My solo exhibition Impressions de soi, on view at the Centre culturel Notre-Dame-de-Grâce in Montreal until January 22, 2017, proposes an intimate reflection on the theme of identity. The show presents two installations, two series of prints and a didactic showcase.
Dress Up is a series of five large format collagraph prints of dresses that evoke women’s bodies. Essentially black and white, with a blue detail in one piece, the dresses bear imprints of my hands, arms, feet and torso. These direct traces of my body interact with symbols, textures and an infinite tonal range of black, reinventing my identity within the realm of the imagination.
I Chart is a play on the optometrist’s eye chart, used to measure visual perception. The letters on this dress invite deciphering and raise questions of how are we are perceived, what we choose to reveal about ourselves and what lies beyond surface appearance. Each dress represents a facet of womanhood and is a reflection on exterior identity and inner states of being.
The Paper Steps installation of thirty two paper shoes marks the beginning of my exploration of the three dimensional form within the context of an installation. I used my feet to create moulds with which I made the shoes. Our feet are our roots and direct connection to the earth. They epitomize our steps and paths and evoke the passage of time.
The shoes in this installation are embellished with acrylic and collage of various media, such as gelatin prints, shredded strips of my personal journal and photocopies of my son’s baby feet. Suspended, these whimsical shoes twirl and come to life, conjuring imaginary characters and their trajectories.
Handy Tales was created specifically for the juried exhibition Then and Now in New York City in 2015, where it was awarded the Speedball Purchase Award. This expanded version of Handy Tales, is on show for the first time. The installation consists of twenty life-size three-dimensional hands made of cast Mulberry paper.
The pieces incorporate water based printing ink, acrylic and collage with paper printed with various techniques such as drypoint, woodcut, collagraph and gelatin printing. Several pieces also include typewritten and handwritten messages. Like a palm reader, one can project a story in each hand. The masterfully staged lighting creates an intriguing projection of mobile shadows on the wall, that englobe their own narration of interacting hands.
The Renaissance series of eight monoprints, created in 2016 specifically for Impressions de soi, complements the exhibition with a more subtle tone. At a Renaissance used goods store in Montreal, I discovered a pair of women’s leather gloves. The wrinkles of these soft gloves bare witness to the movements and life of the original owner. The gloves evoked a sense of nostalgia.
Each print of the glove, in pastel tones, simultaneously suggests fading away and rebirth. Printed on thick 320 gram paper, the inked gloves that passed through the etching press created an embossed effect and physical evidence of the real glove. Over the printed gloves and surrounding white paper I perforated designs and words with needles. Words such as renaissance and rebirth, radiate hope and celebration.
The different series of work in Impressions de soi resonate and interact with each other, creating a poetic symphony of symbols, colors and twirling forms that play on the imagination and suggest a multitude of possible identities.
Impressions de soi is on show until January 22, 2017
Centre culturel Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, 6400 Monkland Avenue, Montreal, Quebec
Hours and information: (514) 482-0777
Thank you to Mylène Robillard, Colin Earp-Lavergne, Robert Dufour, Rémi Turgeon, Émylie Bernard, Audrey Gan-Ganowicz and Alain Piroir.
Mustafa Hacalaki (Portrait)
Daniel Roussel (I Chart)
Susanna Orescovik (all other photos except for last one)