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Concordia’s must-see art this fall

Campus galleries give viewers an immersive, full-throttle experience
September 3, 2014
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By Kayla Morin

Emily Pelstring and Jessica Mensch co-created Eyelash Wars, a bizarre multimedia installation Emily Pelstring and Jessica Mensch co-created Eyelash Wars, a multimedia installation. | Courtesy of Inflatable Deities


Learning about art doesn’t just happen in the classroom — which is why there has never been a better time to check out Concordia’s galleries. Need more incentive? Much of this fall’s lineup encourages physical participation.

“Visual art is not the only thing that constitutes contemporary art,” says Michèle Thériault, director of Concordia’s Leonard and Bina Ellen Art Gallery. “The defining lines today are very broad.”

To reflect this, the Ellen Art Gallery will be transformed for Just Watch Me, a five-week event inspired by Quebec’s revolutionary history.

Romeo Gongora, the gallery’s artist-in-residence, initiated the project to provoke dialogue and collective creation around “how one constitutes oneself in society,” Thériault explains.

Artist-in-residence Romeo Gongora decorated the gallery floor and walls for Just Watch Me
Artist-in-residence Romeo Gongora decorated the gallery floor and walls for Just Watch Me. | Photo by Katerina Lagassé

The gallery will become an immersive environment, complete with a discothèque and free Wi-Fi. It hopes to feed off the buzz of new students on campus.

“It will really work with the public’s participation,” Thériault says. Daily activities will include, panel discussions, yoga, experimental music and a DJ set every Friday night.

Adventures can be found anywhere, même dans la mélancolie, a performance-based project by Claudia Fancello, BFA 98, Marie-Claire Forté, Adam Kinner, Ashlea Watkin, BFA 97, and Jacob Wren, will continue the theme of public engagement.

Visitors will be invited to to rewrite or reinterpret pages of Pessoa’s writings in Adventures can be found anywhere, même dans la mélancolie
Visitors will be invited to to rewrite or reinterpret pages of Pessoa’s writings in Adventures can be found anywhere, même dans la mélancolie. | Photo by Christian Bujold

Co-produced by the Ellen Art Gallery and the interdisciplinary group PME-ART, Adventures is inspired by Portuguese literary phenomenon Fernando Pessoa’s The Book of Disquiet. Published posthumously and under a heteronym — imaginary character personas created by the poet — it is composed of hundreds of fragmentary thoughts that are the subject of endless literary debate.

Adventures will feature rewritings and readings in multiple languages — “another Quebec-centered question,” Thériault points out. Visitors will be invited to contribute or alter pages, so that a new, thicker Book of Disquiet emerges.

Finally, Speculations. Risquer l’Interprétation features work from 15 artists from the gallery’s permanent collection, including several new acquisitions.

The gallery’s Max Stern Curator Mélanie Rainville is curating the three-part exhibition, which Thériault says “addresses meaning in curatorial work, and how environment and display influence the interpretation of artworks.”

This mouth is from Brenden Fernandes’ video, Foe (2008), and will be on view for Speculations. Risquer l’Interprétation
This mouth is from Brenden Fernandes’ video, Foe (2008), and will be on view for Speculations. Risquer l’Interprétation. | Photo courtesy of Leonard and Bina Ellen Gallery

The Leonard and Bina Ellen Art Gallery focuses on contemporary art as it interfaces with various curatorial strategies. Its program of exhibitions and activities draws upon local and international art and works in its permanent collection.

Immerse yourself in La Rentrée

The Faculty of Fine Arts (FOFA) Gallery is known for the diversity of its projects. This fall’s exhibitions are no exception.

“Each has something really interesting around the idea of exhibiting and performing,” says Jennifer Dorner, the FOFA Gallery’s new administrator. Dorner took over this summer from jake moore, BFA 93, MFA 06, who coordinated the projects.

Experimental artists Emily Pelstring, MFA 09, and Jessica Mensch shot and filmed on location in the FOFA Gallery’s main space for their multimedia installation. Eyelash Wars is an expanded fiction featuring two rival vendors of beauty products who compete for best commercial display.

