Videos, check. Sculptures, check. Paintings, check. Drawings, check. Stop-motion animation, check. All of these media are explored in a two room exhibit entitled the space in between by interdisciplinary artist Annie Briard at the Joyce Yahouda Gallery.
Briard describes her work as “interdisciplinary with a surreal tinge, and all about consciousness; making the real bleed with the imagined.” She credits critique and feedback for helping navigate her work to where it is today, while also remaining true to the personal style that she developed early on.
Briard’s show is divided in two rooms. One immerses you in a dream-like world, which explores isolation and the fear of the unknown. The other is far more gritty, twisted and horror film-like. “The show expresses themes of consciousness and its disconnection,” said Briard. “More specifically, the concept of the mind being caged by the fear of an inability to achieve one’s dreams, as well as the self being confronted by just-out-of-reach freedom.”
In the first room, you are presented with stop-motion animation of a constantly crying redhead stuck in a room. She looks out of the window and seems to be longing for freedom. Her tears fall to the ground and earth begins to form, out of which crow beaks are growing. That is when things get interesting – certain elements that are presented in the animation can be found in the same room.
For instance, in addition to being on screen, the crow beaks growing from the earth can be seen on the left side of the room. This unusual feature challenges your expectations of a typical art exhibit. It also creates unity and a sense of connectivity in Briard’s work.
“I’m probably most inspired by forests, dreams, horror films and philosophy,” said Briard. In the first room, the presence of birds, mythical creatures, and forests are apparent; while in the second, horror freak show would be more like it. The second room is substantially smaller and only features two works: a painting and a video. The video is enticing; it is unexpected, confusing, and experimental.
Briard’s last video animation, A Plant Wedding, is currently touring China with a show called Canadian Cameras at Work, organized by Travis Joern. “I’m working with him on bringing Canadian artists to China to create a bridge between our two countries and cross-pollinate inspiration,” said Briard. “I also work with artist-run centre Studio XX to support and showcase women artists working with technology.”
The artist, who graduated from Concordia in 2008 with a bachelor of fine arts in Media Art, defined art as “open communication, exploration and education.”
“The great thing about Concordia was the community, the amount of exchange you could have with the other students and how that could shape your experience into something extraordinary,” said Briard. “One person that has been invaluable for my process is Leila Sujir, a video artist and professor I had at Concordia. We’ve kept in touch and regularly meet to discuss our work, and she has given me a lot of support and guidance on how to take my creating and career to the next level.”
Briard has other projects lined up on top of the current exhibit. She is participating in a festival in February with a giant tree sculpture and video, and plans to start a master’s degree in Europe while continuing to work on her artistry.
The space in between runs until Feb. 12 at Joyce Yahouda Gallery, 372 rue Sainte Catherine Ouest Suite 516. For more information, visit joyceyahoudagallery.com