This exhibit is part of the project
Mentorat et visibilité – 2nd edition
Mentorat et visibilité [Mentorship and Visibility] was initiated by the Conseil culturel fransaskois, the Fransaskois cultural council, to support the development of professional skills among Francophone and francophile visual artists. To run the project and assist the artists with their process, the CCF called on Serge Murphy, a visual arts curator, artist and critic based in Montreal.
For the 2019-2020 edition, the artists worked for a year under the curator’s attentive eye towards the presentation of one or more works relating to their individual process. The results of this work is brought together in an exhibition entitled ÉCHOS [Echoes].
The four artists from the 2019-2020 cohort taking part in this exhibition are Estelle Bonetto, Jesse Fulcher Gagnon, Allysha Larsen and Jeff Morton.
Please note: This exhibition was originally slated to be held at the BAM gallery in Saskatoon in the spring of 2020. Owing to the pandemic, the scheduled gallery exhibition could not be presented. The Conseil culturel fransaskois therefore proposed presenting the work in a virtual exhibition, to which the artists agreed. The images featured in this document were all captured at the BAM gallery. The artists were each given a full day to install their work. While there is no substitute for the pleasure of directly experiencing art, we believe that this virtual show will nonetheless provide a very good overview of the four artists’ works. The show’s virtual presentation was produced by Kenton Doupe.
Today’s artists have access to an unequalled range of different practices and unusual materials. Through both content and form, they set out to root their works in contemporary life as it is lived from day to day. The artists are the eyes, ears and voice of the perceived universe that surrounds and envelops them. Each in their way makes an active intervention to convey the particular angle from which they view the world.
In addition, this exhibition deals with concerns that are shared by the four artists. Each artist has an original approach to taking their place in the creative space while expressing reality as it presents itself to them. The resulting works all skillfully illustrate the distancing the artists grant themselves so as to intervene in the perception of reality. Each one traces a trajectory in which humans, sounds, signs and objects interact, and thus invents a personal universe that vibrates within them and that they describe to us. This is how the echo of the world, their world, reaches us.
Through the four processes presented in this exhibition, we are able to witness original ways of managing the connection artists maintain with what surrounds them. We submit that spectators of all ages will be touched by these accounts and will readily see their own reflection in them.
THE ARTISTS OF MENTORAT ET VISIBILITÉ – 2ND EDITION
Allysha Larsen’s practice draws in part on Buddhist traditions. In her current project, she presents free-hand ink drawings that speak of presence and absence, signs and silences. She writes her personal journal with a free brush-stroke, using a post-minimalist alphabet in which the signs echo back and forth, set down alone or in tandem with infinite precision. As in her paintings, Allysha here pursues work that responds to the limits of a refined, mindful abstraction.
This taking into account of a universe that appears beyond the visible is part of a search for meaning in which the process takes precedence. Each image functions as an instant that extends beyond the borders of the page or the canvas. In an exercise where everything is both terribly free and terribly bound, we clearly see the ramifications that could have led to such a disposition, even and perhaps foremost because all exists within it with exemplary resolution. Whether Larsen is producing an entire series or a stand-alone drawing, what remains constant is the same deep dive into endless space. As a series, the drawings call and respond to each other with a mute resonance; as single pieces, they play a freeform score among themselves.
Follow Allysha on Instagram: allyshalarsen
Estelle regards reality through the photographic lens. In her project, practitioners of yoga are seen foreshortened in a mirror. The bodies are displayed in images where the reality of the background blends with the human beings practising yoga in the foreground. We therefore see familiar scenes that have been deformed, or rather reformed, through the mirror’s prism. This device acts as an echo of the yoga experience and the various movements associated with the practice. The result is a comprehensive series of surprising, inventive photographic images.
As we also see, in the number and diversity of practitioners she captures and shooting angles she uses, Estelle refuses to deal in hierarchies or discriminate between good and bad poses or practices. Is she not then in tune with yogic philosophy, in which judgement plays no part? We can witness the freedom she exercises in installing her work. She takes over the space and subjects it to her intuition, allowing no limits in this appropriation, with no attempt to impose a horizontal or even vertical linearity. It might even be suggested that the installation has a gestural quality. The result is a very contemporary mural in which our own image, shot through a mirror, summons a reflection on our existence.
Jeff Morton’s work invites the spectator to take part in an experiment. An interactive piece using visual and sound elements, the work consists of four units. Each of the white wooden boxes is equipped with push buttons and openings through which we can see an abstract landscape that relates to the delicate sounds we can hear as we look. In Jeff’s work, spectators abandon their passive role and become active in a temporal space that they themselves define. The sounds, as echoes and tending to the minimalist, are in this case creations connected to the image contained in each box.
This kind of work, in which sounds and visual elements come together in superimposition and sharing, defines a universe in which the spectator’s hearing and sight are both simultaneously brought into play. This produces different kinds of abstract landscapes in which the audio context contributes to our reading of them. We are not misled by the assembly’s playful aspect, with its subtle scripting of sound manipulation and the contribution made by painted images that have been created (or generated). In this case, the game appeals to willing participants. They become active players, grand manipulators who assign meaning to this game they’ve been asked to play. It is up to them to give a name to what they see and hear.
The situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic forced us to cancel the group show we had planned for the BAM gallery in early May 2020.
Thanks for your understanding in accepting that a virtual format does not work equally well for all of the pieces the artists have spent more than a year developing and producing.
Jeff Morton’s works are interactive and require the spectator to spend time looking for the images and trying out their possible combinations. The spectator’s artistic experience, in interacting with the work, is ultimately achieved only after a certain journey and exploration have taken place.
Follow Jeff’s work online :
Jesse Fulcher Gagnon
In his first work, Jesse offers us a dream world depicted in surrealistic drawings featuring chimerical figures generated by a teeming imagination. Presented on a roll of paper, the drawings tell an outlandish tale in which the shapes mix and collide in a deluge of colour. The drawing asserts itself and invariably elicits a reaction of surprise in the spectator. Jesse openly espouses the world as it appears to him through the echo he perceives, a world he then lays out before our eyes.
In a performative gesture, the artist destroys his largest drawing by tearing it from the wall, and then, by means of an animated reversal, he reconstitutes the original. In a second piece, the performance artist renders a kind of dance with a corner of the space as three vintage screens show animated images in a loop. The animated drawings belong to the family and universe of the large drawing on the wall, with the same fantastic creatures and chimeras again present. The dream continues with a digitized fictional watcher, the artist and his double, sprawling full-length before the screens.