Ed Pien fills the void with aquatic at­mos­phere

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

Montreal Gazette - - Culture - JOHN POHL

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 pfoac.com.

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., beauxarts­de­sameriques.com) is show­ing works on pa­per and Ga­lerie d’Avi­gnon (88 Lau­rier Ave. W., ga­lerie­davi­gnon.ca) 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 vi­su­alvoicecol­lec­tions.com. 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 www.de­cov­er­mag.com. 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 galade­sartsvi­suels.com. 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 segal­cen­tre.org.

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.

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