Ecological Art: Pushing the Limits of the Exhibition

Does the gravity of ecological content exonerate artists from having to be concerned with form? The formal meagreness of some exhibitions “dedicated to the cause” might lead one to think so. These assembled ecologically virtuous or activist artworks, extremely informative, wavering between ethical duty and emotion, have long not known which drummer’s beat to follow.…

Black Gold: The Esoteric and the Ecological

Our society’s rituals of consumption are marked out in prehistoric time. Ossified imagination fuels the quest for energy, propels drilling deeper and deeper into the ground. However, the forthcoming risks associated with oil extraction will soon be subterranean in only the shallowest sense. No longer deeply hidden, the energy problem will course through steel tubes…

Nature in Brackets: The Position of an Art Centre

Over the last fifteen years, numerous curators and critics have tried, through theoretical exhibitions, to redefine the role of art in relation to ecology – to find the right relationship between them.1 Perspectives that are too narrow or that drive home the principles of a fundamental duality are held in contempt: the ideas about ecology…

Plastic Undone: Montalti’s Ephemeral Icons

Plastic exists as a significant node in a network of cultural, economic, environmental and political interests. It takes on many roles: domestic servant, caretaker, medical support, kitchen aid, industrial worker. The material is pervasive, yet the cultural sentiment towards it in Anglo-American culture is ambivalent at best. The hostility towards plastic seems to stem largely…

World of Matter, or Complex Thought about Terrains

When I speak of complexity, I am referring to the primary meaning of the Latin word “complexus,” “that which is woven together.” -Edgar Morin While the environmental issue has been and continues to be widely expressed in an alarmist context, many artists now believe that such an urgent matter demands we take the time instead…

The Cloud in Video: Notes on Isabelle Hayeur’s Aftermaths

The evolutionary span of Isabelle Hayeur’s photographic and videographic body of work is related to her capacity to cast an ever-deeper gaze at environmental issues (urban sprawl; the impact of the petroleum, housing, and tourism industries on the deterioration and destabilization of ecosystems). For fifteen years, Hayeur has been thinking and rethinking the image of…

Rhonda Weppler and Trevor Mahovsky: Veneers

MacLaren Art Centre Barrie, Ontario December 4, 2014— March 8, 2015   To say we live in a society utterly devoted to the superficial, to the surfaces of things, certainly isn’t the most profound thing one might utter about us. It’s pretty self-evident, all in all. But “self-evident” doesn’t necessarily mean uninteresting. The superficial, the…

Nicolas Fleming: Something that accompanies one everyday and everywhere

AXENÉO7 Gatineau December 17, 2014— February 7, 2015   Presenting an exhibition of new site-specific work at AXENÉO7 titled Something that accompanies one everyday and everywhere, Montreal artist Nicolas Fleming combines unusual display tactics to re-image the conventional white cube gallery space as a contingent, transitory site for experimentation. With this exhibition, Fleming’s work traces…

Jon Rafman: A Profound Dissonance

Galerie Antoine Ertaskiran Montréal October 15— December 6, 2014   “A profound dissonance” is how Giorgio Agamben explains the condition of being contemporary. He continues: “the contemporary is he who firmly holds his gaze on his own time so as to perceive not its light, but rather its darkness.” 1 In a lecture at the Contemporary…

Ecology: Between Ethics and Aesthetics

At the start of this 21st century, the issues that ecology raises unfold on a true battleground. The supposition that made André Malraux herald this century as irreligious seems hardly credible when the decisions to be made for humanity’s greater good focus on our duty to future generations. In Quebec and in Canada, just as everywhere else in…