Montreal Gazette

Ed Pien fills the void with aquatic atmosphere

The Visual Voice Collection’s online catalogue makes gifting art easy


There’s no negative space in Ed Pien’s drawings — it’s all been cut out with an X-acto knife during creation of the exquisite works of art now on display at Pierre-François Ouellette Art Contempora­in.

The t heme of Ed Pien: Under Water is aquatic biodiversi­ty. Pien’s oceanic organisms, both real and imaginary, shimmer in the gallery lights as if swaying in the currents, thanks to his use of a reflective fabric that contains crushed glass.

Using a projected image as a foundation, Pien cuts along a sheet of reflective fabric hanging on a wall, then sprays the lace-like result with multiple coats of paint, creating rich greys.

He applies a purer colour, like red or blue, to the underside of the drawing. The drawing is placed over a sheet of paper, and the bright colour is reflected onto the support, giving the drawing added depth.

The fabric retains its reflective qualities, even under layers of paint. In the gallery, light directed at the drawings emphasizes their metallic sheen and creates new colours. Ed Pien: Under Water continues until Jan. 26 at Pierre-François Ouellette Art Contempora­in, 372 Ste. Catherine St. W, Suite 216. For more informatio­n, visit

This is a season of gift-giv

ing, and some galleries are trying to entice the purchase of modestly priced art.

Beaux-arts des Amériques (3944 St. Denis St., beauxartsd­esamerique­ is showing works on paper and Galerie d’Avignon (88 Laurier Ave. W., galeriedav­ has a group show, including retro portraits by Kai McCall. Both exhibition­s continue to Dec. 23.

Bettina Forget, owner of Visual Voice, has put her experience as a graphic artist, art dealer and painter into Visual Voice Collection­s, an online catalogue of art.

It comes with advice on selecting, buying and framing.

“For the price of a scratchy holiday sweater you can buy a unique, meaningful work of art,” Forget writes on the Art Insider, the advice part of the website.

To help you on your artbuying quest, Forget has grouped her offerings into categories like Urban Vibes and Breathe Dream Fly — exploratio­ns into dreams, meditation and superstiti­on.

If you’re an animal lover, go to the Animalia section, where you’ll find Forget’s own Moonfish (Somnium) for $275. Melanie Matthews’s Nature vs. Nurture, an acrylic painting on paper, is a steal at $125.

At the high end of the scale, Kate Puxley — she of the taxidermie­d roadkill — offers large charcoal drawings starting at $1,800.

For more informatio­n, visit this attractive, easy-to-navigate website at visualvoic­ecollectio­ Painting, yes, but figuration? Those artists who interpret their world in some semblance of realism and are involved in Décover magazine are holding a silent auction at Marché St. Jacques.

The silence will be broken by shouts and pounding gavels on Wednesday. The last silent bid on each of the 65 pieces by 40 artists is the starting price for the live auction.

As of Monday this week, Zoltan Veevaete’s Possession stood at $100, Dominique Desbiens’s Princesse Alice was at $200 and Jean Chaîney’s Touchez pas à la reine had attracted bids of up to $500.

Half the money raised goes to the artist, and the rest helps to finance Décover’s activities, including the magazine, which also sells advertisem­ents.

“It’s been over three years and we still work voluntaril­y without salaries,” said Décover co-founder and artistic director Micah Lockhart.

“In 2013 we have a lot planned to change the situation.”

The people who run Décover only make money when they sell their own artwork. That’s why they’re often at their easels when you visit their exhibition space.

Décover Auction continues through Tuesday on the third floor of Marché St. Jacques, 1125 Ontario St. E. The live auction takes place Wednesday at 7 p.m.; cocktails and appetizers from 5 p.m. For more informatio­n, visit The second annual visual-arts gala of the Contempora­ry Art Galleries Associatio­n takes place Wednesday at the Outremont Theatre. Prizes are awarded to artists, gallery owners and curators and for best exhibition­s. David Altmejd’s The Eye, which stands in front of the Museum of Fine Arts’s Bourgie Pavilion of Canadian art, is nominated for best public art. For more informatio­n, visit galadesart­ Mark Rothko and his contempora­ry abstract expres- sionists saw themselves in heroic terms, both as inheritors of the “great but suffering artist” tradition and as part of the New York vanguard that ruled the global art world of the 1950s.

Red, a play about Rothko’s life and times that is playing at the Segal Centre until Dec. 16, is set in the period when pop art was coming to the fore. Pop art — based on the materials of popular culture — was displacing Abstract Expression­ism and its concerns with spiritual transforma­tion and the subconscio­us.

The play touches on these dynamics and, as a bonus, there is an exhibition of abstract art in the downstairs Art Lounge.

Red on the Walls displays the responses of 15 artists to the question of what abstractio­n means to them.

It was organized by a Canada-wide group of artists, art profession­als and curators known as Studio Béluga. For more informatio­n, visit segalcentr­

 ?? PIERRE FRANÇOIS OUELLETTE ART CONTEMPORA­IN ?? Ed Pien’s Bloom is representa­tive of his layered approach, based on reflective fabric.
PIERRE FRANÇOIS OUELLETTE ART CONTEMPORA­IN Ed Pien’s Bloom is representa­tive of his layered approach, based on reflective fabric.
 ?? DÉCOVER MAGAZINE ?? The works in Décover magazine’s silent auction include Zoltan Veevaete’s Possession.
DÉCOVER MAGAZINE The works in Décover magazine’s silent auction include Zoltan Veevaete’s Possession.
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