Saturday, February 26, 2005

Getting out and seeing other people's art


Yesterday we went to (in no particular order) Artus, Graff, Art Mur, Diagonale, Atelier Circulaire, Clark, and the Galerie d'Art d'Outremont.

At Artus we saw Telo with works by ten artists, the only ones worth remembering are Pierre Dupras and Xavier Landry. Overall the exhibit gets a C. Basically the show seemed a hodgepodge of stuff that I couldn't be bothered to determine if there was anything tying them all together. The place itself is well situated (across the street from Graff) so even if the stuff in the window sucks (in this case it didn't, but was much more "handicraft" than art) I always feel it can't hurt to poke my nose in. I was quite taken with the pieces by Mr. Dupras and Mr. Landry, in a silly sort of way, but my friend wasn't. Thankfully the exhibit is over as of today. 988 rue Rachel Est, Wed - Sun 12 to 6pm.

At Graff we saw Volumes with pieces by Catherine Bechard & Sabin Hudon, Patric Lacasse and Laurent Lamarche. Overall the exhibit gets a B. In retrospect the highlight of the day. Sorta sound installations, sorta kinetic sculptures, sorta really cool stuff. With one major glaring exception. Bad news first - M. Lacasse's piece (in a nutshell, two headphones, a tiny video screen imbeded in a wall, a floor lamp and a settee is without a doubt just flat out bad. Thankfully, it is sandwiched in between two other rooms that are really good (the first) and spectacular (the last).

Mme. Bechard and Mme. Hudon used what appears to be (metaphor alert) spit and chewing gum, to construct these rather large things that make sound as they scrape other things. While the sounds that each thing made weren't all that distinct from each other, watching them move and make the sounds was pretty darn cool. One uses big brooms and paper, and if I was so inclined, I could probably riff off for about 2,000 words on garbage, cleaning, time (the brooms move like pendulums) and the scraping sound. The second was a cat's cradle-like (or guitar-like, take your pick) tin can telephone using buckets with some crawling object, again pretty darn sweet, except that when I tried to talk to my friend using the tin can telephone, it didn't quite work. My eyes almost popped out of my head though, when I saw the price list - the brooms (called La Voix des Choses) was going for a cool $20K, and the tin can telephone (Au Bout du Fil) for only $10K. For that sort of money, I'd go out and buy one of the fancy as video conferencing telephones, or hire myself a cleaning company.

However, M. Lamarche's piece, called Epicentre is worth every penny of the $3,500 he wants (I wonder what sort of commission an Artist Run Center gets?) It fooled both of us numerous times with how it worked, in the process of trying to figure out how it worked and have it make noise for us I almost broke it, and on top of it the noise it made was pretty darn cool (which is better than pretty darn sweet). I'm not going to give y'all much detail, but suggest that you hightail it over to Graff, and then walk through the two doors to check it out. The shows goes until March 12th. 963, rue Rachel Est, open standard issue gallery hours: Wed - Fri 11 am to 6 pm, Sat 12 to 5.

At Art Mur we saw Langage Plastique, with art by seven artists, Marsupial Traces by Aleks Bartosik. The only ones worth remembering from Langage Plastique are Francois Chartier, and Denis Rousseau. Overall the exhibits get a B-. M. Chartier paints on four foot by four foot canvas using an airbrush. Simple enough, eh? Well what he chooses to paint is what makes 'em wicked cool. Remember back when you were four-years old and had a hankering for a Happy Meal? Because it had a cool toy inside? Imagine collecting all of them and ever darn knock-off, imitation, and thing that is sorta similar, and then painting them in such a way that they are, I guess 1,000 times larger than they are in real life. The Colors! The Details! The Glory! Holy Smokes, it is akin to diving in head first into American Consumer Culture because the water in the pool looks glorious. While you could take an ironic stance to his paintings, why would you want to?

Then, if you turn around 180 degrees, and move about seven steps to your right, and then wait three minutes you can jump out of your skin when Mr. Rousseau's kinetic sculptures (or mechanical guards against imaginary monsters) come roaring to life. With a flip flip here, and a tweet tweet there, there ain't no way you would want to live on Old Rousseau's farm, but while hanging out at Art Mur they sure as shooting are cool to watch. The other stuff there, while not as bad or horrific as what I would see later in the day just suffered by comparison. Small paintings, tiny objects pinned to the wall, and other stuff like that just couldn't really compete with big, brash, bold and boisterous. The show hadn't officially opened when we poked our noses in the door, but it is as of now and will continue until April 2.

The less I write about Ms. Bartosik, the more I can write about other stuff. I'm certain that there was something serious going on, worthy of someone's full, complete and uninterrupted attention. It just wasn't me. All of 'em are at 5826, St-Hubert, better than standard gallery hours: Tues & Wed 10 am - 6 pm, Thurs & Fri 12 to 8 pm, Sat 12 to 5 pm.

At Clark, we saw Manon Labreque's Plaintes, Justin Stephens' Update on Hippies, Mario Duchesneau's Walk-in Progress, and I listened to Bernard Falaise and A_dontigny. Overall the exhibits get a B-. Ms. Labreque is the artist that made this visit worthwhile, unfortunately, she suffers in comparison to the art that we had previously seen created by Mme. Bechard and Mme. Hudon at Graff. Pretty much squeez box art, not quite up to the quality of music created by Guy Klucevsek, but way more original than Lawrence Welk. Two of 'em go out, one goes up and down. The third one seemed to have some visual references to the piece by Pierre Dupras at Artus. I was quite impressed and then it was made even more fun by the obvious aural similarities with the whole exhibition at Graff.

Unfortunately, the rest of the stuff at Clark wasn't so hot. Justin Stephens made the art at Artus look good, and Mario Duchesneau would be better served by discussing his work with the kind and generous people at Diagonale (although at the time I saw it, I didn't realize it, 'cuz we hadn't gotten to Diagonale, yet). Fortunately or unfortunately as the case might be you can't see any of it anymore as the show ends today. For future reference, 5455 de Gaspé, local 114. standard gallery hours Tue - Sat 12 to 5 pm.

At La Galerie Circulaire we saw Judith Klugerman's Synchronism. Overall the exhibit gets a C. I really like Atelier Circulaire. They take their things very seriously, they some kick-ass equipment, it is open to the public (although it ain't easy finding the place) and everybody there is very friendly, unlike some other artist run centers. Unfortunately, yesterday when we stepped in the door, Ms. Klugerman's work wasn't exactly knocking my socks off. They might have fallen an inch or so, but that might have also been due to just plain walking. 5445 De Gaspé, #503 - I assume better than standard gallery hours, because they are open 24/7 for members, but it might help to call first (514) 272-8874.

At Diagonale we saw Giorgia Volpe's Canada/habitation. Overall the exhibit gets a C. Bundled rags. Hmmm. I assume, like with Ms. Bartosik that there was something happening, but it was tough for me to discover it. Thankfully the folk at the gallery came out and asked me all sorts of questions, which made for a very entertaining time while I was there without me having to look at the art for too long. 5455, de Gaspé, #203. I assume that they are open regular gallery hours because there ain't no info anywhere about being open or closed.

Then finally, at the Galerie d'Art d'Outremont we saw Ariane Dubois' Marais et paysages intimistes. Overall the exhibit gets a D-. Let's just say that this one flat out sucked. No redeeming qualities in any way shape or form. Laurent Bouchard (the coordinator of the gallery) really needs to learn how to say "no." I'm not going to give you the address, if you really want to find it, you're going to have to find it for yourself.

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