A first retrospective of the 6th FAAS

Already missing the FAAS ? Us too. Luckily, we can read a first retrospective published in Inter, art actuel’s numéro 131, written by Jean-Michel Quirion. Là où les artistes explorent les intersections entre le territoire et l’identité, an article that gives an idea of the reflexions made possible by this exciting biennal.

To buy the numéro 131

To get a membership of Inter, art actuel


A newcomer to the Galerie

The Galerie du Nouvel-Ontario is proud to welcome Maude Bourassa Francoeur as the new Communication and Development Agent.

Established in Sudbury since January 2018, she has acquired a training with Prise de parole. She has been a coordinator for a movie festival and as always shown interest in the visual arts and literature.

We take this opportunity to wish the best to Chloé Leduc-Bélanger in her new career.


The GNO is under the influence of the Holiday Spirit!

In 2018, we have…

  • Hosted four original exhibitions
  • Successfully organized the sixth edition of the FAAS
  • Repainted the gallery three times and made hundreds of holes for the Nouveau Louvre artwork
  • Broke a hammer, a level, three brooms and some other stuff
  • Carried rocks, chalkboards, tools, furniture and even more rocks
  • Lost our heating system; regained a heating system
  • Eaten approximately 25 liters of chili
  • Said goodbye to three pets
  • Welcomed two new board members
  • Worked with over thirty amazing volunteers
  • Created a festive Christmas video
  • Earned a well-deserved vacation time!

The GNO will be closed from December 23rd to January 7th. We’ll be back at the gallery on January 8th!

Happy Holidays!


CALL FOR ARTISTS : Nouveau Louvre 2018

The GNO invites all artists to show their work and put it up for sale at the 2018 Nouveau Louvre. Whether you work with charcoal, oil paints, clay or stained glass, it doesn’t matter! We’ll be very happy to accept your artwork, show it in our gallery space and make it available for purchase to the many holiday shoppers who make it a point to take in this yearly art sale that has become a real holiday tradition in Sudbury.

The Nouveau Louvre is the GNO’s most important fundraising activity. All works of art at the Nouveau Louvre will be for sale at the single price of 200$, of which 125$ will be paid to the artist, and 75$ to the GNO.

We are accepting, as of today, up to two (2) works of art from each artist. These will be shown at the GNO from Saturday November 24th to Saturday December 22nd.

We encourage participating artists to bring in their work as soon as possible, so that we might document the artwork and make it available on the Nouveau Louvre website.

Artists have until Thursday, November 22nd to bring their artworks to the GNO at 174 Elgin St. The GNO’s hours are from 12 PM to 6 PM, Tuesday to Saturday.

For more information, please contact us.


Jérôme Havre’s artistic residency continues

Over the course of the last week, artist Jérôme Havre, the GNO’s team and happy volunteers have been working on making and installing the daub on the wire mesh. The materials had to be mixed by feet in a large wooden bin. Havre also experimented with the composition of the natural concrete, using sand or saw dust to create textures.

The sculpture will be completed this week. Contact us if you want to give us a hand (or a foot!).

In parallel, the artist keeps working on the ceramic pieces. The sculptures will go to the oven this week, thanks to Sudbury Basin Potters, our exhibition sponsor.

See you at the opening on October 23rd, at 6 pm!


Did you say FAAS?

This year, our almost-forty guest artists will settle in another emblematic building in Sudbury: the Village on Mackenzie, former St. Louis de Gonzague elementary school, who is gracefully provided for free by our event partner Autumnwood. The theme, À qui? (To whom?), positions the artists at the intersection of identity and territory, and invites the spectators to reflect on this contemporary issue.

This sixth edition of the Fair of Alternative Art in Sudbury is happening from October 24 to October 28, 2018. As always, conferences, a night of performing art and the presentation of the new work will be among the many activities that will take place.

You don’t want to miss out on anything, don’t you? Then download our mobile app, or visit the FAAS’ web page.

We’re always looking for handy hands (and the people who are connected to them). If you want to be a volunteer, please fill out this form.

See you soon!


Artist-in-residency Jérôme Havre working on new exhibition

Since September 20, the GNO is hosting Jérôme Havre, our newest artist-in-residency. The gallery has been transformed into a workshop, where the pieces of the Interior exhibition are slowly taking shape. The main piece will consist in a large architecture-inspired structure that will look like a wattle and daub hut. Wattle and daub is a composite building material used for making walls, in which a woven lattice of wooden strips called wattle is daubed with a sticky material, usually made of some combination of wet soil, clay, sand, and straw.

Gérald working on the structure of the architecture-inspired piece

The structure in a glance

In addition to this structure, the artist will also present some ceramic sculptures that that will inhabit the space. The surface of the walls will also be put to contribution.

A sculpture taking shape

The installation should be completed on October 12.

To be continued!