For Eyelash Wars, two rival beauty vendors will compete for the best commercial display
For Eyelash Wars, two rival beauty vendors will compete for the best commercial display. | Courtesy of Inflatable Deities

“It’s a fun and bizarre kind of installation,” says Dorner. “The storyline is absurd, so it’s a great starting point from which the creative components spiral outward.”

Pelstring and Mensch will perform at the gallery’s opening vernissage as part of the project.

Jérôme Nadeau, BFA 11, will present his interactive installation of light-sensitive paper, That innate and ineradicable craving for what is out of the common proves how glad we are to have the natural and tedious course of things interrupted. Visitors will be directed to the gallery’s Black Box, a dark space behind the busy main room, where they’ll be able to move papers around and witness the traces of past movements.

Parallax: Landscape in Translation will showcase the work of faculty members Cynthia Hammond, MA 96, PhD 02, Kelly Thompson, and Kathleen Vaughan, MFA 10, in the York Corridor vitrines. A multimedia display with painted canvases, textile piecing and digital embroidery, Parallax mediates on the embodied experience, representation and translation of landscapes.

“It’s really nice to have that range in the gallery, with faculty members installing in the York Corridor vitrines, an MFA student showing work in the black box and recent graduates filling the main space,” comments Dorner.

Jérôme Nadeau will present his interactive installation of light-sensitive paper.
Jérôme Nadeau will present his interactive installation of light-sensitive paper. | Image courtesy of Jérôme Nadeau

Three contemporary aboriginal artists — Amy Malbeuf, Sonny Assu and Emilie Monnet — will engage with Canada’s history of colonialization for Exhibiting the archives / Performing the archives. A performance in October will coincide with the Aboriginal Curatorial Collective’s Iakwe:iahre Colloquium.

COMBINE 2014 will mark 29 years of the gallery’s annual exhibition of Faculty of Fine Arts undergraduates. The work of 16 artists from a variety of media will be on view. Undergraduate student work is selected by a jury that includes the co-directors of the student-run VAV Gallery. This year 16 student-artists will participate, including work done in video, installation, sculpture and painting. A catalogue for the show is produced by students in the design program, art history and studio arts.

“We hope these installations and performances will inspire incoming students from all corners of campus while inciting dialogue around questions that will come up,” Dorner says.

The FOFA Gallery mainly features work by current and past Concordians.

On Loyola Campus, the Media Gallery hosts periodic exhibitions and initiatives that emphasize ephemeral, itinerant and transitory events that are often location-specific and time-based. It's located in the basement of the Communication Studies and Journalism Building, Room CJ 1.419, 7141 Sherbrooke St. W.

  • The Leonard and Bina Ellen Art Gallery is located on the ground floor of the J.W. McConnell (LB) Building, Room LB-165, 1400 De Maisonneuve Blvd. W.

  • Just Watch Me runs from September 5 to October 11, and the gallery’s opening hours will change during this period. The vernissage will be held Friday, September 5, from 7 to 10 p.m. DJ Poirier will play a set starting at 8 p.m.

  • Adventures can be found anywhere, même dans la mélancolie will show from October 23 to November 1, with a vernissage on the opening day at 5 p.m. and a closing event on November 1 at 3 p.m.

  • Speculations. Risquer l’interprétation will be on view from November 18 to January 31, with an opening on November 15 from 4 to 6 p.m. Part 1: November 18 to 29. Part 2: December 9 to January 10. Part 3: January 20 to January 31.

  • The FOFA Gallery is located on the ground floor of the Engineering and Visual Arts Integrated Complex (EV Building), Room EV 1.715, 1515 Ste-Catherine St. W.

  • Eyelash Wars and That innate and ineradicable craving for what is out of the common proves how glad we are to have the natural and tedious course of things interrupted will be open to the public from September 2 through October 19. The vernissage with Eyelash Wars public performances will be held September 4 from 5 to 7 p.m.

  • The Exhibiting the archives / Performing the archives performance will take place to coincide with the Aboriginal Curatorial Collective’s Iakwe:iahre Colloquium October 17 at 7 p.m.

  • COMBINE 2014 will be on view from October 27 to December 5, with a vernissage October 30 and a finissage and book launch December 5.

Read more from Jennifer Dorner on La Rentrée 2014.




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