Review: Sculpture – Ludisme

Currently on view: Montréal
Sculpture – Ludisme at Galerie SAS
9 June – 13 August 2011

Patrick Bérubé “Lies” (2010) Wood, Plexiglas, water jet cutting, clay and plant. Courtesy of the artist and Galerie SAS

Derived from the Latin verb ludere, to play, Galerie Sas has appropriately titled its current exhibition of three-dimensional works. Sculpture-Ludisme assembles art pieces by Patrick Bérubé, Catherine Bolduc, Éric Cardinal, Laurent Craste, Marc Dulude, Peter Gnass, Fred Laforge and Karine Payette in this playful, surreal and wildly chromatic show that comfortably straddles the line between serious and over-the-top. While all the works genuinely represent the approach of each artist, overall this show is delightfully coherent.

Laurent Craste and Catherine Bolduc best capture the show’s theme, with works that both surprise and amuse. Craste flaunts his mastery of ceramics with a series of vases that nearly animate in sheer malleability: darts, a baseball and bat all thrust into his pristine porcelains without even shattering a single one. Instead of a broken mess, Craste’s pieces mold and absorb the aggressive objects into a recombinant whole. The vases stuck with darts hang from delicately stretched arms on the walls of Sas Galerie, defying the same laws of nature as Wile E. Coyote. Indeed Craste plays on bending the classic, albeit inflexible perception of decorative objects, from their enclosed cultural status so closely linked with tradition. Each piece shakes off this prejudice with mirth to embrace a welcome sense of humor.

Laurente Craste “Vase – Saint Sébastien” (2011) Porcelain, glaze, darts. Courtesy of the artist and Galerie SAS

Catherine Bolduc has long been using mixed-media to create landscapes that explore the intersections of her imagination, desires and day-to-day reality. Well traveled, her knowledge of rural and urban countrysides around the world is demonstrated in her elaborate works of brilliant fantasy. As a case in point, La Face Caché du Mont Fuji confronts us with a one-meter wide volcano, composed of multi-colored bead necklaces erupting from a chocolate and wax mound, rising from the floor on a similarly-beaded podium, and topped-off with a crater of plastic diamonds and pulsating lights. This piece along with Alchemie d’un Paysage Pessimiste and Paysage Gateau, enumerate Bolduc’s vocabulary of gaudy materials to render a surreal vista of her unique topographical daydreamings.

Catherine Bolduc “La face cachée du Mont Fuji” (2011) Wood, styrofoam, wax, chocolate, plastic beads, revolving light. Courtesy of the artist and Galerie SAS

In its tone, the entire exhibition asserts a simple, overt critique of the seriousness that can plague sculpture, sometimes manifested here in exaggerated representations. Such are the two podiums of Patrick Bérubé‚ bright yellow and pink ones entitled Lies. The former sports a Plexiglas box, to encase a slumped over, black wood Pinocchio. His grown-out nose has broken through a crack in the plexi, reaching all the way to the second, vacant, pedestal. Perhaps this is why a broken pot and plant lie in the wake of the pink podium, pushed off the edge by its deceptive and nosey neighbor. Although a touch puerile, the work’s mise-en-scene implants in our mind a timeless before-and-after scenario, of a sculpture that failed at sitting quietly, saved from blandness a push of humor to extend its formal and conceptual limitations.

Surprisingly unapologetic of its usage of under-rated crafts, hand-made and juvenile creativity, Sculpture-Ludism aptly adds perspective to the quick and flashy sentiments of popular culture, in the midst of a technological revolution. For a carefree summer show, the selected artists have contributed well in laughing at the conventions of sculpture, and emanate wit in the spirit of play, color, texture and movement.

Text by Yaniya Lacharité
Galerie SAS
#416, 372 Ste Catherine Ouest
Montréal, QC
H3B 1A2 Canada

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