|Material Wealth by Joe Lewis||| Print ||
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Textile artists in Quebec are numerous and diverse. They have a supportive atmosphere that is culturally attuned to their work. In such an atmosphere you find Carole Baillargeon, Louise Lemieux Bérubé, and Marie José Danzon, sculptor/installation artist, weaver and quilter respectively. Each approach their work with skill and expertise gained through training, research and practice. Each is outstanding in their own arena of textile practice and each takes their body of work in unique directions. This is a brief introduction to the work of these three artists.
Carole Baillargeon is a sculptuor, an installation artist, an educator and a researcher based in Quebec City. She is obviously fascinated by clothing, a fascination that she says in her website has been with her since childhood. It was more than just the cloth, colour, and texture of the garments that interested her; she discovered the relationships between clothing and perception -- or rather, of pre- perception. The fact that an outfit came with a preset notion of personality and behaviour; the ifact that clothing functioned as a costume or disguise and not just as covering or shelter for the body was quickly realized. For Baillargeon cut, drape and construction combined with colour and texture became sculpture, location, and environment. The response of the viewer to these combined elements transforms mere sculpture into a generator of story, supposition and character. Her work brings together these ideas in exciting, transmuted and intriguing ways.
Her most recent work is an ongoing project, Landscape- Clothing in Four Seasons. It is an environmental installation, a performance, a sculpture, a costume and a document of time passing. “Spring” occurred outside while the other three seasons are interior events with performers/creators/collaborators who occupy some of the sculpture/costume while interacting in and with the installation and or its location
Spring: was a multi-disciplinary performance work with the concept and design by Baillargeon, choreography by Lydia Wagerer, and sound design by André Dubois. With 5 dancers and 1 musician, the initial performance was in 2004 in the fountain of the garden St-Roch in Quebec City. Each dancer was costumed in a garment constructed of bottle corks stitched together. The performance was documented in still photography and video. As an installation, the initial drawings, costumes, photographs and a video produced by Quebec Quoted Art are all on display.
Summer: The installation consists of thousands of buttons in myriad colours combined with metal wire - all lit to dramatic effect. Its delicate light weight construction allows for the piece to be affected by the motion of people passing by and fans blowing in different directions. It is a flowing, shimmering, effervescent, atmospheric piece.
A portion of Summer was on display at Gesù - Centre de Créativité in Montreal from September to October 2005. (Photographs: Michel Gauvin)
Autumn was exhibited at Centre artists Vaste and Vague in Carlton Quebec in 2006. There is a three minute film produced, choreographed and performed by Christine Redfern doing a dance performance in this installation
Autumn is a landscape created from denim. Using hundreds of pairs of jeans, Carole Baillargeon has created numerous objects. A continuous floor covering and backdrop 10 meters wide by 12 meters long is made of cut up jeans and other pieces of multi coloured used denim clothing pieced together on which the rest of the elements are placed. A pile of 24 woven denim strip mats (2 X 2.5 M), areas of pieced pockets and a rack covered with the remnants of waist bands and double sided seams remained after cutting out the legs and removing the pockets. Some of these are stacked together and mounted on a stool and take on the shape of a stooped figure of an elderly woman (my interpretation). It is a stage set in which the viewer is the performer.
Winter: consists of 24 white covers made using various techniques. Traditional methods are worked in non-traditional ways on a variety of different textiles: embroidery on soluble base, pieced, knitted, felted, appliqué, etc. These “white works” have textures which correspond with variaties of snow. The 24 garments are twinned with 24 hat-sculptures developed according to the techniques, materials or the topic present in the corresponding cover. This installation in a completed form would be a performance with a 24 voice choir in costume, imitating the sound of tearing cloth in commemoration of the actual work involved creating the piece
Winter, a sculptural installation, will be at the Materia Gallery in Quebec City in September 2007 (concurrent with this issue posting)
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