The ex­hi­bi­tion An­ima/An­i­maux, oeu­vres de Louisette Gau­thier-Mitchell

Stanstead Journal - - LENNOXVILLE NEWS - Sher­brooke

ATown­ship­perby adop­tion, Louisette Gau­thierMitchell in­vites us to a re­mark­able en­counter be­tween species in pre­sent­ing a col­lec­tion of sixty works pro­duced over a pe­riod ex­tend­ing from 1989 to 2015. Cen­tred around a con­cept and theme pro­posed by cu­ra­tor Françoise Le­Gris en­ti­tled An­ima/ An­i­maux, the ex­hi­bi­tion demon­strates a va­ri­ety of tech­niques, styles and for­mats. Th­ese di­verse and rich pic­toral of­fer­ings ex­hibit a vi­brant and lu­mi­nous en­ergy, as some­what mag­i­cal char­ac­ters (an­ima) ap­pear side by side with an­i­mal fig­ures, real or imag­ined, in un­usual con­fig­u­ra­tions. Hy­brid, masked or dis­mem­bered, th­ese be­ings seem to draw us into a dread­ful abyss, just on the edge of mon­stros­ity. In this amaz­ing in­vented and fren­zied bes­tiary, the drawn and painted be­ings emerge from points, lines and blotches. Grad­u­ally in­vested with vig­or­ous ges­tures, they un­dergo an un­sus­pected evo­lu­tion, and oc­ca­sion­ally re­veal a body, a frag­ment, a par­tial ob­ject, eye, mouth, horn or tail. Whether it be a hunt­ing tro­phy, a butchered frag­ment, a threat­ened fig­ure from the nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment, a spec­i­men in­tended for sci­en­tific re­search, or even our own best friend, now more than ever the an­i­mal chal­lenges us to the high­est level. Us­ing a fluid lan­guage which per­mits cross­breed­ing and ex­plod­ing shapes, and in which ma­te­rial and signs are mixed, the work of Louisette Gau­thier-Mitchell ex­plores the depths of our con­tem­po­rary cul­ture: is this cru­elty or com­plic­ity be­tween hu­man and an­i­mal species? She guides us not only to­wards a fas­ci­nat­ing aes­thetic dis­cov­ery, search­ing for beauty, but also, by means of a desta­bi­liz­ing ex­plo­ration of our hu­man con­text, to­wards a med­i­ta­tion on our species and its du­al­ity, as much soul as it is an­i­mal. Born in Alma, Québec, Louisette Gau­thier-Mitchell holds a cer­tifi­cate in artis­tic education (1967), and a diploma from the École des beaux-arts de Mon­tréal (1968). She was a pro­fes­sor in the Dé­parte­ment des arts plas­tiques at UQAM from 1969 to 1997, where she had a con­sid­er­able in­flu­ence on a num­ber of young and de­vel­op­ing artists. She lives in Stanstead in the East­ern Town­ships since 1998, where she chose to set­tle to en­joy the calm and beauty of its lo­ca­tion, and to ded­i­cate her­self en­tirely to her art. Louisette Gau­thier-Mitchell has been rec­og­nized for more than forty years as a de­sign vir­tu­oso, par­tic­u­larly since her solo ex­hi­bi­tion Oeu­vres ou­vertes at the Musée d’art con­tem­po­rain de Mon­tréal (1980). Work­ing mainly in paint­ing and draw­ing, the artist has over the years pro­duced a se­ries of works us­ing other me­dia and tech­niques such as ce­ramic, sculp­ture, col­lage and copy art. She ex­hibits fre­quently in many re­gions of Québec, and her work can be found in a num­ber of pub­lic and pri­vate col­lec­tions. Stanstead artist has an ex­hibit go­ing on now of some of her re­cent work, en­ti­tled An­ima/An­i­maux, at Sher­brooke’s Musee des Beaux Arts.

Photo cour­tesy MBAS

Louisette Gau­thier-Mitchell

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