The 2023 Claudine and Stephen Bronfman Fellowship in Contemporary Art awarded to artists Maude Arsenault of UQAM and Kyle Alden Martens of Concordia
Montreal, March 30, 2023 ̶ Maude Arsenault, artist, photographer and graduating Master’s student in visual and media arts at UQAM’s Faculty of Arts, and Kyle Alden Martens, interdisciplinary artist and recent Masters in Fine Arts graduate in sculpture from Concordia University, have been awarded the prestigious 2023 Claudine and Stephen Bronfman Fellowship in Contemporary Art.
The Claudine and Stephen Bronfman Fellowships in Contemporary Art, each worth $60,000 and disbursed over a period of two years, provide award recipients with the recognition and support they need to refine their work and further their creative research at a turning point in their careers, as they move out of academia into the professional community. Each year, the fellowships are awarded to two students completing a Master’s or PhD program in media arts or visual arts at UQAM’s Faculty of Arts and Concordia University’s Faculty of Fine Arts.
The 2023 fellows
Maude Arsenault (UQAM)
After a number of years behind the camera in the fashion industry, Maude Arsenault, photographer, artist, mother and feminist, shifted her focus to the visual arts in 2015. Her work examines themes of female representation, private space, domesticity and intimacy, which she explores with photographic and printed images, collage, sculpture and installations as her starting point. In this way, her projects deploy unexpected body spaces from a perspective of female self-determination.
Maude Arsenault holds an art history certificate from the Université de Montréal, and is a graduating Master’s student in visual and media arts at UQAM. She also received the Centre des Femmes de l’UQAM scholarship in 2020 and the Yvonne L. Bombardier visual arts scholarship in 2021 and won the prestigious international Hariban Award for photography in 2020 in Japan.
“I’d like to thank UQAM and the selection committee for awarding me the 2023 Claudine and Stephen Bronfman Fellowship in Contemporary Art,” says Arsenault. “For me, this award represents an incredible sign of recognition and support from the academic and professional communities, for a direction in my life that I couldn’t have imagined possible even a few years ago. As a recognition of my work and research in photography and printing that addresses the realities and oppression that women are subjected to, this wonderful award comes at a turning point in my life. As an artist and graduating student in visual and media arts at UQAM and as a single mother, I’m overjoyed at the possibilities that the Bronfman Fellowship will make available for me. I’m delighted to have chosen UQAM to pursue my Master’s degree. Thanks to the program’s multifaceted approach, the quality of the teaching, and the kindness and support of my research director and the professors at the School of Visual and Media Arts and the Faculty of Arts, I have been empowered, nourished and transformed. I want to express my deepest gratitude to the Bronfman family.”
From 2022 to 2023, Arsenault undertook a one-year research and creative residency in the Gaspésie region on physical bodies and territorial bodies. The result of this research will be presented at the Rencontres de la photographie en Gaspésie in 2023.
Kyle Alden Martens (Concordia)
Kyle Alden Martens is a Montreal-based interdisciplinary artist working in sculpture, installation and performance. He recently graduated from Concordia with a Masters of Fine Arts in sculpture, where he was supported by the Dale and Nick Tedeschi Arts Fellowship, the Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship (SSHRC), and the Fonds de Recherche du Québec - Société et culture (FRQSC).
Martens’ works have been displayed in solo exhibitions with CIRCA art actuel in Montreal, AXENÉO7 in Gatineau, and at the Khyber Centre for the Arts in Halifax. His exhibition PORTABLE CLOSETS was shown across the country, with stops at Stride Gallery, Centre Clark and Eastern Edge Gallery. He also presented works in group shows at Patel Brown, Bradley Ertaskiran, Pangée and the Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery, among others.
“I am humbled and grateful to receive the Bronfman Fellowship,” says Martens. “It provides essential financial support that will allow me to dedicate myself to my work and create larger sculptures. Previously, my work was focused on the closet, and the sculptural use of garments has represented a kind of body located inside or outside of the proverbial queer closet. In certain ways, my work will now pivot from fabric to metal, from softness to hardness. The action of piercing — a sharp, puncturing blow — and the idea of a piercing — a small hole with its edges softened by scar tissue — are the two starting points for my research. Recently, the various facets of jewellery and the boxes it comes in have heavily influenced my work, from their tactile interiors to their hard exterior shells, as well as the materials they’re made of, like wood, silk and heavy metals. I was attracted to Montreal for many reasons, including its immense artistic community, which along with Concordia, has shaped this very dynamic period of my life. Having access to Concordia’s resources over the next two years will help me create the more complex sculptures and installations I’ve been thinking about. I also have a strong interest in pursuing a career in teaching, so this will be an opportunity to gain experience.”
Martens is currently being supported by a creative grant from the Canada Council for the Arts as he examines storage sites with the goal of finding new metaphors for the proverbial “closet”.
“The financial support provided by the Claudine and Stephen Bronfman Foundation in Contemporary Art is invaluable for emerging artists,” says Joanne Lalonde, dean of UQAM’s Faculty of Arts. “This fellowship is one of the most generous available to upcoming visual artists in Canada, providing them with the confidence to dedicate themselves fully to their research and creative work while also supporting their transition to a professional career. I’d like to express my profound gratitude to the Bronfmans for their sincere and authentic support over the years. Since 2010, the fellowship has helped create a community of artists making strong contributions to arts and culture at the national and international levels. Maude Arsenault (UQAM) and Kyle Alden Martens (Concordia) both show incredible promise. My counterpart at Concordia, Annie Gérin, and I are extremely proud of their work, which will be on display at the Plural Fair this April. We wish them both a highly successful career.”
Annie Gérin, dean of Concordia’s Faculty of Fine Arts, also highlights the importance of this fellowship. “The Bronfman Fellowship is a rare opportunity for emerging artists to fully devote themselves to their art during the critical early years of their career after earning their degree,” she says. “We are extremely grateful to Stephen and Claudine Bronfman for their ongoing generosity and support.”
28 exceptional artists have received the Fellowship to date. Past winners are:
2020: Heidi Barkun (UQAM) and Mara Eagle (Concordia)
2019: Céline Huyguebaert (UQAM) and Madeleine Mayo (Concordia)
2018: Frédérique Laliberté (Concordia) and Émilie Serri (UQAM)
2017: Andréanne Abbondanza-Bergeron (Concordia) and Martin Leduc (UQAM)
2016: Yannick Desranleau (Concordia) and Guillaume Adjutor Provost (UQAM)
2015: Velibor Božović (Concordia) and Myriam Jacob-Allard (UQAM)
2014: Marie Dauverné (UQAM) and Brendan Flanagan (Concordia)
2013: Nadia Seboussi (UQAM) and Kim Waldron (Concordia)
2012: Sébastien Cliche (UQAM) and Julie Favreau (Concordia)
2011: Aude Moreau (UQAM) and Pavitra Wickramasinghe (Concordia)
2010: Steve Bates (Concordia) and Véronique Savard (UQAM)
Plural Contemporary Art Fair 2023
Works by the Fellowship winners will be exhibited at the Plural Fair from April 21 to 23, 2023. Kyle Alden Martens will be present to introduce his works.
About the Claudine and Stephen Bronfman Family Foundation
The Claudine and Stephen Bronfman Family Foundation is a charitable organization that strives to create and innovate locally, nationally and internationally, with a strong focus on Montreal.
** Photos of fellows available upon request.
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