Childhood Scribbles are the Future Healers

An accompanying text by Sarah Blondin on Florence Yee’s exhibition But really, where are you from?

There are moments when entering a space curated by someone can feel like a revelation. In that instant, we have an idea of what their childhood was like. The way our eyes scan a room, we have a stereotypical mindset that brings us to pre-assuming their memories. For example, I was a young girl full of drama, trapped in the suburbs; therefore my walls were obviously covered in Backstreet Boys posters. Even now in my adult years, I find myself covering every inch of my walls, expressing my likes and dislikes in my bedroom.

After studying visual arts, I began to notice that artists are truly captivated by their childhood memories. There is forever a sense of looking back and turning their story into a current visual component to document and remember their formative years: I would often ask myself, why? Our childhood is full of embarrassing and traumatizing moments—some more than others. However, after spending many years thinking, and staring at my Backstreet Boys wall, I realized that our growth as human beings is the reason for our creativity. Art is shaped by our experiences and the place they subjectively hold in our personal narrative. So that time you thought that tripping down the stairs in high school was the worst, that time you’ll likely never forget about, will spark a future creative project that will heal something within you by expressing it through your own life.

Walking into the GNO for Florence Yee’s exhibition “But really, where are you from?”, I felt strings from my heart being pulled. The way the show was curated, I felt as if I was walking into someone’s life experiences, as if I was sitting in the artist’s home and experiencing the deeper inside the womb of the home; absorbing the joy, struggles and outcomes of this life. When I stepped into the gallery, Florence’s life story easily came through and was attached to me. Her work also serves as a powerful source that speaks to a large community: one that tends to be socially looked down on, but has and forever deserves its voice to be heard. There is a balance of innocence and maturity to her exhibition. We can see the child within Florence protecting and holding on to her traditions, yet we also understand the pressure of Western culture seeping in. She is an artist speaking from her child-self, creating in hopes of sparking human connection: something we all want and strive for. As people, we are all just searching for a sense of community, and Florence’s art truly encapsulates that ideal.

Something about Florence Yee that also completely struck me was her age. For someone this young to have such a strong connection and love for her community—and additionally for possessing the courage and bravery to express her memories in the public eye—is in itself a work of art to be remembered for. She ultimately speaks for the many youth today who are struggling with their own identities; a subject quite pertinent in our country and today’s society. Always remember your childhood, be close to your story and create from you.

____________________________________________

Sarah Blondin is a local mixed media artist who is still 16 at heart. Her inspiration comes from being a young woman and growing up in a smaller community where the internet was the way for over dramatic expression, a time when every MySpace page was a way too personal diary, however shared with many. Her work explores collage, illustration and sculpture. She hopes to bring joy, curiosity, humour and memories to her audience.


Looking from a bird’s-eye view with Caroline Monnet

An accompanying text by Deanna Nebenionquit on Caroline Monnet’s exhibition WANDERLUST

If you’ve ever been in the presence of a work by Caroline Monnet, you know what it feels like to feel small in an exhibition space. And if you’ve ever been in the presence of Curator Stefan St-Laurent, you know what if feels like to be comfortable in an exhibition space. These two have travelled from Québec to Sudbury to present an exhibition that is both relevant and timely for the city.

La Galerie du Nouvel-Ontario is a small artist-run centre located on Elgin Street in downtown Sudbury. The south facing gallery has large exterior windows that channel a flood of light and noise pollution from the nearby train yard. The small space feels historic, and it feels like it has a lot of stories to tell. We’re lucky to have had Caroline Monnet and Stefan St-Laurent put together another story through their exhibition entitled Wanderlust.

As soon as you walk into the space, you’re struck by an extremely long wall, perhaps 35 feet or more, of a very futuristic-looking wallpaper printed and installed by Blue Moon Graphics (Sudbury). The geometric patterns of the wallpaper are like an endless maze, both positive and negative elements represented equally. Overtop this wall are three distinct 60 by 60 inch canvases. These works (Edith, Caroline, Roberta) are from the Modern Tipi series created by Monnet in 2012 in her Montréal studio.

At the back of the gallery, you can see elements of the wallpaper exposed on the GNO’s indoor window which somehow manages to be a part of each installation in recent years. You’ll also notice a television screen is looping a black and white film with an eerie soundtrack produced by Frères lumières. This video is called Gephyrophobia (2012), which gallery staff pleasantly explain is the fear of bridges (but not in a literal way).

The 120 second, 16-millimetre film was produced by a team of colleagues and friends that Caroline works with often. I recognize some of the train tracks in the video as bridges between Gatineau, Québec and Ottawa, Ontario. My years in Ottawa make this video oddly familiar. The black and white filming makes it seem like this wasn’t too long ago, or perhaps it could be in the future. The rushing water of the Kitigan Zibi, or Ottawa River, plays an integral role in the film. I’ve noticed viewers see the rushing water first, whereas others will see the bridges connecting multiple cultures, or making them respectful elements.

