Though firmly rooted in sculpture and installation, André Martel’s work has turned to performance art for some time now. Nonetheless, the themes and concerns of his research and reflection remain focused on philosophical thinking and the emergence of creativity in human consciousness. Martel is inspired by the desire for direct contact with his audience, in the guise of a made-up character who invites them to play with the work and the artist. His art is lively, human, comical and very spontaneous. Objects play a key role, with various zany contraptions serving as accessories. Though they have no discernible function, they spark the spectators’ curiosity and draw us toward his character, who goes by the name of “Professeur Gustave Erronéous Morbeus”.
André has worked as a professional artist in the National Capital region for thirty or so years. His works are regularly featured in solo and group exhibitions locally and in Ontario and Quebec. He taught at the Ottawa School of Art from 2004 to 2015. The first part of his diploma program course was based on “post-verbal” perception, while the second part dealt with the synergetic geometry of space in the work of the American architect, designer and futurist R. Buckminster Fuller.
André is a former member of BRAVO-Est (Bureau des regroupements des artistes visuels ontariens) and the Voix Visuelle artists’ centre. He has also worked as a consultant and contractor with the Canada Council Art Bank, the City of Ottawa’s public art program, the National Gallery of Canada, the Ottawa Art Gallery and various artists’ centres. He has served on juries for the Canada Council Art Bank and Gallery 101 and Voix Visuelle for the purchase of artworks and the selection of programming elements.