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 / past / 2011-2012 / ALLURING THINGS


May 19 - June 30, 2012

Artists: BGL (Québec, Canada), Bill Burns (Toronto, Canada), Daniel Corbeil (Montréal, Canada), T&T (Toronto, Canada)

Guest Curator: Gentiane Bélanger

Opening Reception: Saturday, May 19, 2012 from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm

Curatorial Talk at 2:30 pm

The exhibition is produced by the Foreman Art Gallery with financial contributions from the Canada Council for the Arts and the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec.

Alluring Things examines the predominant role played by material culture in the epistemological configuration of nature. More precisely, it looks at recent art practices that have integrated an attention centered on objects and social mechanisms into an ecological rhetoric, instead of overtly criticizing consumer materialism. Through installations teeming with peculiar objects by BGL; photography and digital drawings by Bill Burns and T&T; scale models by Daniel Corbeil and T&T, this exhibition seeks to undo materialism’s alienating connotation and instead present it as a relational vector between the natural element and the production of cultural objects. Ecological endeavors take place, in the case of these artists, through a respect for things and their avowed materiality. You will hence discover an intense proliferation of objects in this exhibition spanning all degrees of materiality—from formless “things” to highly technical gear. It is by means of all such stuff that Alluring Things comes to negotiate a pervasive ambivalence—hovering between fascination and anxiety—regarding the artefactual abundance that surrounds us.

Press Release

Curatorial Text

Bill Burns was born in Regina, Saskatchewan and has lived and worked mostly in Toronto, Canada and London, England. His work consists mainly of sculpture, photographs, multiples and books. He studied under sculptors Mowry Baden and Roland Brenner at the University of Victoria in Canada and later under Gerard Hemsworth and John Latham at Goldsmiths College in London, England. He is known for his Safety Gear for Small Animals (SGSA) which was first shown at 303 Gallery in New York in 1994 and later at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 2005-2006 and at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London in 2008. Burns' miniature safety vests, work gloves, etc. exploit the conventions of traditional museum display and print-media marketing. His 2002 project "Everything I Could Buy on eBay About Malaria" which was shown at the Wellcome Trust in London, England is considered a seminal work in the area of electronic collecting. Burns graduated with a Masters in Fine Arts in 1998 at Goldsmiths College at the University of London, England and a Ba in Fine arts in 1980, at the University of Victoria (Victoria, B.C.). Burns has published numerous books including When Pain Strikes (Burns, Busby, Sawchuk), a critical anthology about pain and pain relief, published by the University of Minnesota Press in 1999. Burns has also published dozens of guides, posters, and editions. His editions are included in major museum collections throughout the world. Burns’ work has been exhibited in major museums and biennial exhibitions since the nineteen nineties. His most notable exhibitions include the ICA in London, the MoMA in New York as well as Forum Arte y Vida at the Havana Bienal in Havana, Cuba in 2003, the Bienal del Fin del Mundo in Ushuaia, Argentina in 2007 and the Quebec City Biennial - Manif d'art 5, in 2010.

Contemporary art group BGL was established in 1996 by Québécois artists: Jasmin Bilodeau, Sébastien Giguère and Nicolas Laverdière. The project being presented for this exhibition is within the field of sculpture. The collective is renowned for its strong concepts along with an aesthetic tinker touch that reminds us of their Québécois roots and its charismatic craftsmanship. BGL shows it is ecologicaly conscientious yet ambivalent towards materialistic culture. If we can sense consumerism criticism through their art works, we can also sense, in an aesthetic point of view, a fascination of abounding materials preferring recycled ones. For this exhibition, BGL is going to produce an installation based on their previous work, similar to their retrospective, Postérité, presented at the Parisian Laundry that included various recycled art works. The dominating themes will integrate overconsumption and materialistic abundance, being their heart warming subjects. In 1996, BGL graduated from Université de Laval with a BA in visual arts. They were honoured with prizes such as: Victor Martyn Lynch-Stauton Prize 2007; OAAG design and installation Prize 2006, National Gallery Ottawa; Télé-Québec, aménagement / art et la ville Prize; finalist for the Sobey grant; Graff Prize, Graff Workshop, Montréal 2003; Duchamp-Villon Prize, Galerie Plein-Sud, Longueuil 1999. Their art works have been exhibited individually: in 2009 New Sellution, Diaz Contemporary, Toronto; Postérité, Parisian Laundry, Montréal; Marshmallow+Cauldron+Fire=, Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver and in 2008 Les bénéfices du doute, Number 9, Don River, Toronto; Artistique Feeling, Centre culturel canadien à Paris, France; Sensuel et non tangible, Vu, Québec.

