Wayne Arthur Gallery: Involuntary Painting by Simone Hébert Allard, October 1 - 31
Wayne Arthur Gallery
186 Provencher Blvd
Invites you to
Photographs by Simone Hébert Allard
From October 1 and continuing to October 31
Artist reception: Sunday, October 1 from 1 to 4 PM
Hours: Tuesday to Saturday 11AM to 5PM
Web site: http://www.waynearthurgallery.com
For more information
Call Bev at 477-5249
About the Show:
I have been circling the concept of psychogeography for years. Having flirted with it for so long, I felt that it was time to plunge into it headlong. Expert Christina Ray describes psychogeography as "the psychological and the geographical. It's about how we're affected by being in certain places -- architecture, weather, who you're with -- it's just a general sense of excitement about a place." She goes on to explain that we are programmed to go to certain places as we go through our day, for instance, the office, the grocery store, home. Every day, we wear out the same cow paths. Psychogeography is a reversal of the habitual that compels us to see what we would otherwise ignore. "Chance and randomness," says Ray, "are what's exciting."
And it is not necessary to leave home and country to experience this. Leaving our habitual cow paths and striking out in unknown places can be a very stimulating visual – and psychological – experience. The images that present themselves are entirely new.
My current photographic interests have propelled me into experimenting with psychogeography in my own city. The subjects that interest me most (rust, decay, etc.) are often in the industrial and unsavoury neighbourhoods. Recently, I found myself on a street that I have avoided my entire life. I discovered an old railway car that was splattered with the most intriguing images, a result of rain having oxidized the scratches and dents it had incurred over the years. I stood back in awe, not knowing where to begin. It looked like a tapestry of sea creatures.
This experiment has allowed me to appreciate the historical roots as well as the sociological and demographic makeup of my urban home - Winnipeg, Manitoba. The buildings and objects in urban settings are not only modified by the elements, but also by the hands of graffiti artists.
A central tenet of psychogeography is 'la dérive' or drift, "a technique of locomotion without a goal" in which "one or more persons during a certain period drop their usual motives for movement and action, their relations, their work and leisure activities, and let themselves be drawn by the attractions of the terrain and the encounters they find there". The anticipated goal of 'la dérive' is to generate "playful creation" [The most radical gesture: The Situationist International in a postmodern age by Sadie Plant (Routledge)]. I find that a large part of the excitement for me is this element of discovery; being an artist-explorer-anthropologist of sorts panning for visual gold.
I hope that the photographs, or involuntary paintings, taken on my solitary psychogeographic expeditions, will prompt creative dialogue and discussions as to what constitutes compelling artistic material.
While engaging in this type of photography, I found that I could enact a second aspiration that I have entertained for decades. To be everyone and no one, to shed myself and embrace a kind of anonymity … to become my art. Virginia Woolf expressed this need powerfully in To the Lighthouse: "we shed the self our friends know us by and become part of that vast republican army of anonymous trampers … Into each of these lives one could penetrate a little way, far enough to give one the illusion that one is not tethered to a single mind, but can put on briefly for a few minutes the bodies and minds of others."
About the artist:
Corroded rust, paint, curled surfaces twisted by the elements or fire lend a gritty, industrial feel to this new exhibition by Simone Hébert Allard. The tone of the exhibition thrusts the spectator into a world where anything goes. Beauty emerging from trauma and decay become a raw depiction of reality, and the spectator feels strangely drawn to it. Simple frames showcase the images, allowing for unencumbered interpretation. Though more subtle, Simone's affinity with nature presides as the pieces of art have been fashioned by the elements.
Simone Hébert Allard had a dual exhibition with sculptor Émile Chartier (Eclectic Images/Images éclectiques) at La Maison des artistes in Winnipeg, Manitoba in 2004, and took part in a number of collective exhibitions at La Maison des artistes, Platform Gallery and Wayne Arthur Gallery; many of her works are in private collections. Involuntary Paintings is her second solo exhibition, her first being Arborescence, that was shown at the Wayne Arthur Gallery in 2013.