Untitled (flapflapflap)


book work:
Publisher: Ace Art Inc, Winnipeg, part of Crows project, 2001
ISBN: 0-9696265-7-6 (full box set from Ace Art); no ISBN for individual books in this edition of 40
trim size: 7 x 7.75 in
pages: 76 plus cover
production details: hand-trimmed, laser print on acid-free bond (interior) and gloss cover stock (cover); bound with white cotton-wrapped elastic cord
collection Concordia University Library

Untitled (flapflapflap) is a flip-book comprised of a series of photographs shot with an early, lo-res, digital camera of my hands gesturing animatedly as they would when I was talking to my then-young children. At the time, they spoke French with their father and English with me. In our aural landscape of accented official languages, baby gurgles, and toddler-franglais I delighted more than ever in the way touch and gesture assured we understood each other; visual, tactile language that clarifies meaning. When the images are “played” as a flip-book, the hands appear to take off in flight.
On the cover a feathery block of text contains bird sounds from National Geographic Society Field Guide to the Birds of North America, 1987, mixed up with bird sounds in other languages, and infant sounds/words. This mix is framed by a short English text and its translation into French (“Stop searching through your big French-English dictionary, hold it over your head and flap its pages into your upturned face. When at last you set it down, feel how your hands lift right up./ Cessez de fouiller dans le gros dictionnaire anglais-français, maintenez-le au dessus de la tête et faites-en battre les pages devant votre visage relevé. Quand finalement vous le déposez sentez-vous comme les mains doucement se soulèvent”). Sources are listed on the back cover.
The book was originally published as part of a boxed set of book projects (edition of 20), in conjunction with the Crows project, Ace Art, Winnipeg. Crows was curated by Angela Somerset and Marian Butler and included individual book-related objects by eight artists and writers.

holding you as steady as I can

A membrane sensitive to waves of available light and air, a divining rod for the intangible presence of what is always there, unremarked, between my outstretched hands.

2016, edition of 20

Exhibited at Pierre-François Ouellette art contemporain, 2016; Art Toronto, 2016; Papier Montréal 2017; Flowers Gallery, New York, 2017


Mille-feuilles: Quand le dessin a lieu

Group exhibition / Exposition en groupe
Curator/ commissaire : Lise Lamarche

24 novembre 2019 – 9 février 2020
Salle Alfred-Pellan, Maison des arts de Laval
Opening / Vernissage : 24 novembre, 14h
Visite commentée : 26 janvier, 14h


In Lise Lamarche’s brochure and her talk January 26, she guides us through her exhibition choices as layers of ideas about drawing. Rather than paraphrasing artists’ specific intentions to coil our meanings into hers, she invites the reader/viewer to learn more about us (and our work) via “un petit coup de pouce sur l’ordi,” I’m happy to have some drawings play part of her exhibition-thinking process, and to share my two-bits about them. 

My artworks in the exhibition are part of an ongoing series I call “invisible drawings.” In these I try to address incomprehensible ideas circulating in my personal life, ideas which are not clearly identifiable and so invisible, unspoken concerns or feelings that I can’t quite articulate. The drawings may not be invisible, per se, but through them blind spots, temporary blindness, or physical comprehension of visual subtlety are foregrounded.






Sans titre (waves) 

Transparent polyester and steel rods, 213 x 305 x 30 cm
Photos (taken at different points in 2-minute lighting cycle): Guy L’Heureux

The subtitle alludes to the artwork’s pattern of curved lines of light and shadow, while suggesting unseen waves — radio, electrical, emotional — and honours my continued debt to Virginia Woolf’s unmasking of emotional currents surging beneath calm appearances. The drawing was constructed on site, based on experiments with mounting this transparent material perpendicularly to the wall. While my focus is normally shifting visuality via daylight, I had been continually surprised by this installation/drawing’s appearance in my studio at night, depending on the distance and intensity of light sources, raking or direct, and how these factors altered my perception of what the material was and even where it was situated. To get across this enigmatic quality I worked with the gallery’s lighting technician (the excellent Bruno Arsenault), until we arrived at this transition of light source from one side to the other of the artwork zone so slowly that it’s as if one’s eyes are adjusting to the dim conditions. It is difficult to discern what is going on, what the material is, why this feeling of something happening, a soul shift. Because, nothing is there, right?





Water Drawing No. 3

Water on tracing paper, 78 x 102 cm
Collection MNBAQ
from photo by Guy L’Heureux (contrast increased to show detail)

I draw circles with a wet brush, trying to build a pattern of circle on circle, continuing a network of wetness. But as the water evaporates, its brief reflection disappears, leaving no trace until each circle has dried and puckered the paper in rings that mark the paths of the brush. So the drawings are done in rushes against verging blindness, then impatient lulls while waiting for the reappearance of form. The drawings embrace the warping of paper that watercolourists must plan against, while revealing the struggle to control the medium. Water Drawing No 3 is one of the first I made of this ongoing series, and maybe the only one on tracing paper, which also absorbs water from the air, further complicating the pattern in a field of intention, thwarted. I made subsequent drawings on vellum, which is slightly more stable, but I’m now struck by the fragile balance in this one, its ever more complex pattern at the verge of obliterating mine.





Solstice d’hiver: Cygne et Grande Ourse, 24 heures, Corneille 7h-15h, Montréal

Pointe d’argent et acier sur mylar, 28.5 x 23.5 cm
Photo, detail: Richard-Max Tremblay (contrast increased to show subtle detail)

With this series of drawings I was trying to access a fleeting sense of time and place, and how we are connected to things too vast and distant to fully comprehend. Constellations have been navigational tools for humans since way back, and the idea that what we observe in the night sky is pretty similar to what our ancestors saw from the same point on Earth, millenia ago, boggles the mind. These drawings trace the path of a single constellation as it is positioned overhead during daylight hours, when we cannot see it; and over cities (here, Montreal) where even on a clear night the stars are hidden to us. Invisible idea-lines connect us to these invisible-to-us bodies of light. The silverpoint lines of the drawing are themselves nearly indetectable in low light, but will darken over many years. They trace lacy snowflakes of familiarity, patterns which can be found throughout the natural world. (In my photo above, of another drawing in this series, I’ve enhanced the contrast. In the gallery, the lighting is low, to accommodate artworks in museum collections, and the drawing pretty much appears as a blank rectangle.)

Art Toronto

at Toronto’s Metro Convention Centre, October 25-27 2019

with Pierre-François Ouellette art contemporain, Montréal

Back to you (Receptive Series 1) 2019
Polyester matte and transparent films; steel rods; thread; wood frame with plexiglass (sanded front), ambient light and air; 34 x 30 x 6 in