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Meubler le Silence/Occupying the Silence by Katherine-Josee Gervais
@ Galerie Point Rouge, Montreal
September 14th to 29th, 2011

This exhibition is a telling portrayal of the landscape of culture and silence, art installations, paintings and photographs by Katherine-Josee Gervais. The art installations are Art Nouveau at its best, particularly the exhibition of small ceramic birds in a pile amongst bird cages, the artist describes the piece as “animals used for decoration” and “all the birds were in cages in houses . . . finally they are all dead.” This art installation is exciting and challenging, the small ceramic birds a quiet testament to beauty and sorrow, exquisite. As if an apologia to the gods for when the birds fell out of the skies dead in the Southern United States, the pile of stone birds sits in the window as a reminder of the degenerating ecology, healing the day with good magic and thoughts of freedom. The second art installation in the front window is a doll house that whispers, in disrepair and with broken furniture inside. Similar photographs of a real house are on the walls around the exhibition, they are parallel existences. Thoughts on the fragile nature of existence that questions the tenets of the everyday, the very basis of reality in a very broken world. Both exhibits are from the mind of a genius creator, a seminal artist.

As a painter she is just finding her voice, one painting in particular is haunting, it is in greens and black. It is a large painting and amongst the desolation are haunting figures of small rabbits and the outline of a dog. I started with a “garbage lot and I imagine all the life that was there” says the artist. There is a group of paintings with gray subjects and sky blue backgrounds. One is a large gray block and the other rather interesting subject is the back of a mans head while he is sleeping. The artist says these paintings are “about confusion and wasting time.” The other rather interesting painting is in greens and blacks and grays, the subject an old couple with trees in the background the artist says she was inspired by imagining “the ritual of the day.” The subjects are isolated and suspended in backgrounds as if we “are away from reality.” Her work seems to challenge the viewer and describe a culture that is overly constructed and violent.

The exhibition plays upon voices of silence, the passing of time, as if caught in a dialogue that is slow and destructive, an impression of paradise lost. A very impressive first solo exhibition, I look forward to seeing more from this artist.

Katherine-Josee Gervais is from rural Quebec, and has participated in many collective art exhibitions in Montreal and Paris, this is her first solo exhibition. She is continuing her arts studies at UQAM.

Meubler le Silence/Occupying the Silence by Katherine-Josee Gervais
Galerie Point Rouge,
2471 Notre-Dame Ouest
Montreal, Quebec.
H3J 1N6

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