VAV GALLERY

ARCHIVING
IDENTITY


(VAV x Somewhere Gallery)

The study of oneself is a unique process.

The act of exploring our identities through materiality and personal archives is present in many artistic forms and personal practices around the globe. Throughout time the study of oneself is at the forefront of our interests and our longing to understand our humanly purpose.

When we find ourselves with an abundance of spare time, we begin questioning the deeper parts of our inner selves. Often, this research can begin through the personal study of familial relationships and inhabited environments.

There are various paths to reach a goal of being at peace with oneself. By immersing oneself in research and creating connections with our surroundings we develop a form of self representation to identify with. Always in search of our place of belonging.

Visual mediums can offer a powerful method to explore identity. Through imagery that is deconstructed, transformed, invented, catalogued, etc, we create a file of our past, present and future. A continuous journey of making our intangible inner selves tangible.

As art makers and conceptual thinkers, questioning personal meaning while existing in a community can offer the attention and significance to mundane attributes that surround us.

Sometimes we are led through a journey of self exploration through our subconscious interests, or through moments of interlude- when we are the closest to ourselves and the exterior feels so far away.


Artists: Paulina Bereza, Kevin Rameau, Claudia Goulet-Blais, Feng, David Nadeau

Curated by Katherine Parthimos and the VAV team (Julia-Autumn Savoy, Carolina Larrosa, and Tyra Maria Trono)

Web Design by Le Lin

Text by Katherine Parthimos

Graphic Design by Katherine Parthimos

Claudia Goulet-Blais

Adaptors Study I, image-based book, 5x7”, 2020

Project Statement:

Adaptors Study I is an image-based book that looks at behaviors and movements that express internal state through performance and recontextualization of the body. This study is part of a larger on-going project called Proxemics and Kinesics where through images and an Index, the artist has redefined and reappropriated a method of categorization to conduct a visual study. The study looks at movement and the effects that physical space has on gendered behaviour, gestures and reactions. Adaptors Study I is an attempt to define a single category of gestures through photographic performance and physical layering of images allowing for the recontextualizing of the body in different spaces.

Artist Bio:

Claudia Goulet-Blais is a photography-based artist whose images are fuelled by a desire for reflection via deconstruction of the self. Her current work revolves around the body, gestures and behaviour where she integrates herself in several ways. Constructed imagery, distortions of viewers’ understanding, and unusual associations between figures and still lives are all essential elements to her work that often takes form as an installation or art book. 

More on Claudia’s Goulet-blais’s work: @c.gouletblais

David Nadeau

Tree (01-35), Gelatin Silver Print dyed in Fir Tree, 8 x 10 in, 2021

Project Statement:

Taking down the green. What is the legacy of a Christmas tree after the holiday season has ended? Following this simple question I investigated the rapport that exists between the symbol and the object. The custom originated and continues within homes where the tree becomes statuesque and holds properties, which are removed after the end of the holiday when the municipal workers carry the tree to be transformed into mulch. Following this idea, I wanted to create an archive of the trees soon to be disposed that were found in my direct environment. The cataloguing was similarly mundane to the labour intensive process of disposing and transforming the trees, it acted as a sort of reverse production in which care was taken to up-cycle the by-product of the celebration. This holiday engenders an industry of temporary statues, embodying the tree as it grows in a farm, being reduced to only a symbol during the holidays and rejected as a mere tree when it is thrown out on the sidewalk.

Artist Bio:

David Nadeau is a photo-based artist living and working in Tiohtiá:ke, Mooniyang, Montreal. He makes photographs by employing specific processes, which include material elements of his subject matter. His work deals with mundane objects while also addressing larger themes such as mass consumption, material culture and environmental issues. His projects offer an invitation for viewers to question and reflect on his processes, choice of materials and their relationship to the subject matter. David’s work has been shown in a multitude of professional and student run publications and exhibitions including Art Matters, Somewhere Gallery, Interfold Magazine, Darkslide Magazine, The Concordia Photo Collective, Heliographe and Festival Fast. He recently received a BFA in Photography from Concordia University in 2020.

More on David Nadeau’s work: https://davidnadeau.cargo.site/

Feng

Piscine, Photography, 2020

Project Statement:

I find it very interesting how my relationship with China has somehow become an exotic one: I am viewing it through highly stylized representations made by others, but I realize I am on the other side, trying to gather bits and pieces that reflect back to me, finding “Chinese-ness” in a different land. Piscine is a sarcastic confrontation of the overlap of my queer and Asian identities that aims to normalize the idea of being queer in a traditional Chinese narrative. It embodies the search of belonging in a land alienated from family, country, and self. With Piscine, I try to seek space for my identity to exist in normativity while finding simultaneous comfort in exile.