If you carry on clockwise through the gallery, there are six square panels with geometric patterns hanging on the wall. You look back and forth between the wood panels on one wall and the geometric patterns in the wallpaper. And yes, you are correct in thinking that those motifs do somehow interconnect though in ways that you may not be aware of at first glance.

*****

The exhibition title is Wanderlust. If you do a simple Google search on the word, it means to have a desire to wander. To me, the word feels more like discovery than exploration, and beyond that, interpretation and reflection. It’s an exciting active word that has the potential to breach a new world of possibilities.

In this year of 2018, downtown Sudbury is on the cusp of change. Sudbury city council has endorsed new projects including the Elgin Street Greenway, Downtown Master Plan, and a series of advantageous new building projects. It seems like for the first time in many decades communities are coming together to (hopefully) support something new and positive for the downtown core and to revitalize the city.

The broader message of this exhibition intersects with the story that Sudbury is currently living in right now. As a community, we need to move forward with these projects collectively, and we need to make sure that voices are heard. And while there are differences in our community, there are opportunities for these differences to intersect and create something beautiful. In Caroline Monnet’s work you can see crossing lines in the Modern Tipi Series, you can see lines in the wallpaper and the wooden panels, and you can see the intersecting line evident in the bridge crossing over the Kitigan Zibi. As a viewer, the lines can be interpreted as maps that have been sewn together from multiple perspectives and media.

*****

The artist, who is of Algonquin and French ancestry, is thinking about intersections of her two cultures and how this forms her work and ideas. The eloquent and beautiful Caroline Monnet has a way of bringing audiences together to meet and discuss perspectives. It’s interesting to hear her talk about her work, primarily how it is conceptualized, how it’s made, who is involved, and who installs it. Each step of the way, the artist seems profoundly grateful.

At her artist talk, Caroline talked about the influence of the geometric shapes and patterns in her work. What I find most important was Caroline’s description of how she came across the use of the square and the use of sacred symbols. It was while she was sitting with the matriarchs of her family that she began to learn these ancient ways. And it was her education and the people around her that allowed her to use this knowledge and carry it out in a 21st century way using graphic design programs and modern printing techniques. 

I asked her what shape she starts with when she works. And rather than answering with a circle (my automatic assumption) she said she starts with a cube or a square. So from this cube or square, you can make endless patterns and endless possibilities. And it is true, through the maze you can see the square throughout. It is a balanced and robust shape and can work in any circumstance.

So the maze that you see running through the gallery, and the maze that is running through your mind is deliberate, and it’s structured.

Presenting an abstract exhibition in the first place can be a challenge. Especially when audiences are used to traditional forms of art. Abstract art, in my opinion, takes a while to ingest. You have to be comfortable enough to enter the space, and you have to be confident enough to open your mind a little bit wider to take in the information. It took me about four visits to go back and realize that the Modern Tipi series is a form of an installation in itself. The carefully folded linen over the stretcher reminds me that it is careful and deliberate work when building a structure or working on a project.

During my last visit to the gallery, before writing this paper, I took a closer look at the plywood works that I’ve been ignoring this whole time. Although I know there is an essential element hidden in the works through secret messaging, I had a hard time with the medium. It is seven-ply plywood that has been burnt using an electric system that I am not familiar with. The intensely crisp lines were burnt out, and the lasers left a negative black space. I took a photograph of this, and to my surprise, I was able to identify what looked like the bark on a tree. And it got me thinking that yes, at the base of all these projects and the base of all these ideas there is the natural raw ingredient. And these are the natural elements that we use to build these projects. So as we go forward in our little northern mining town with big plans, keep in mind that the natural elements, the guidance of the people that came before us, and the intersecting of our cultures is what makes everything great. By not forgetting who we are, how we’ve used land in the downtown core, and how we hope the people will use it; we can move forward and build these great projects using strategy, a bird’s-eye view, and collaboration and communication.

Caroline Monnet
June (detail)
2018
Laser etching on wood
24 x 24”

Deanna Nebenionquit is an emerging Indigenous curator from Atikameksheng Anishnawbek, formerly known as Whitefish Lake First Nation. Since 2014, she has curated a number of exhibitions for the Art Gallery of Sudbury | Galerie d’art de Sudbury, including Darlene Naponse’s bi mooskeg | surfacing, which was named the 2016 Exhibition of the Year (Under $10,000) by the Ontario Association of Art Galleries, and Mariana Lafrance’s to not be so lonely | pour ne pas être si seule.

Deanna would like to thank la Galerie du Nouvel-Ontario for agreeing to pay for translation services by Ms. Tenascon who is an Algonquin Speaker from Kitigan Zibi. She would also like to thank Danielle Printup (Ottawa, Ontario) and Ella Jane Myers (Sudbury, Ontario) for taking the time to edit this text.