Reception: Saturday, January 13, 2024 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Ginette Legaré: Au fur et à mesure
Text by Rebecca Johnson
Ginette Legaré’s work is known for transforming abandoned everyday objects that she finds in varying degrees of fragmentation and ruin into whimsical and reimagined sculptural forms. Legaré invites viewers to experience what was once a common household item – such as a spoon, belt, hammer, or lamp – in an unfamiliar way of looking, yet with detectable familiar components.
Au fur et à mesure captures the gradual changing that occurs within these objects’ lifecycles, from their initial use, to the moment they are discarded, and to their new life in sculptural form. This exhibition encourages viewers to engage with themes of materiality and physical presence. The artist arranges found metals, wood, and other material remains into artworks that appear precariously suspended or balanced. They are at once carefully orchestrated and delicate, yet seemingly chaotic. Legaré remains thoughtfully aware of the gallery space, considering components of lighting and the various angles of viewing. In this sense, not only are viewers presented with known objects in unknown assemblages, but they are offered multiple viewing points that enable different perceptions and relationships with these new forms.
By repurposing disowned belongings, otherwise destined for a landfill, Legaré’s work functions as a commentary on overproduction and overconsumption. For instance, in this exhibition, Legaré revisits the previously exhibited artwork, Lineup [Délictuelles]. When approaching this piece, viewers are greeted with a monumental array of metal wires that are arranged into both abstract shapes and discernible forms which are strung from the ceiling on a set of rods, chains, and hooks. The result is a truly spatial intervention that looms over its onlookers, yet in a fantastical and playful way. While each individual sculpture forces viewers to consider the items that end up on the side of the road, the entire lineup calls on the sheer amount of items that become waste. Legaré expands on this artwork by adding newly created pieces, from recently thrown-away objects, thus continuing an active and ongoing narrative. In other words, just as the act of consuming and ridding is never-ending, so too is the act of creating and adding to this artwork.
Moving through the gallery space, there is also a sensibility that, as consumers, we are increasingly aware and haunted by the “afterlife” of a discarded belonging. Although Legaré’s sculptures are organized and presented in a way that may incite feelings of joy, they may also call on us to recognize waste, fear it, and perhaps even feel guilt about the never-ending cycle of tossing things away.
The artist would like to thank the Ontario Arts Council for its support.