Artist Bio:

The fabrication of spectacles is central to my image making process. By constructing ambiguous narratives, I turn my photographs into extended self-portraits of my queer and Chinese/Canadian identity. To me, seeing an image forms other images, therefore specificity is never my goal. An image can become a tunnel which leads one to memories they never had, and allows one to experience fragments of someone's identity. Culturally specific visuals trigger culturally specific memory but nostalgia is a universal experience; a state of mind. Through colour photographs of posed people, found images, ambiguous everyday objects and unnoticed interiors, I stage alienated worlds that question my hybrid cultural identity.

Find more on Feng’s work: https://www.feng-ish.com/

Kevin Rameau

SoundCloud_Internet Explorer.exe, 2020, Mix Medium on Canvas, Green Masking Tape, 4'8''x3'

YouTube_Internet_Explorer.exe,
2020, Mix Medium on Canvas, Green Masking Tape, 3'8''x3'

Project Statement:

Music lover, the rapper figure is recurrent in Kevin's work. Thus, "Lamborghini Mixtape" presents the personal SoundCloud page of his alter ego "Homie Kuan" and gives us access to an imaginary discography through which the artist evokes the biased gaze that is often cast on black singers.

Artist Bio:

Born in 1996 in Tiohtià: Ke (Montreal), the work of Kevin Rameau is anchored in an autobiographical thread. His works echo anecdotes and lived events which he translates into a narrative that combines reality and fiction. Rameau uses the stereotypes often imposed on the black man to create the characters in his works. His characters are self-portraits through which Rameau represents himself as a stereotypical figure. The eldest of a family of eight, he also tells the story of a marginalized childhood and a bullying transition to high school. His works, a sort of autofiction made in pastel, borrow from free figuration an expressive, even raw, style to tell us his story.

Find more on Kevin Rameau’s work : @rameauuu

Paulina Bereza

Looking back, I see no changes, 40”W x 30”H x 4”L, Handwoven polyester and cotton, cast concrete, 2020

Project Statement:

When considering this project, Looking Back, I see no Changes., I chose to delve into an inquiry about perception and gaze in relation to memory. Inspired by the accelerated surveillance implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic, I considered the symbiotic relationship between surveilled and surveilling. This work attempts to materialize a personal data collection, by superimposing and processing photos in a non-linear way. Combining images of places near and far in order to create an abstract manifestation of a self-algorithm.

Artist Bio:

Within my art practice, I explore my identity as a Polish-Canadian immigrant through hybrid craft techniques. While honouring my heritage, I re-contextualize rural craft practices in order to investigate concepts of displacement, time, origins, and privacy within contemporary societies. My practice includes weaving, as well as hand-building with clay, concrete and steel. The inherent qualities of matter inform my work, rooting through a decolonized approach to the history of arts & crafts. Considering time in a non-linear way, I attempt to transcend the past and the future in order to explore the choices of the present.

More on Paulina Bereza’s work : @pln_brz

More on Somewhere Gallery

About Somewhere Gallery

Somewhere Gallery's mission is to create alternative exhibition opportunities for emerging artists based in the greater Montreal area. 

With a focus on unconventional and non-established exhibition spaces, our goal is to create a dialog around a more accessible and approachable environment for emerging artists to show their artwork. By building a community where artists unite, through Somewhere Gallery, there is a prioritized focus on the artist and their artwork rather than leading with consumerists intentions like many commercial galleries do. 

Somewhere Gallery strives to make exhibiting artwork as an emerging artist as accessible as possible with frequent exhibition opportunities, simple and conducive application forms and low commission rates.

For more information:

https://katherineparthimos.com/somewhere-gallery

https://www.instagram.com/somewhere.gallery.mtl/

Meet the Founder/Curator 

Katherine Parthimos is a Montreal based curator working with an open and experimental curatorial structure that focuses on linking community and nurturing relationships. By using exhibitions to showcase and connect artwork from artists with various conceptual backgrounds, Parthimos strives to create professional and community strengthening opportunities for emerging artists.

Since experimenting with many collaborative curatorial projects during her BFA at Concordia University (2020), Parthimos has since founded Somewhere Gallery which focuses on accessible and alternative exhibition opportunities for Montreal based emerging artists.

Katherine Parthimos’s links:

https://www.instagram.com/k_flower_/

https://katherineparthimos.com/