The VAV is welcoming back visitors to our physical space with the Physical Residency Exhibition
Wednesday: 11am - 3pm
Thursday: 11am - 3pm
Friday: 11am - 3pm
Location: 1395 René-Lévesque Blvd W, Montreal, Quebec H3G 2M5
During the past year and a half, the VAV Gallery, like many other institutions, has faced unprecedented circumstances. During this time, the VAV gallery was forced to shut down its physical operation, but persisted in its mandate to exhibit student work and support student artists by responding to uncertain circumstances in innovative and alternative ways. One such response by the 2020-2021 VAV Gallery coordinators was the creation of a series of residencies for undergraduate artists. In the absence of an ability to host physical exhibitions for prevention of viral transmission, the residencies allowed for use of the physical space again, prior to official campus re-opening. The physical residencies represented the first breath of life into the space after a year-and-half-long suspended animation. During the summer of 2021, the gallery hosted four artists in individual, consecutive two-week-long periods between July 5th and August 29th. The individual nature of the residencies protected both our community and the artists from viral transmission and allowed the artists the unique opportunity of working and creating within the gallery space. The artists each utilized the whole space to their individual ends; working, playing, performing, mounting, dismounting, documenting, and engaging with the environment while bending and expanding its spatial and conceptual limitations. This exhibition seeks to capture and display the essence of each artists’ two-week-long tenure in the gallery. The ambitions, approaches, practices, and outcomes of each artist-in-residence varied widely. Therefore, the exhibition seeks to convey the creative process and exploratory narrative of each residency, rather than “finalized works”; allowing room for on-going inquiry.
Artists and Projects
Alicia Turgeon is a multidisciplinary and neurodiverse artist based in Montréal, Québec. She is a BFA candidate in Sculpture at Concordia University where she was recently awarded a Sustainability Research Award (2020) and an Experimental Learning Grant (2020-2021) for her creative pursuits on the boundaries of authorship through open-design and DIY praxis. Past shows include local group exhibitions such as Past & Future at La Station, a Mies van der Rohe designed former Esso gas station, and Sweet Back Poetry 2 presented by Soft Square Gallery.
Handle with Care - Project statement by the artist
The results of this physical residency are part of a larger investigation by the artist Alicia Turgeon titled Handle With Care. In this series, Turgeon explores found objects through the lenses of critical intimacy and radical care. It is a careful and sensitive exploration of used materials; collection, peeling back of layers, fragmentation, repurposing, and re-evaluation.
In these in-progress works, Turgeon presents a similar occurrence. By making the choice to inspire herself from decades old weaving manuals and blueprints found among her late grandparent’s belongings, she is deviating from a formal application and moving it away from its primary function. As much of a family portrait as a self-skilling process, each piece of material used, from her matriarchs’ old scarfs to stored-away fabrics and discarded cables, speak of generational gaps, untaught skills, and the un-assumed sides of reconciliation.
All of Jean- Philippe’s pieces come from the same universe, a universe where he creates hybrids; part human, part animal, part machine. With these hybrids, he works on the link between humankind and its environment. His work is also self-representative. He often tries to understand himself through his art, through a kind of self-mythologizing. This journey has incited his use of a variety of materials in his practice. He gets to know the limits of each one, mastering his art language through these limitations. He utilizes repeating subjects, objects, and elements from one medium to another, with each medium informing the other and each pushing the concepts further. As well, he has begun experimenting with bringing the characters found in his drawing and painting to life through performance art.
The Rainmaker - Project statement by the artist
Every day, when I came into the gallery, I walked around, looked at how my previous day of work was integrating, transforming the gallery space, how it breathed, how it evolved, how it lived. Looking at paper fragments that had fallen on the floor, searching for another place to hang them, in another form to transform them.
I created my own drawing tools in the form of very long fingers out of paper. I used those tools to draw with ink and to touch and feel the gallery, the world that I was creating.
I terraformed the gallery in the first week of the residency, to accommodate the creature that will be emerging in the second week. This creature was made out of papers that had fallen on the floor or were picked from the wall. These resources were then grafted onto a hyperthermia blanket using embroidery thread. This creature ended up being a representation of water, making rain and wave sounds as it moved. The creature was also masked, or had its head bandaged, mending the bones of the head, a head that has been broken, mending a broken mind.
Joel Young is a ceramic and installation artist based in Montreal/Tiohtià:ke/Mooniyang. He has worked as an independent musician for over ten years and created the online journal Vague Magazine (2018). Joel’s ceramic and sculptural work has been shown as part of the group shows “The Suffering, Impractical Desire to Name,” (The Art Matters Festival, Montreal, 2019) and “what if x = fun FUN Spectacular,” (The Diving Bell, Montreal, 2019). He is working towards his BFA in Studio Arts at Concordia University.
Support - Project statement by the artist
Support is a sculptural installation featuring fired ceramic materials propped up by steel wire, concrete bricks and unfired earthenware clay.
What kinds of support do we take for granted in our lives? What structures do we rely on, both physical and emotional, to allow us to do what we do? During my residency at the VAV Gallery last summer, I played around with finished ceramic sculptures, trying to make them come to life using materials I had on hand. As I worked through the space, trying out different ways to prop up or position my work, I thought about how much support I get from the people in my life, and the institutions that I am a part of.
Stoneware, porcelain, and unglazed earthenware sculptures are formed by coiling and pinching. Abstract and figurative forms imitate parts of the human body in movement. Glazes and oxides are applied to the surfaces of the organic structures, emphasizing different surface characteristics. The materials used to support the fired ceramics have been manipulated in an intuitive way: stacking bricks, crocheting long steel chains, and hastily squeezing clay to raise the static figures from the ground brings the forms closer to the onlooker or passerby.