Maryse Chartrand ‘Hommage au silence’

Hommage au silence
Maryse Chartrand
September 14 – October 19, 2017
VERNISSAGE: September 14th, 5-7pm

It took Maryse Chartrand a while to find glass.  After a 25 year career in communications and as a documentary filmmaker she took a leap of faith and registered for the three year glass course at Espace Verre, where she graduated in 2013.  Since then she has not stopped exploring and experimenting with her new medium.

Maryse Chartrand considers glass as her creative partner and herself as the explorer, who, starting with an idea is nevertheless open for any exciting discovery that this constantly moving hot mass might suggest. Her approach is that of a painter. Her paints are quantities of small glass elements, which she accumulates layer upon layer, interspersed with masses of clear glass, so that the result is three-dimensional, full of surprising details, textures, nuances. This painting lets you see through the first layer down to the underlaying strata, multiplying the ways in which it can be viewed.

In her series ‘Les flottantes’ this approach creates the impression of shapes floating in space, of weightlessness, of depth, of quiet.

In her series ‘Les libérées’ the idea of weightlessness is achieved not by the intervening clear glass, but by empty spaces in between her irregular sculpted forms.

For Chartrand, glass resolves its many contradictions – solid, fragile, fluid, immaterial – in a mysterious harmony and as such can be seen as a symbol of life itself.

Chartrand’s work is part of the collection of the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec as well as many North American and European private collections.

Teachers and graduates of Espace Verre

Teachers and graduates of Espace Verre:
Marie Hélène Beaulieu, Annie Cantin, Maryse Chartrand, Zou Desbiens, Carole Frève, David Frigon-Lavoie, Jean-Marie Giguère, Cédric Ginart, Detlef Gotzens , Karina Guévin, Catherine Labonté, Lisanne Lachance, Michèle Lapointe, Caroline Ouellette, Gilles Payette, Patrick Primeau, Donald Robertson, Cathy Strokowsky, Jean Simon Trottier

April 20th – May 20th 2017
Vernissage : April 20th, from 5 to 8pm

In 1983, when François Houdé was approached to participate in the creation of a glass school in Montreal, he asked me for advice.  I couldn’t imagine anything better to happen.  Finally, Quebec would have something similar to Sheridan College in Ontario.  Montreal could become a center for glass, attracting teachers and students of talent and be a beacon for the glass community.  What I could not foresee was the long and exhausting fight to get there.  Together with Ronald Labelle, who had the necessary political contacts, they had to overcome the incomprehension of the different levels of government concerning the financial and technical implications of such a school.  Because of the complex equipment needed, it was far more expensive and difficult than any other craft school.

All through history, periods of great glassmaking coincided with times of economic effervescence, be it in the Orient, in Rome, Venice or in the “Art Nouveau” period of the last century.  Establishing a glass school needs an affluent society.  Could it be done in Quebec?  After overcoming many hurdles the project became a reality.  In 1988, Espace Verre opened its doors to the first class of students.  It was a concentrated course of one year.  Today, the professional course lasts a minimum of three years.  Ronald Labelle and the few glass-makers in Québec had so far only limited glassblowing experience.  It fell upon Houdé with his extensive schooling at Sheridan College and his own experimentation at the University of Illinois in Normal, U.S.A., to establish a curriculum with a variety of techniques, not just in glassblowing, but also molding, slumping and cold working.  Quite naturally he invited his old co-students at Sheridan College to assist him: Susan Edgerley, Donald Roberston and Laura Donefer…

The first years were difficult.  Various times the enterprise nearly collapsed because of insufficient funds.  Today, Espace Verre is a world class facility.  Apart from its own excellent teachers, the school invites national and international artists for workshops where students can acquire a wide variety of knowhow.

Presently many of the school’s highly skilled teachers are former graduates such as Jean-Marie Giguère, from the first graduating class in 1989, and Patrick Primeau, one of North America’s best glass blowers, who can easily measure up with Venitians in the variety as well as the technical and artistic perfection of his creations.  Thanks also to Donald Robertson, internationally recognized expert in the most difficult of all the glass techniques, lost wax casting, Espace Verre students profit from a training of the highest standard.

Thus you can admire in this exhibition, glass art of an extraordinary variety: blown at the furnace, at the lamp, slumped, cast in sand and in the lost wax technique.  Espace Verre has come a long way since its inception more than 30 years ago to arrive at its present excellence and this is a unique chance to see the fruits of this labor of love.

Elena Lee

PS: 1985 – 1999, Elena Lee was on the Board of Directors of Espace Verre  (Centre  des métiers du Verre du Québec à Montréal)

Winter Hours

From January 1st to April 14th 2017, Galerie Elena Lee will be open only by appointment.

Holiday Season

Holiday Season
November 30 – December 31, 2016

Apart from a selection of work from the previous shows of Canadian glass, we have a vast array of charming small and not so small objects suitable for that special gift for a special person !

Master Ceramists

Master Ceramists
Susan Collett, Steven Heinemann and Jean-Pierre Larocque
October 13 – November 12, 2016

Jean-Pierre Larocque has exhibited widely throughout the United States and Canada with excursions to Europe and Asia. Before returning to his native Montréal he taught art and ceramics at various US Universities. His work is in many prominent collections and Museums, here and in the US. Houses, horses, human heads – Larocque’s sculpture deals with the essence of the        human experience. Contemporary sculptural sensibility is infused with knowledge of the past. Ceramics has been the first medium in which human intelligence has manifested itself throughout the world, and Laroque is very much wedded to its teachings. It is therefor fitting that a large exhibition of his works should have accompanied the reopening of the restored Gardiner Museum of Ceramics in Toronto with its world-class universal and historical collection.

Another giant of contemporary ceramic art – Heinemann - is constantly in search of the very essence of his medium -  clay. He first examined inner and outer forms in the vessel, then studied the empty imprints of fossils in massive rock. It inspired his series of negative and positive geometric spaces. From here he moved to an investigation of simple organic forms, like pods and seeds.-  Flattening them, magnifying them, attaching them to the wall, these organic shapes now have become abstractions of their original intent. – At the same time Heinemann continues his exploration of surface, from baby skin softness to scorched earth roughness , and here and there a pattern, like imprints of the human spirit. Through his extensive teaching and lectures throughout Canada, USA, Europe and Asia, he participated in shaping an awareness of ceramics as a distinct practice, but related to a broader discourse in the visual arts. His work is in private and public collections worldwide and has garnered him numerous distinctions not just in North America, but in Europe and Asia as well.

The youngest of the three artists, but already a master ceramist in her own right, Susan Collett‘s work is like a breath of fresh air, audacious and imbued with spirituality. Heaving, disrupted, uprooted forms hover in space, between the solid and the fluid, between order and chaos. Collett pushes the limits of the possible in exploring the tension of strength against fragility. Hand built out of stacked paper clay platelets, tilted and refired many times she builds up the strength needed for these images of movement, fragile and solid at the same time. Collett has exhibited extensively worldwide and her work is in numerous private and public national and international collections.

When you consider the work of these world-class artists, you may come to understand why ceramics is a distinct art form. No other medium, be it bronze, stone or paper, can be used to express so powerfully and at the same time delicately, aspects of the human condition:  Made of earth, hardened through fire, fragile and strong at the same time, it bears witness to our history since time immemorial.