Caroline Ouellette ‘In Vitro’

In Vitro 
Caroline Ouellette
September 15th -  October 8th 2016

After completing four years of studies at the University of South Australia in Adelaide, Caroline Ouellette is back in Montreal with a Ph.D. in Philosophy with a specialization in Glass Art. With her newly acquired knowledge and extensive experimentation, she is well equipped to open new possibilities for the glass scene here.  Since graduating with a DEC in the glass program of Montreal’s Espace Verre in 2002, Caroline has continuously expanded her skills in a host of workshops throughout Canada, the US and France, often as a teacher’s assistant.  The innovative technique of printing photographic images on glass and then transforming them via a slumping process has been added to her already rich vocabulary: glassblowing, lampworking and various casting methods.

The central theme in this exhibition – ‘In Vitro’ – is the concept of ‘time’ and how it impacts different aspects of life.  Inspired by Jacques Brel’s song ‘Les Vieux’ (old folks) Ouellette prints superimposed photos of a woman and a man onto a glass plate, which is then slumped. The resulting image is hazy, suggesting the idea of the couple as one person.  Man and woman melt into one another and become a single face.  As in Brel’s song, these ‘old folks’ understand each other without talking.  Similar to the image on the glass plate, the world has contracted, like a skin stretched too tight.

In the series ‘The stories we do tell’, multiple cast glass elements, a cat, a hand, a shell… are barely discernable through the glycerin which holds them, like laboratory specimens in a pickle jar.  They represent hypothetical lives, deeply buried, almost forgotten.  They have lost their color, as would preserved body parts. They are ambiguous, and the viewer has to invent himself the stories they may insinuate.

In close to 20 years of involvement with glass, Caroline Ouellette has won multiple awards amongst which the François Houdé award.  Her work is represented in the Claridge Collection, the Montreal and Quebec Museums of Fine Art, Loto Québec and the Canadian Art Bank.

Ouellette taught glass blowing at the University of South Australia, Adelaide, and this autumn she will begin teaching at Espace Verre in Montreal.