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