Native to the Abitibi-Témiscamingue region, Daniel Corbeil lives and works in Montréal, QC. He received his MFA from the Université du Quebec à Montréal and now teaches at the Cégep du Vieux- Montréal. The artist has been exhibiting professionally since 1989. Daniel harbours daily profusion to laboriously create ecosystematic maquettes to test simulations of climactic variations. He has a sensitive touch when it comes to craftsmanship; he likes to think that our understanding of the natural world is filtered through constructed concepts and visual representations emerging from a plausible imaginary. Recently, his work on the effects of climate change on the landscape has been the subject of various solo exhibitions: “Architecturesfictions”, (Galerie des arts visuels, Université Laval, 2009), “Laboratoire climatique ; nouvelles expérimentations” (Musée d’art contemporain des Laurentides, 2006) ; “Perspective entre ciel et terre“ (Galerie Thérèse Dion Art contemporain, 2006) ; “Laboratoire climatique : paysages sous observation”, (galleries L’OEil de Poisson et centre Vu, 2004). The artist has been a recipient to numerous grants including Canada Council for the Arts and the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec; he was also awarded the 2007 Graff prize. His work can be found in public collections: Musée du Québec, Musée régional de Rimouski, Collection Loto-Québec, National Gallery of Canada and Simon Fraser University.

T&T is a 10 year old collaboration between two Canadian artists: Tony Romano and Tyler Brett. They both graduated with a Bachelors degree in Fine Arts at the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design in Vancouver. Tyler Brett currently lives in Bruno Saskatchewan where he has cofounded the establishment of The Bruno Arts Bank in 2010. Tony Romano lives in his native city of Toronto where he practices his art including much street photography and personal interpretation. Their common artistic mediums are drawing and building maquettes.  They like to fantasize of a social reorganization in the post-traumatic calm of a disaster’s remains. The dream is to find harmony and balance in a futurologic way, in ecological and social ways.  T&T leave massive motifs on deserted places of modernism and progress to cast them away in a near future where they would transform into a sweet utopicly recycled street hawker. This dynamic duo continues to explore new ways of inhabiting the world and renegotiates our relation towards technologies and objects with graphic representations and alternate habitat maquettes. These architectural environments are suspended above a somewhat familiar past and a near future yet to be. Their work was exhibited solo at: Vancouver Pendulum Gallery (2010), Galerie Clint Roenisch, Toronto (2008); Oakville Galleries, Ontario (2008); Brosap Neon Gallery, Suede (2003-2004); Stockholm Kulturhust, Suede (2003-2004). The collective is represented by the Clint Roenisch Gallery (Toronto) and Trapp Editions (Vancouver).

Gentiane Bélanger grew up in Montreal but now lives in Bury in the Eastern Townships and works in both Sherbrooke and Montréal. She obtained a Masters in art history at Concordia University (2008) and she is currently completing her Doctoral degree at Université du Québec à Montréal. Her research interests lies on the edge of arts theory and environmental philosophy, in which her doctoral’s thesis concentrates more specifically on the importance of materialistic culture and in the renewal of ecological speech within contemporary art. She has worked at UQÀM and Université de Sherbrooke as a part-time lecturer and takes part in the art magazine’s ETC programming, as part of the editorial committee. She has also written in many specialized magazines such as Espace et C Magazine, as well as the Revue d’études des Cantons de l’Est. Gentiane Bélanger was once a student of Bishop’s University, and in that period, worked for the Foreman Art Gallery as a Curatorial Assistant (2002-2005); a relationship that she has maintained ever since by keeping a regular participation in the Gallery activities. For example,she was the guest curator to many exhibitions such as: Le projet bibliothèque (2004), an interactive exhibition with emergent artists Joanne Hui and Shie Kasai; Charting the Sublime (2008), a suspended display of historical carvings from the Eastern Townships in the framework of the exhibition series Connections; as well as Guest Curator for the Fine Arts Graduating Student exhibition Junction (2009). Ms. Belanger also contributed a text in the catalogue Conversations Adru: Irene F. Whittome (2005), published by the Foreman Art Gallery.