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At the cusp of new beginnings

by Chloё Lalonde March 19, 2019
At the cusp of new beginnings

ARTX students question traditional paradigms of art-making

“I couldn’t imagine myself not doing it,” said architecture-turned-fine-arts student, Maxime Sauvage, “I make art because I must… I can’t consider doing something else, even though I don’t really know what I’m doing.”

ARTX differs from other independent study courses at Concordia in that the class becomes a community, like an art collective, whereas an independent study is a niche, one-on-one, described another studio art student, Paul Tremblay. ARTX is a constant work-in-progress; students are always workshoping and bouncing new ideas off each other. These relationships and this feedback is important, as it fuels the students’ final project.

Taught by Mary Sui-Yee Wong, students enroll in ARTX 480 knowing that there will be an exhibition at the end. However, nothing is organised for them. As a group, they must fundraise, write grants, find a space and curate the overall exhibition. It’s important to have the exhibition off campus, according to Sauvage, that way they are thrown into the real world and gain off-campus experience, which is especially important as the majority of the class will be graduating in the spring.

Also learning along the way, Wong, who teaches classes in both the fibres and sculpture departments in addition to ARTX 480, observes her students at the cusp of new beginnings. Wong strives to push them to take up new challenges and experiment, invoking their individualities and questioning traditional paradigms of art-making.

One student used the opportunities this class has given her to approach her daily routines in a new way. “I want to create the most creative life for myself,” shared studio art student, Erica Hart. Hart is an interdisciplinary artist experienced in drawing, painting, performance and video. Her final project, hugging myself every night for twelve days, is an extension of a larger exploration of therapeutique healing methods in her artistic practice.

Their exhibition, rêverie, will contain a variety of work, from print media and artist books to sculpture, video and performance art, all centered around the notion of “collective dreaming” and interpretations of “the common.”

The students have embraced this course as an opportunity to find their voice, break away from making pretty, aesthetically pleasing work, and search for meaning. For Tremblay, art is a tool used to participate in cultural, social and political conversations. “It’s an investigation deep into oneself, into materials, into social issues,” added Celine Cardineau, whose final project attempts to articulate abstract concepts in the form of a children’s book.

rêverie opens on March 21 at Art Mûr (5826 St-Hubert St.). On March 22, the vernissage will take place from 5 to 7 p.m., and will include a performance by Santiago Tamayo Soler at 6 p.m.

Visual by @sundaemorningcoffee

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