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Archive for the ‘Paysage / Landscape’ Category

The Myths that Brought Us Here
This fall, Pictorial Propaganda will retrace the history of the New Brunswick Museum and the Owens Art Gallery from Saint John to Sackville. As they both can claim to be the “oldest”  – the oldest continuing museum in the case of the former, and the oldest university art gallery for the latter, I am interested in these histories  and its impact on artists and artistic taste in the region. In Saint John, I will set up a portable easel and reproduce landscape paintings from the New Brunswick Museum’s collection in the recently built tourist attraction of Market Square. In Sackville, I will reproduce landscape paintings from the Owens Art Gallery’s collection in various locations that reflect the daily movements of the town’s inhabitants. This will open a space for dialogue between myself and the local residents, they’ll even have a chance to trade something with me for one of the paintings that result from the performance. It is an opportunity to slow down time, create intimacy with strangers and to subvert the systems of global capitalism that are at work around us.

Third Space / Tiers epace …. Struts Gallery …. Owens Art Gallery

Les mythes qui nous ont transporté ici

Cet automne Propagande Picturale retracera l’histoire du Musée du Nouveau-Brunswick et du Owens Art Gallery de Saint-John à Sackville. Tous les deux s’annonce comme le « plus ancien » – le plus ancien musée toujours actif dans le cas du premier et la plus ancienne galerie d’art universitaire dans le cas du deuxième. Je m’intéresse à ces histoires et leur impact sur les artistes et le goût artistique de la région. À Saint-John, je m’installerai avec mon chevalet portable afin de reproduire des paysages de la collection du Musée du Nouveau Brunswick dans le « Market Square, » récemment aménagé pour les
touristes. À Sackville, je reproduirai des paysages de la collection du Owens Art Gallery dans plusieurs lieux représentant l’itinéraire des résidants de la ville. Cela me permettra d’entreprendre un dialogue avec les résidents, qui auront également la chance d’échanger quelque chose contre une de les peintures résultant de la performance. C’est l’opportunité de ralentir le temps, de crée une intimité avec les inconnus et de subvertir les forces économiques de la mondialisation autour de nous.

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13 mai 2008, Espace mobile, Vox, Montréal
Elizabeth SIMCOE, View near Montreal. ca. 1792. Watercolour. Archives of Ontario, Simcoe Family Fonds, F47. Reference code F47-11-1-0-60. (http://www.archives.gov.on.ca Accessed 10 May 2008 ) Traded for a critical analysis.

Denis Longchamps is doing his PhD in Art History on the sketchbook imagery of Elizabeth Simcoe (1762-1850). He is arguing that the sketches she made all along her journey through Upper and Lower Canada in the 18th century were done in order to further the colonialist project of her husband, Lieutenant Governor John Simcoe. Denis’ research has been an integral part of the development of this phase of Pictorial Propaganda in the Quartier des spectacles. My research has been based on his astonishing indexing of all of her sketches among disparate collections on Canada and Europe, as well as his scholarly view of her work as colonialist propaganda.

Denis has offered to make a critical analysis of Pictorial Propaganda (as it reproduces the original watercolours of Elizabeth Simcoe) within the context of his own PhD research.

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Ce lieu-là surpasse encore tous les autres en beauté : car les isles qui se rencontrent dans l’emboucheure de ces deux fleuves (le St-Laurent et la Rivière des Prairie), sont autant de grandes et de belles prairies, les unes en long, les autres en rond, ou autant de jardins faits à plaisir, tant pour les fruits qui s’y rencontrent, que pour la forme et l’artifice dont la nature les a préparées, avec tous les agremens que les Peintres peuvent representer dans leur païsage.” — Jérôme Lalement, Relations des Jésuites, 3, année 1663, p 28 cité dans Jean-Claude Marsan, Montréal en évolution, (Montréal : Éditions Fides, 1974), 31

…par conséquent ce fera un jour un pays tres-propre pour eitre la situation d’une grande et grosse ville. Jérôme Lalement, Relations des Jésuites, 3, année 1663, in The Jesuit relations and allied documents travels and explorations of the Jesuit missionaries in New France, 1610-1791 : the original French, Latin, and Italian texts, with English translations and notes, vol 48, p 168 (Early Canadiana Online)

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Why did discussions around landscape in Canada before the 1960s tend to champion national difference and distinctiveness, often under the banner of exceptionalism, while more recent debates have focused on issues of colonial power and dispossession, transnational crossovers, and regional idiosyncrasy? What relevance do traditional landscape tropes have in a world of vastly altered political, technological, demographic, and environmental circumstances? And if traditional tropes continue to persist, what does it say about the relationship between contemporary realities and the the authority, power, and influence of conventional understandings of nationhood?” — Beyond Wilderness : The Group of Seven, Canadian Identity, and Contemporary Art. John O’Brian and Peter White Eds. (Montreal : McGill-Queens University Press, 2007), 6.

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L’histoire des paysages en Occident illustre bien la dynamique opérant entre lieux et non-lieux. Cette histoire pourrait en effet être abordée comme une conquête sensible des non-lieux, conquête d’espaces réputés « affreux » ou inhabitables, qui seront progressivement approivisés, investis de valorisations culturelles, transformés en lieux et en paysages. L’art a joué et joue toujours un rôle important dans ce processus… Qu’en est-il aujourd’hui de ces étendues urbanisées, de ce monde qui apparaît de plus en plus limité à mesure que s’accélère le quadrillage extensif opéré par la technique et les réseaux de communication? La paysagéité constitu-t-elle toujours un véhicule conceptuel pertinent pour appréhender et valoriser cette nouvelle condition territoriale?” — Luc Lévesque, “Entre lieux et non-lieux : Vers une approche interstitielle du paysage” in Lieux et non-lieux de l’art actuelle = Places and non-places of contemporary art (Montreal : Les éditions Esse, 2005), 38.

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The Western idea of the autonomous ‘figure in the landscape’ is no longer accepted in critical discourse, yet it remains a pervasive myth in general culture, one that answers to a deeply felt desire for trancendance.” — Petra Halkes, Aspiring to the Landscape : On painting and the Subject of Nature (Toronto : University of Toronto Press, 2006), 145.

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The artist with his easel set up in the countryside, painting the scene before his eys, is one of our stock cultural stereotypes. Most people would be surprised to learn how recently this conception has developed – the major movement to outdoor painting having come only with the impressionists at the end of the nineteenth century. Behind this stereotype of the painter sitting behind his or her easel en plein air is a more general assumption that the artists’ role is to respond in some direct visual manner to the perceived external environment… By contrast the idea of a visual artist rejecting the percieved external world as the basis for his art… using his or her own body as the art piece… is still resisted by many people who feel otherwise feel attracted to a world in which art plays an important role.” — Terrence Heath, “A Sense of Place,” in Visions : Contemporary Art in Canada. (Toronto : Douglas & McIntyre, 1983), 45.

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