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EXPOSITION | EXHIBITION – Métèque #4
March 30 - April 25
Métèque #4, une exposition organisée pour célébrer la quatrième année de la galerie. L’exposition aura lieu entre le 30 mars et le 25 avril 2021.
Métèque #4, an exhibition organized to celebrate the gallery’s fourth year. The exhibition will take place between March 30 and April 25, 2021.
ART & TIMES
Art, regardless of medium or geography, has always been anchored in “a moment in time”, disseminating reality in myriad ways, reflecting on the past and projecting into the future all at once.
Group exhibitions offer a particularly rich visual and emotional experience, with a variety of voices creating a unique artistic discourse. Such is the case with the anniversary presentation, Métèque 4, celebrated by Montreal art gallery Métèque Atelier d’art. It is a testament to its owners’ perseverance and dedication to the local artistic community, their staunch belief in the power of art as a unifying force, and it underlines the gallery’s mandate, manifested via the Native Immigrant initiative.
The choice of artists for an exhibition aimed at reflecting all of the above was as intuitive as it was informative. Largely scaled down from previous group shows, due to a year lost in pandemic limbo, it presents the work of 13 local creators, both established and lesser-known. Labouring under the oppressive reality of living in times of unprecedented restrictions and wide-spread anxiety, like the gallery itself, they found ways to continue creating and promoting artistic expression.
Not all the works in the show speak of these challenges, although upon reflection – and that may be due to the gallery’s curatorial talent – they all weave a common thread, regardless of how tenuous.
They also, as is the Atelier’s raison-d’être, reflect the multicultural aspect of Montreal’s artistic milieu, incorporating art diverse in cultural moorings.
Representing the latter are works by Priscilla Prudenté and Sarabeth Trivino. Born in Guadeloupe, Prudenté is a self-taught artist, experimenting in a variety of media, finally finding her voice in painting. Her large mixed-media canvas echoes the powerful, vibrant symbolism of the Caribbean culture. Using colour and form in an explosive visual lexicon, her composition features a disarticulated female body as its central figure, messaging both power and anguish.
Trivino speaks a different language, through her choice of medium as well as narrative. Drawing on the folklore of her native Chile, she has created three circular, mixed media pieces, colourful and tactile. With poetic titles like Aura and Coucher de soleil, they are a paean to the time-consuming craft of weaving beads into stunning works of art, a task associated primarily with women, as are the other techniques she uses, like crochet and knitting.
The artist draws colour into her abstract compositions, relying little on other visual accoutrements. From lime green to orange, to shimmering, obsidian black, they pull the viewer into meticulously constructed otherworldly universe.
At the other end of the spectrum are several works grounded in classical techniques, such as Linda Rutenberg’s photographic prints and Marie-Hélène Clavel’s collages. Each artist is showing three pieces, and hanging side by side, they have engaged in an elegant, visual dialogue, despite their diverse artistic provenance. The common link is their
format and the echoing, organic shapes, but also the underlying theme; more insistent in the case of Clavel, understated in Rutenberg’s stylized presentation.
Rutenberg is a well-established artist, known for her beautifully rendered images of nature, and here she is showing a series of studies of wilting flowers under the title Trouble in Paradise. It leaves the viewer to infer its meaning, but seen side-by-side with Clavel’s works, pulls one into the latter’s narrative. The title of the first of her collages says it all: La naissance d’un virus is accompanied by Mutation, both referencing the pandemic, using an impressive economy of visual means to transmit the message.
Between these creative bookends are works by artists who sought to weather the storm by seeking solace in landscape, both natural and urban, with themes ranging from solitary trees to quiet back lanes, allowing for a moment of respite. Their mediums range from painting to sculpture and stained glass, making this a truly versatile presentation.
There is a core to this eclectic selection, and it lies at the heart of the exhibition, in a mixed media, 3-D installation by Agata Kozanecka. All we Have is Now, is a poignant title, so very apt to the work itself. Suspended on her signature metal grid are photographs, snapshots taken on daily excursions, peripatetic wanderings that are at once a way of escape and of finding one’s place. Instantly recognizable, these snippets of reality link us all, suspending the viewer in the eponymous “now”…
– Dorota Kozinska
Dorota Kozinska is an international writer, art critic and editor based in Montreal, Canada.