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Concordia’s Art Volt Collection makes its public debut at the Plural Contemporary Art Fair

Alumni Clara Cousineau and Francis Macchiagodena will exhibit works from April 12 to 14 in Montreal’s Old Port.
April 8, 2024
Diptych of artworks: On the left, one in shades of blue, on the right, figures on a lined page.
Left: Isle no.21, Archival inkjet print on baryta paper, by Francis Macchiagodena, 2023. Right: Une idée, des mots, by Clara Cousineau, 2022. | Photos courtesy of the artists

Concordia’s Art Volt is set to make its inaugural on-site appearance at the Plural Contemporary Art Fair in Montreal’s Old Port, April 12 to 14. The Collection is an initiative that supports recent alumni of the Faculty of Fine Arts transitioning into their professional careers.

This marks a milestone for Art Volt as it will be joining a lineup of 39 galleries from seven Canadian cities participating in the 2024 edition of Plural. Organized by The Contemporary Art Galleries Association, the fair is renowned for spotlighting contemporary art from across the country.

The Art Volt Collection now counts more than 350 artworks and 41 artists, with more to come in June once it launches its 2024 Collection. The new and returning artists will stand alongside cohorts from six other emerging galleries, all selected for their “singular approach and vision,” explains the fair organizers. The works will be featured in a new Pavilion Spaces section dedicated to these alternative galleries and initiatives.

Camille Bédard, BFA 11, is head of the Art Volt Collection. She says she is thrilled to be presenting in this new section and welcoming artists Clara Cousineau, BFA 18, and Francis Macchiagodena, BFA 16, MFA 20, to their booth. The two artists engage with materiality through different strategies and mediums.

“Since the Art Volt Collection doesn’t have a permanent physical space, having the opportunity to show the works of Clara and Francis will be a great way to introduce exhibitors and visitors to our artists and online catalogue,” she shares. “Launched in May 2022, the Art Volt Collection is still relatively new in the milieu. Plural is the ideal context to meet people who could be interested by the program, for various reasons, and to introduce visitors to Art Volt’s mentorship, residencies and professional training — all very relevant for recent graduates in fine arts.”

Bédard explains that the Collection does not fit neatly into a box. “It is neither a gallery nor an artist-run centre. But it responds to a specific need: supporting the artists in their transition to a professional art career,” she notes.

“Our program supports artists over a couple of years following graduation, which is a critical period for them in the pursuit of their artistic goals. We obviously hope to sell a few works, but we’re also excited to spread the word about the program in general.”

Diptych portraits: On the left a black and white photo of a young man with longish dark hair, wearing a dark top. On the right, a young woman in black, holding a long shredded piece of paper From left: Francis Macchiagodena, BFA 16, MFA 20 and Clara Cousineau, BFA 18.

‘I’m excited by the prospect of people engaging with my work’

Cousineau says that she is grateful that her journey with the Art Volt Collection has brought her to the Plural fair this year.

“It's a unique opportunity to showcase my work and discover that of my peers," expresses Cousineau, who uses sculptures and prints while intentionally blurring the distinction between mediums.

Macchiagodena echoes her enthusiasm: “Participating in Plural benefits my practice in multiple ways. It not only serves as a physical platform for selling my work in addition to Art Volt's online sales format. It will also provide an opportunity for my work to be seen by collectors, curators, art enthusiasts in large numbers. I’m also excited by the prospect of people engaging with my work and seeing what it may inspire,” he says.

“It's a great way to build relationships with Montreal’s vast art community, curators and gallery directors, but also so many exceptional artists.”

Bédard believes this debut event aligns perfectly with the Collection’s commitment to support emerging artists by providing them with opportunities to showcase their work on a larger stage.

“We will be there throughout the weekend to represent the artists and practices that make up the Art Volt Collection and give more information about the initiative. Last year, Plural gathered around 8,000 visitors. We hope that our presence will help foster new collaborations in the arts milieu.”

Learn more about Concordia’s
Art Volt Collection and the Plural Contemporary Art Fair, taking place April 12 to 14 in Montreal’s Old Port.


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