Fresh paint / New construction 2022

July 16 – August 27, 2022
Opening reception: Saturday, July 16, 2022 from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m.
Fresh Paint / New Construction – 18th edition: Fanny-Jane, Isadora Alcindor-Limoges, Maxime Boisvert-Huneault, Nicole Boyce, Élyse Brodeur-Magna, Sonia Chow, Colin Courtney, Mathilde Demoli, Jessie Donaldson, Jessy Duchaine, Marie-Danielle Duval, Anam Feerasta, Jennifer Fong, Emy Gagnon Gélinas, Faustine Gruninger, Kellyann Henderson, Jazz Keillor, Sophia Kyungwon Kim, Corynn Kokolakis, Mathieu P. Lapierre, Laurence Lapointe-Roy, Teal Leacock, Brooklyn Payne, Marie-Pierre Ranger, Alexander Ranger, Erienne Rennick, Emerald Repard-Denniston, Madeline Richards, James Russell, Majd Shammas, Netsanet Shawl, Kasia Sosnowski, Senka Stankovic, Caleigh Stillwater, Stanley Wany

Text by Béatrice Larochelle

As a marker of the warm season, the new edition of Fresh paint / New Construction is making its way into the gallery space once again. Welcoming the most recent and distinguished productions from our thirteen participating universities is always an ecstatic moment. This annual exhibition is often accompanied by several firsts: First time exhibiting in a professional gallery, first time pricing a work of several hours, first acquisition for a young collector… the list goes on. It is our pleasure to collaborate in the creation of these first moments, particularly crucial to the complex and perpetual ecosystem that is the art market.

This year, several of the artists from the 2022 cohort meet under the theme of playfulness. Isadora Alcindor-Limoges (Bishop), in a game of simple volumes and vibrant colors, draws inspiration from her Haitian cultural roots to give life to her funny little plasticine characters. In a humbling rendering, she invites the viewer, regardless of age, to enter her shrunken world. In the case of Élyse Brodeur-Magna (UQAM), amusement mixes with surprise when one comes across her absurd installations; spoons that repeatedly hit their empty plates or a catapult whose load of confetti collapses on the ground before being projected over the distance.

Confronting this lightness, or maybe complementing it, many of the students’ proposals are tinged with an engaged or assertive discourse. Anchored in their time and its characteristic issues, Alex Ranger (University of Regina) and Emerald Repard-Denniston (OCAD) use their work to explore questions of identity. Strongly influenced by his proximity to the LGBTQ+ and burlesque communities, Ranger takes interest in what surrounds gender and sexuality, while Repard-Denniston questions the perception of the Asian female body through childhood scenes. James Russell (York University), through the reproduction of archival photographs of Expo 67 or vintage pornographic films, carries a critical discourse on the modernism movement during the late 20th century and its connections to the capitalist system. It is through an assumed environmentalist practice that multidisciplinary artist Caleigh Stillwater (University of Manitoba) illustrates an apocalyptic and pessimistic vision of our future environment. To do so, he confronts the visitor with an uncomfortable vision of the environmental impact due to food’s overproduction.

In line with this sensitivity to the environment and nature but from a more contemplative perspective, Sophia Kyungwon Kim (OCAD) combines her own experience of motherhood with her fascination for the ever-changing plant world. Rather than focusing on depicting grandiose romantic landscapes, the artist focuses instead on what is often overlooked: a blade of grass, a dead leaf, a mushroom turned brown by time. Jazz Keillor (NSCAD) illustrates how our societal need for comfort and control has led to the domestication of nature. Through bizarre scenes, she confronts this idea of the supposed « wildness » to the North American suburb. 

This atmosphere of strangeness is reflected in the practice of several artists this year. Artist Mathilde Démoli (Université Laval) orchestrates grotesque tableaux in which the line between taxidermy and gourmet dining becomes blurred; while Brooklyn Payne (Alberta University of the Arts) invites us into a universe that traces the aesthetic codes of Old Hollywood and features characters whose fate seems uncertain.

Finally, with brilliance, other artists use references from art history in their own work, in order to articulate a contemporary discourse. To this end, Marie-Pierre Ranger (Bishop) takes up the classical figure of Venus, the Roman goddess of love and seduction, to question current codes of beauty. The student artistic productions of this 18th edition are sure to charm once again, providing us with an exclusive window on the art world of the coming years.