Tuesday, August 09, 2005

By special request Bernard Lamarche & Jerome Delgado on Trashformations


Over the weekend, I got an email from Louis Joncas, requesting that I stay true to my word and "make quick and easy jokes, snarky comments and all around sophomoric humor about the local yokels."

I told him I would - so here goes... (And as an aside to P-FO, please make note, that I am only and solely commenting and critiquing the work of Bernard Lamarche and Jerome Delgado, I wouldn't want to go through that, again.)

First off, let's get the meat of the matter out of the way:
Jerome Delgado's review of Trashformations in the July 3, 2005 edition of La Presse gets a C+.
Bernard Lamarche's review of Trashformations in the July 23, 2005 edition of Le Devoir gets an A-.

Now, on to the gravy. M. Delgado, as one would assume from the publication for which he writes, seems to go for the light and breezy, populist nature of the exhibition. He calls it "refined, seductive and pretty." He then goes on to highlight the work of Louis Joncas writing that his series of photos are the jewels of this particular show. He gives Karilee Fuglem and Jérôme Fortin once sentence, each, while then spending a full paragraph on Mike Patton's exhibit, which isn't even on the same darn floor, let alone the same gallery.

I've gone on about this time and time again, such that I thought people were tired of it and stopped - but I can't help myself here. The freakin' review is 454 words long. It is at Pierre-Francois Ouellette Art Contemporain (five words if you're following me, and not counting for yourself) due to the standard style of La Presse, M. Delgado writes the name of the gallery three times in his review - 3%! If space is that tight, then I highly recommend that M. Delgado use the acronym, PFOAC. He'd be able to squeeze in at least one more sentence about the art. On the positive side, I hope that M. Delgado is paid by the article, and not by the word.

But, back to the gravy - most likely due to space limitations - M. Delgado is unable to even list all the art that is exhibited, nor is he able to give any sense of the art within either the context of it all being grouped together, or any larger context. One of the things that struck me - and here I'm jumping ahead of myself) is that from the description of one of Michel de Broin's pieces, on PFOAC's website, it seems like ('cuz I still haven't seen the show) that M. de Broin had some fun with Bottle Rockets. Now, as I said I haven't seen the video in the exhibition, but if you click here, you can see Professor Dean's videos of bottle rockets. I don't know if they're art, but sure as shootin' bottle rockets is fun! If Michel de Broin was able to convince CALQ, the AFAA, the OFQJ, and various other governmental agencies to give him the cash for a trip to Paris so as to shoot bottle rockets, then I am duly impressed.

Then finally, it appears to me, that M. Delgado seems uncertain of his ability to write clearly about why he likes and enjoys the show, or perhaps he just decided it would be simpler, given the space limitations to resort to using bits and pieces from the artists' CV's so as to add some sense of significance to what they are doing. He does mention that Louis Joncas had his photos at the Manif d'art de Québec, that Jérôme Fortin currently is in an exhibit at the Musée d'Art Contemporain, and that Michel de Broin also was in the Manif d'art de Québec and has a solo exhibition scheduled for the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec. Maybe that's why he tacks on his sentence about Karilee Fuglem almost as an over thought at the end. Maybe he was unaware that one of her photos has graced (and been purchased) by the Musée d'Art Conteemporain. If he had known, I'm certain he would have at least given her a second sentence to tell his reader about this important fact.

Now that we're done with the gravy, let's move on to the icing. M. Lamarche's review, first of all, ain't available to the general public. Pity, so since I am about to comment on it, click here, if you'd like to read it.

I docked M. Lamarche a couple of points, because he tends to use really big impressive and multi-syllabic words. And while that might fit in with the handbook of style and usage at the place where he works, I'm not a big fan of it - especially in a second language - and since I'm the one handing out the marks...

He starts off playing it cagey, suggesting that the show could be "tightened up," ArtSpeak code for "there are some pieces in this show that I don't like." He then goes on, calling a spade a spade, by seemingly seeing through the title and mentioning that in fact the four artists in the show are the four of the highest profile artists on P-FO's roster.

I'm not certain that I agree with him when he says that "garbage was the principal material in the exhibition." As, from everything that I've read it seems that photographs are the bulk of the show, and while their content might be that of "garbage," the photographs themselves are anything but.

Then, he goes in for the kill. Sorry, Louis, I definitely prefer someone explaining in some detail what they like (or in this case dislike) about art, instead of using bland terms that don't tell anybody anything substantial, and in fact make the work sound like high priced wallpaper, which is what M. Delgado's words do.

M. Lamarche continues on both explaining what he likes about Jerome Fortin's work and what it looks like. He then moves over to what I assume is the next wall and suggests to M. de Broin what he thinks would make the video better. Since he too misses the bottle rocket stuff, I'm starting to think that maybe growing up French means that you don't wanna shoot things in the air - perhaps if Quebec or France had started their space programs at about the same time the US did, bottle rockets would be common knowledge here.

Then finally, M. Lamarche ties everything together with his paragraph about Karilee Fuglem. While he goes on with the technical terms "depth of field" and "focal precision," as the reasons that he finds her photographs "poetic visions." Judging by the stuff up on PFOAC's website, I'd think it has to with the shadows. Especially since he does point out (something that M. Delgado overlooked) that two of M. Joncas' photos are pretty much of the same darn thing as Ms. Fuglem's.

The only other thing that I would add is that I am disappointed in both writers in that they didn't really talk about how the art confronts the idea of trash and over consumption - but I guess that they thought it would be best served in the catalogue (there is a catalogue, right?) and that while I thought that the title, Trashformations, was a pretty good made up word that I had never heard before, a simple look at Google showed me that it was as original as a title for an art exhibition as my PB&J sandwich I'm gonna have for lunch.

And now that I've gone on longer that both articles combined, I guess it would be a good time to go back to work.

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