Annie Briard’s first solo exhibition, Arborescence RED, which explores our relationship with nature, will appropriately open on Earth Day at the new NEXUS Gallery.
Briard describes this relationship using the theme of fairy tales and horror, in order to make the subject more approachable.
“There is an inaccessibility to nature, we are numb to it,” she said. “With fairy tales, because they are more childlike, you are more willing to look in depth. You’re not put off by the ‘Another thing about the state of the world!'”
Briard’s twisted fairy tales feature stereotypical fantasy elements like moons and trees. “But if you look closely, you will see that something is off,” she said. “For example, there is a lot of blood red.”
The colour red figures contrast heavily in the artist’s work, as reflected in the exhibition’s title.
“I’m obsessed with red, I don’t know why!” she said. “I need red everywhere. It has a conflicting meaning, love and hatred, you are not left indifferent.”
The work will be featured in a new gallery, NEXUS, in Old Montreal. NEXUS is part of a centre started by a student of Chinese culture that aims to bring together different cultural elements. Briard believes that her show is a perfect fit for the new gallery because it aims to bring together mind, body and spirit.
For those who prefer the visual aspect of art to its meaning, Briard thinks the show still offers something to enjoy because of the universal theme of fairy tales.
“Each [piece] is a scene, but it’s more about the viewer’s experience,” she said.
The show will feature around 15 of her most recent pieces in different media. By the time the exhibition starts, Briard will be finishing up her BFA in interdisciplinary arts at Concordia.
“What you have to say, you find the medium,” she said. Textile art, structural art and paintings – two of which are works in progress – are all part of Briard’s exhibition plans. All of the pieces are linked together by similar elements, such as trees.
Of special importance to her is an installation titled A Plant Wedding, an animated 3-minute Claymation video that asks the viewer “How do we reconnect with nature when our surrounding environment is synthetic?”
“I don’t have a favourite piece, but this is the one I’m most excited about right now,” Briard said. “Maybe it’s because everything in it is so hands on. I love video art, so animation kind of ended up making sense to me.”
With the help of Phyllis Papoulias, who took the photos necessary to make the animation, Briard took 10 seven-hour workdays to film the video, followed by almost a month of editing. “It’ll be interesting to see people’s reactions to [it], whether they love it or even hate it,” she said.
Arborescence RED opens April 22 at the NEXUS Gallery and runs until May 15. NEXUS Gallery is located at 218 St. Paul West.