FORMS, VOLUME AND SPACE /
Originally from Saguenay, Carole Desgagné is primarily a woman of action who loves nature and the great outdoors. It's to procure a second wind for her already well-established artistic career in her region that she decides to settle in Montréal. Her audacity proves to be a winning move as her art then rapidly explodes and her visibility has incessantly increased over the last 5 years. Excited for what lays ahead, she already enjoys a high degree of public recognition which has awarded her many prizes and distinctions and lead her to the Carrousel du Louvre in Paris, to name but one venue among all those she has conquered. Her contemporary clay or bronze creations tackle the human condition in a timeless fashion that penetrates the soul.
Raised in a family of seven children, by a mother who was passionate about arts, Carole Desgagné is privileged to be in touch with this vast artistic universe throughout her youth. Besides the original paintings that adorned the walls of the family home and the numerous reference books in the well-garnished library that educated her eye and feed her mind, she still remembers all those exhibitions she was taken to over the years. She is primarily drawn towards sculpture, although she draws a lot and paints for her own enjoyment. In 1993, she enters a visual arts studies programme which includes four sculpting classes. It is her true calling! One of her teachers readily recognizes how quickly she grasps the principles of three-dimensional artwork, which is not easy for everyone. As her other teachers also encourage her to further her talent, she gains confidence and decides to pursue her training in this vein, emboldened by the unanimous support she receives.
She attends an intensive workshop in Saint-jean-port-joli, where she models clay and learns to refine her technique. She produces a series of works in plaster, unable to afford the high costs of casting in foundry. Selling most of her pieces during her first exhibition confirms to her that she has a rightful place in this milieu and provides the momentum she needs to seriously consider an artistic career. Sculpture will become her partner, her confidante, allowing her for the last 20 years to express her most intimate emotions and share her love for life, as well as take a social stand for values of justice and equality. Since she loves guiding others and sharing what she has learned, she has for the past 2 years been holding training sessions for those who seek to discover sculpture or further their knowledge of the discipline.
Words also play an important role in her artistic narrative. Throughout her readings or while listening to the lyrics of a song, a word or an expression often resonates with her and thus is planted the seed of an idea. Without any preliminary sketching, a shape
internally takes form. "Themes impose themselves on me. The need to tell becomes so strong, I have no other choice but to start working on them," says the artist. Without faces and often without arms, her figures manage to intensely convey the sensations that caused them to immerge from the matter. Admirers are often brought to tears by the powerful vibrations they experience upon viewing her bronzes, which are declined in different shades of patina, from verdigris to light or dark golden. Her 10 years of classical ballet may have helped her understand the many ways a body can express itself through movement, concentrating energy in some parts of the body or some gestures. "My message must essentially pass through the position of the human trunk and head, to lend as much power and energy to the piece as possible. I do not seek perfection."
She believes the imperfections of humanity are exactly what makes it colourful and she finds beauty in a person who accepts her own weaknesses. In her mind, there is always a spark of light in suffering or in minor flaws and therein lies her vision of hope and peace. In fact, human relations take up increasingly more room in her life, which cannot but be reflected into her visual language. Although her sculptures are sufficient onto themselves, they nevertheless are always accompanied with texts. Texts that bear witness to the artist's life experiences at the time of the works' creation and are spontaneously written right after they are finished, lending a more intellectual dimension to their interpretation.
Having been invited by the owner of the Domaine des Côtes d'ardoise in Dunham, who has for the past 15 years been organizing an outdoor sculptures exhibition dispersed on the grounds of the winery, Carole Desgagné has accepted to submit one of her works that is more than one metre high, composed of driftwood, polymer and concrete. A favorable response from the public encourages her to pursue other similar proposals, thus broadening her field of exploration while indirectly going back to sources, to Lac-saint-jean. On her kayak outings on the Mistassini River, she
gathers eroded branches to be used in new creations that could be displayed indoors as well as in gardens. "Each work of art bears part of its creator, which gives it credence and presence to inhabit the space where it is located."
In the future, she hopes she will also have the opportunity to touch a maximum of people's hearts by creating giant ornamental sculptures erected in places that are accessible to all, thus allowing everyone to experience art without having to visit a gallery. Her environmental aluminium creation of more than 2 metres high, for a Shelter for women in difficulty, proved to be a milestone she hopes to be able to reproduce in a variety of materials. "An imposing creation radiates a wonderful feeling, and my desire to communicate is overwhelming," says the sculptor. Besides participating in a number of selected symposiums, Carole Desgagné each year plans her own event in association with another artist, a painter, where they both exhibit their works for a week. It is important for her to contribute to the advancement of art in Québec and wishes the public would increase its support of regional creators in all disciplines. "We are a people rich in originality, genius, colour and flavour! We have to expand our reach and valorize our own accomplishments," she affirms with conviction.
After a second participation in the "Grand salon de la sculpture" at the Montréal trade center, Carole Desgagné will take part in an exhibition entitled En mouvement ! at the Port-maurice gallery of the Maison de la culture de Saint-léonard, from mid-december to mid-february. A first step towards eventually being part of the 1% catalogue, a government measure whereby companies benefit from a tax deduction when purchasing a piece of art therein listed. Also, at the request of many, she will soon publish a compilation of texts linked to her sculptures, texts that more often than not are extremely moving. And, she recently started to paint again, slowly, to see where it could lead her. The few acrylic and painting knife works, shown almost privately, have generated positive reactions that may push her to further develop her pictorial projects, since the enjoyment aspect of it is definitely present. Sculpture, of course, will undoubtedly remain her main interest the tie that has been built being there to last, much as an alliance cast in metal.
Admirers can view some of Carole Desgagné's pieces at La Marée Montante gallery in L'île d'orléans, as well as at Suite 60 gallery in Three-rivers.
One can also visit her website at: www.caroledesgagne.com.
La joyeuse bande 1
Dignité retrouvée L'ascension 2 Le saxophoniste, céramique, 30 x 12 x 10 cm, 2016
Jazz-band, céramique, 50 x 30 x 24 cm, 2015
Confiance, bronze, 26 x 18 x 12 cm, 2012