Vernissage: Wednesday, September 11, 6 p.m.
With La compétition des bonnes nouvelles, Galerie Simon Blais presents Isabelle Guimond’s very first solo exhibition as a gallery artist. Here she is interested in the notion of ruin not only as a motif, but also in terms of material and method. While ruins are the survivors of past times, involved in the creation of a richly allegorical imagery, their shifting forms depend upon our conception of time and history, as well as our identity and our willingness to construct and safeguard a heritage. After focusing on anthropological issues related to disadvantaged neighbourhoods through a near-documentary approach, Guimond now explores the appropriation of images from various sources that she has gleaned and compiled for over a decade. Juxtaposing those with her own from past works, she develops paintings through a method that is close to collage. Superimposing images and fragments of them, her works provide scope for narrative intersections and interruptions.
A ruin, for the artist, is at once a symptom of the destructive power of time and the expression of a certain melancholy in the face of past glories. The concept of ruin enables her to solidify her major preoccupations while investigating still further the notions of fragment, temporality, detritus and archive. In La compétition des bonnes nouvelles, Isabelle Guimond wanted to move beyond using her subject as a motif, to transcend its representation, through an attempt to “ruin” by creating a body of work she calls “paintings of excavations.” With their patinated surfaces, layers of residues, erosions, fragments and inversions, they operate like reminiscences of the time that would have physically acted upon them. Calling on digital technologies and flirting with abstraction, this recent corpus suggests a new area for the artist to explore.
Isabelle Guimond lives and works in Montréal. Her work has been shown in Québec, the United States and Mexico. The recipient of the 2014 Sylvie and Simon Blais Award for Emerging Visual Artists, she has also been a finalist for a Claudine and Stephen Bronfman Fellowship in Contemporary Art. Exhibitions of her work in the last few years have included those at Galerie de l’UQAM, Galerie B-312, Les Territoires, Centre des arts actuels Skol, and the Maison de la culture Maisonneuve.