Saturday, May 29, 2010

Friday, May 28, 2010

Monday, May 24, 2010

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Marion Wagschal in Conversation - Battat Contemporary

To witness Marion Wagschal's work is to be confronted with a delicate but firm power. With her compacted spaces, raw subject matter and attention to detailing, this Montreal-based painter's work occupies a space which for me lies between the edge of Schiele and the decorative embellishment of Klimt. Yet, at the same time, Wagaschal has a style all her own that explores a depth of subject matter that enthralls the viewer.

I had the pleasure of listening in on a conversation between the artist and Jake Moore, Director of the FOFA Gallery at Concordia University. It really was a privilege to be able to deepen my understanding of the works on display at Battat Contemporary (until June 5) through discussion of process, inspiration and interpretation. Jake's bubbly and personable nature brought forth an effortless, casual yet thoughtful conversation about Wagschal's career, her focus on the figure, her dedication to social realism and her process. The world of Wagschal's canvases comes to life on the canvas through intense detailing, a process likened to needlework by the artist, working out the nuance of the scene and its ashen colouring. The canvases resolve themselves.

While the subject matter is immediately and apparently intense, Marion has a calm considered air about her. Her world may be intense, but on the surface, she does not have that harsh edge. But I did sense her assiduous dedication to her work, charmed by colour, curious about drapery, always wanting to see her inspiration to its rightful end on the canvas. The drapery of her canvases, as the artist noted, brings the loftiness of baroque drapery to a more visceral human level. The artist embraces the psychological and explores memory, aging, gender, bodies, relationships and our lived realities. There is an honesty in her work, and a depth, these statements on canvas have not been arrived at easily. Wagschal confronts a raw reality and works her canvases into alternate spaces, miasmas of texture and faded colour.

Marion Wagschal's recent work can be viewed at Battat Contemporary until June 5.

Images of Wagschal's paintings courtesy of Battat Contemporary website.

Rising Ethereal

Two photographic moments, one an accident, one a moment of visual discovery, both staircases, rising ethereal.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A Black and White Ticket to Japan...

In his photographic wanderings (a loose translation of the project's title Samayou), Montreal photographer Laurent Guerin transports the viewer across Japan with his crisp images. Playing with contrast and focus, the images on display at Galerie Orange in Old Montreal are at once fantastical, at once documentary, and always poetic. A thoughtful world wanderer, Guerin has previously produced genuine and acclaimed bodies of photographic work of both India and Japan. The ascetic space of the gallery creates an environment conducive to viewing the stark images. I particularly like the two mosaics, a collection of images arranged in a grid, that produce loose personal portraits of Tokyo during the day and at night.

Guerin's images will be on display until May 30, 2010. Galerie Orange is located at 81 Saint-Paul Est, Montreal.

Images courtesy of the Galerie Orange website (viewable here).

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Connection. Arrival.

Wow, I'm a bit shitwrecked. I am arrived home in Montreal but boy am, I feeling a little all over the place. I woke up at 7am feeling achy, like an old man. I still can't believe that it is only 10am. Is this possible? Why is time going so slowly? What am I going to do all day? Ah, transitions.

I had a fun little 22-hour journey yesterday. The flights were mostly alright, but wow, my connection in LA is worth recounting. After a 13-14 hour flight, I got off the plane ready to go through customs, reclaim and recheck my bags, go through security and make my connection to Chicago an hour later. Well, too bad I had to go to the bathroom straight off the plane because I found a MONSTROUS line going into customs. I kept looking at my watch, it didn't look good. I finally got out of customs after 40 minutes of waiting. 20 minutes to make my flight, could I make it? I ran to claim my bags, recheck them and then saw the line for security. No way I was waiting. I talked to a few people got sent here and there and finally was shoved to the front of the line. The final call for my flight was being announced as I took off my shoes and belt, took out my laptop, and chugged down the half liter of water I had in my water bottle. No way and hell they were taking my beloved water bottle. As soon as I had my shoes on, I ran, ran through the airport as if I were Indiana Jones getting chased by that giant boulder. The people at the gate were waving me in to come on the flight, they were about to close the door. There had been two people behind me on the same flight and they told me to run ahead and tell the people at the gate they were coming. I did but they were reticent to wait, I felt awful. But I made it.

Moral of the story? While short connections are good because you'll make it home sooner, allowing at least two hours between flights is a pretty civil way to go. So between the catatonia of my airplane flights and my mad dashes in airports in between, its fair to say that my body has taken a beating along with the jet lag. But I made it, said a sad farewell to the sister and the brother-in-law and Sydney and am back in la belle ville, Montreal, for the summer. But for now, I am just taking it one moment at a time.