“I was grocery shopping and looking at some vegetables, when I started thinking that they’d look nice under an x-ray.”
That’s how Gabriela Ana Lim’s series of plant-based artwork was born.
She was featured in The Concordian in February for Arts Matters and has since graduated from the university’s studio arts program. Lim was also a finalist in Photographer’s Forum Magazine’s annual college photography contest, and, to top it all off, was recently selected to participate in the upcoming Expo Art Montreal.
Lim’s achievements are made all the more impressive by the fact that she took up drawing and painting only seven years ago, after working for several years in her native Argentina as a computer programmer. Although art was something she liked to do as a child, it fell by the wayside as she grew up.
For our interview at the Second Cup near Loyola Campus, she brought a sculptural installation called Veggies (2007) that attracted attention from the patrons and elicited compliments from the baristas. Once plugged in, a light blooms from behind frosted paper and plexiglass, throwing into relief pressed sage, mushrooms, chives and spinach leaves.
“The cost was unbelievable,” said Lim. “The prints themselves cost $80, then I had to get a special paper called ‘backlit’ so that the light would show through properly. It’s used commonly for advertisements in the metro.”
Luckily, Lim managed to avoid even steeper costs for Expo Art Montreal. Because she was selected as part of a submissions process for students, she won’t have to shell out the exorbitant fees reserved for professional artists. A “premium booth” at the expo costs $3,550, while a “solo booth” goes for $1,450. Neither price includes tax.
“The really special thing for me is that I won’t have to pay,” she said. “I won’t have a booth, but at least my work will be near the entrance.”
Expo Art Montreal is billed as “the only international, high profile fine art event in Quebec.” The event will feature hundreds of pieces, allowing artists and galleries to showcase, trade, and sell their work.
This year marks the North American debut of Nobel Prize nominee and “Creator of the Invisible” Jorge Iglesias. His famous Invisible Sculptures will be on display, an illusionary installment that achieves the impossible by making a vase appear and disappear out of an apparent void.
Other highlights include Chloé Desjardins’ The Hypothetical Inside, a video installation exploring subjectivity and materiality. Claudia Espinosa’s Ximenoides also employs a light box, but to different ends: to “convey the sensation of oneness by assembling imaginary beings with different bodies.” And finally, Valerie Sagin’s photographic work positions her subjects in exaggerated panoramas, thus redefining their bodies and identities.
Lim’s advice for graduating fine arts students?
“I see so many talented people at school, but you really have to push and show your work. It’s tough to keep going, but you need to deploy your business side to continue. Don’t get disappointed if you get refused, just keep going.”
Expo Art Montreal runs from Oct. 23-26 at Place Bonaventure (900 de La Gaucheti