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.

New Gallery Hours

We have a new schedule at the gallery.
We are now open only from Wednesday to Saturday, 11am to 5 pm.

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.

A renewal

Galerie  Elena  Lee  continues

Galerie Elena Lee is pleased to announce that it has found some young blood to join its team. Pierre Boudreau is a young entrepreneur and glass enthusiast, well versed in the social media. Florie Guérin is a recent University of Montreal graduate in art history. Together, they will pool their individual talents to revitalize and gradually take over the gallery.

Elena Lee is still planning the shows and continues the dialog with her artists. This will enable the younger generation to become acquainted with the history and potential of this groundbreaking gallery and contribute its youthful energy and knowhow to launch it into the future.

Dear clients, dear artists, we hope that you will continue to share this adventure with us like in years past.


Canada’s oldest glass gallery for sale

Galerie Elena Lee was the first gallery to represent the Studio Glass Movement in Canada. This Movement, born more than 50 years ago in the USA, took glass out of the factory and into the artists’ hands, who proceeded to explore it beyond its craft origins.

After 38 years of a successful existence in the center of Montreal, Galerie Elena Lee relocated to a warehouse space not far from Atwater Market, and 5 Minutes by car from Westmount.

Just as for many contemporary art galleries, this move became necessary to escape the exorbitant downtown rents and taxes and remain financially sound.  Exhibition spaces are still necessary, but they need not be in the center of town.  Also, the art market is continuously changing. More and more, the internet and social media are being used by the younger crowd.  Savvy promotion via electronic media is vital.

Elena Lee, the founder and owner, is 74 years old and feels this is one challenge too many. It is time to retire. This premiere gallery is ideally equipped for the display, shipping and storage of fragile objects with a savvy lighting system to show the glass in all its splendor. During its 39 year existence, Galerie Elena Lee established a valuable mailing list for Canada as well as the US.

Now, with the gallery’s restored financial health, there is a unique occasion for an enterprising person to take the reins of this Canadian Institution!

Please visit the website and contact For more information, there will be a meeting for interested people at the gallery:

Saturday May 14th – 2-4 PM