Socio-economic issues through the lens of an artist

Trying to make sense of an increasingly challenging reality

“Anomie” is defined as the alienation, personal unrest and social instability that comes from a breakdown of standards and values. This theme is present in Concordia studio arts student Emilie Tremblay’s first solo exhibition, Anomie, which took place at the Cégep du Vieux Montréal on Nov. 1.

“It was really exciting to be able to show my work so early on in my development as an artist,” said Tremblay. “It’s very gratifying because I was invited by the Cegep after graduation. It’s heartwarming to see them support and believe in me like that.”

The art pieces presented all discuss social issues in modern day society. Tremblay does not hold back in her work—some pieces are avant-garde and meant to upset the viewer. For instance, Ruptures is a crude insult to the patriarchal values which are omnipresent in our society. The piece presents the outline of several women who are faceless and, therefore, emotionless. According to Tremblay, this lack of personification is meant to symbolize the tendency in current society to mute women’s voices. Women’s rights have been, and continue to be, a political issue and an important international social problem. In a statement issued on March 8, 2010, Dr. Margaret Cahn, director-general of the World Health Organization, argues women are still denied the same opportunities and rights which are recognized by law.

Emily Tremblay, a Concordia student, held her first solo exhibition on Nov. 1 at the Cegep du Vieux-Montréal.
Emily Tremblay, a Concordia student, held her first solo exhibition on Nov. 1 at the Cegep du Vieux-Montréal.

Another prominent work is Stop-Motion, a collection of different door locks stacked together. According to Tremblay, these locks are meant to represent the obstacles, be they social or societal, that minority groups must overcome in order to fulfill their dreams.

“I have an approach that is very critical and engaged in my work, in general. I choose my themes based on what calls to me, in this case, it was a feeling of general uneasiness towards our generation in regards to societal function,” said Tremblay. “I feel this desire to step away from the past and question it, but without bringing any answers. I think as an artist, it’s important to ask questions.”

The exhibition is also composed of pieces which use space efficiently. There is a 3D aspect to the compositions—their perception changes depending on where the viewer is standing. It makes the process of looking at art dynamic, as one can’t help but look at the designs from different angles.

What is striking about Tremblay’s pieces are the simplicity of the art, yet the complexity of the messages presented. Tremblay’s work uses straightforward designs to convey her views and values.

Her pieces are refreshing, accessible and approachable—even to those who are not overly familiar with studio arts. Tremblay’s work can be viewed on Instagram under the handle @epithumia_rose.

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