Curated by Lorraine Simms for 175 B
A labyrinth of trees, empty spaces, fractured architectural forms… we try to find our bearings in a vast terrain.
From above, the land provides a larger surface to inscribe our presence. Google earth and drone technology have turned the earth into a giant canvas. Leaving traces of our presence we sketch strange geometries onto the land.
In Étranges Géométries three artists invoke these ideas through painting, photography and video. Compelling an investigation of the landscape from different vantage points the works in this exhibition conjure the myriad ways we attempt to tame our environment and reshape the land to reflect our reasoning.
In her paintings Sylvie Bouchard juxtaposes references taken from historical paintings with natural and architectural forms. Depicted in somber tones, these mysterious environments seem frozen in silence. Evoking mazes, with no apparent way in or out, her richly symbolic landscapes riddle the viewer with clues. A circular stairway that leads nowhere, a tree bounded by a scraps of twisted metal, all remnants of a failed utopia blown to bits by natural processes. Blindfolded, a lone figure tries to find a way through a barren forest in her large, foreboding painting entitled Vision.
Laura Millard works with drone technology to produce video projections and photo-paintings. Using a frozen lake as her canvas, Millard draws patterns with a snowmobile and documents them from high above. The scale of these works is disorienting; the regularity of her circular patterns evoke the steady hand of an artist working with compass rather than an individual spiraling across a vast expanse of ice. Millard over-paints her aerial photographs to obscure and highlight different features of these compelling scenarios. In a related video projection entitled Passing, Millard’s drone skims close to the ground in a slow mesmerizing dance with richly coloured, blowing Fall leaves.
Ross Racine’s digitally painted prints seem as familiar as Earth View. On closer inspection the impossibility of his invented suburban communities is revealed: streets meander into dead ends or form improbable Celtic knot patterns with no beginning or end. Racine bases his street plans on freehand drawings, some are carefully designed while others record the jerky movements of his hand sketching lines in a moving subway car. No one who has negotiated Montreal’s labyrinth of road works can fail to smile at the circular logic of his improbable topographies.