A Cel­e­bra­tion of Moth­er­hood

Stanstead Journal - - FRONT PAGE - Vic­to­ria Vanier, Coat­i­cook

Coat­i­cook’s Beaulne Mu­seum is presently host­ing a beau­ti­ful art ex­hibit by a young, lo­cal artist who be­gan honing her craft at Alexan­der Galt High School, where one of her works of art per­ma­nently graces a wall near the his­tory de­part­ment, and in the Fine

Arts pro­gram of Cham­plain Col­lege. Mar­tine Me­nard, of Comp­ton, re­cently grad­u­ated in Fine Arts and Art His­tory from Con­cor­dia Univer­sity, in Mon­treal.

Ms. Me­nard’s Mo­ments

in­times: les meres is a fas­ci­nat­ing ex­hibit that por­trays some of moth­er­hood’s most pro­found mo­ments through the por­traits of preg­nant women.

When asked where Ms. Me­nard, a new mother her­self, got the in­spi­ra­tion for the se­ries, she ex­plained: “It all started with a sleep­ing rel­a­tive. In my fam­ily we had sis­ters and sis­terin-laws all preg­nant at the same time. I took a pho­to­graph of one while she was sleep­ing and thought: I have got to paint that!”

And so she did, turn­ing the pho­to­graph into a piece aptly named “The Calm Be­fore the Storm”. An ever so slight fur­row on the sleep­ing woman’s fore­head re­minds the viewer that a worry-free rest, for many ex­pec­tant moth­ers, is unattain­able. In an­other of Ms. Me­nard’s works, one en­ti­tled “A Moment of Peace”, she cap­tures a moment of seren­ity when her sub­ject was hav­ing a re­spite from se­vere morn­ing sick­ness. “I really took a lot of time to choose the names,” ex­plained the artist.

The heart­break of a lost child also features coura­geously, on the part of the artist and her sub­ject, in the ex­hibit. The paint­ing of the woman is ever so poignant when you learn that the young woman’s child died of com­pli­ca­tions at just a few weeks of age. A sec­ond por­trait of the same woman dur­ing a sec­ond preg­nancy, a char­coal draw­ing, is op­ti­misti­cally called “Une nou­velle his­toire”.

Soon af­ter she be­gan to work on this se­ries, and one won­ders how her cre­ative lean­ings might have in­flu­enced this, Mar­tine be­came preg­nant her­self, giv­ing her an­other sub­ject to work with.

“I like to play with how the viewer re­acts to my work. For th­ese paint­ing I had in mind that the viewer would feel as if they were see­ing a beau­ti­ful moment but in­trud­ing a lit­tle at the same time. I like that dy­namic,” said Ms. Me­nard. “I want peo­ple to see them not just as por­traits but to see the emo­tion.”

A trio of in­ter­est­ing face por­traits are also part of the ex­hibit. “In some of my pre­vi­ous work I really had an ob­ses­sion with eyes. I felt that th­ese three por­traits of just the faces of preg­nant women link up with my other work.”

Sur­pris­ingly tal­ented for such a young artist, per­haps Mar­tine has also ben­e­fit­ted from her as­so­ci­a­tion with the artists group Coatic’Art. “I’ve been a mem­ber of the group for about one and a half years now. I like be­ing with other artists, shar­ing and par­tic­i­pat­ing in ac­tiv­i­ties. Dur­ing the Sa­lon des Artistes, in Septem­ber, we took over the sec­ond floor of the Beaulne Mu­seum for an ex­hibit. Many of those artists were a lot more ex­pe­ri­enced than me; that was very in­ter­est­ing.”

Un­like many young Town­ship­pers who have gone off to the big city to study, opt­ing to re­main, Mar­tine is plan­ning to stay in the Town­ships. “If I want my ca­reer to go for­ward, I be­lieve I can still do it from here. I just might have to travel a lit­tle more.”

The Mo­ments in­times: les meres ex­hibit at the Beaulne Mu­seum, in Coat­i­cook, con­tin­ues un­til Jan­uary 27th, 2013. Ms. Me­nard’s next ex­hibit will be at the Salle du

Parvis, in the Bor­ough of Fleu­ri­mont, in May and June of this year.

Artist Mar­tine Me­nard and her young daugh­ter pose at the Beaulne Mu­seum in front of Ms. Me­nard’s self-por­trait.

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