The word Confluences evokes the meeting place of several rivers, where, amid the intense current, perhaps in the emergence or culmination of a lake, creative energies meet and amplify each other. Flowing water generates power. Each drop contributes to the whole. At the heart of each work, and in the background of each approach, there is great sensitivity and a will to change the world (DREAM and [RE] PRESENTATION), deep environmental, territorial, generational, identity-based aspirations (BELONGING), and spiritual quests (LIGHT)—in this regard, I am struck by how many artists are concerned with healing the earth and all that is alive in it, or by those who find in art the ultimate refuge, perhaps after having suffered bumps and bruises inflicted upon them, and who, thanks to the relevant meditative gestures of creation, can rebuild themselves. The artists also become evocative, imagining metaphors and asking riddles (METAPHOR, INVOCATION), they carefully plan to highlight what preoccupies them (ACTIONS and STRATEGIES), or they choose to harness the power of forms, colours and materials to express themselves and represent their emotions (STRUCTURE, COLOUR, MATERIALITY). From time to time, the works touch on great philosophical questions—“Where do we come from? Where are we going? Who are we?”—, well-founded questions all, intended as spiritual and literal reflections from a people formed by the continual mixing, coming and going of its population.
Far from being an exhaustive compilation of what has been produced in the visual arts in French-speaking Ontario over the last few decades, Confluences is a powerful testament to certain aspects and to the extent of the creativity of the artists who have responded to BRAVO’s call. Confluences showcases a glimpse into a vast landscape of artistic production that begins with Maurice Gaudreault’s (1932–2000) clay creations and Clément Bérini’s (1930–1996) painted oeuvre. These two pioneering artists show two separate paths: the first observes the outside world and the minutiae of daily life and, in so doing, shapes material into a tangible record of a bygone era; the second is interested in the effect that Light has on us, deconstructing and rearranging forms and colours and sending them back to our soul. Gaudreault’s and Bérini’s work, each with diametrically opposed approaches to intention and production, inform the artistic legacy of the artists presented in Confluences.
- Marion M. Bordier, artist
Exhibition organized in partnership with Bravo and OAG.
Image: Confluences installation view. Photo: Sean Sytsma