday April 4 at 6 pm
Exhibition: April 5 to 27

Students registered in the winter session of the Centre’s School of Art are invited to exhibit their work. The exhibition includes a variety of media. It’s a chance to appreciate the great diversity of creative activity that takes place at the Centre. Some works will be for sale.

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