TAKE ME AWAY
Audrey Bilodeau Fontaine
“Take me away” is a common lyrical trope; What came to (our) minds immediately was the Dixie Chicks’ lament: Cowboy take me away/ Fly this girl as high as you can/ Into the wild blue.
Let it be known however, that the six artists participating in the new Friends and Neighbours Gallery Summer Show entitled Take Me Away, do not require a cowboy for rescue and would most likely take offense to such an imposition.
As a curatorial impulse, “Take me away” suggests both a removal from the space we are in now and an exploration of new speculative or alternative spaces. The works in this exhibition are hesitantly hopeful, they conceive of an elsewhere, of new fabricated environments, deconstructed realities, queering of liminal spaces, observations of where we are and where we could be.
Jill Smith and Julianne Aguilar utilize and obscure the familiar tropes of landscape imagery to create their own new self-generated environments. In her presented work, Sorceress, 2017, Julianne Aguilar takes us on a tour of her own, otherworldly computer generated landscape; While Jill Smith’s, makes me look mysterious, 2017, presents itself as a sort of amalgam of landscape morphing into bodily vessel.
Brandon Brookbank and Audrey Bilodeau Fontaine provide visual, sometimes biographical accounts of the personal, and emotional aspects of everyday experience. Brandon Brookbank’s two works, both Untitled, 2016, rely heavily on the subjective readings of viewers with hopes of connecting to personal life experiences which may run contrary to official historical narratives. Audrey Bilodeau fontaine’s large scale drawing, Représentation de Quelque Chose d’avant, 2014, shows us a figure retreating, not only covering/comforting themselves with a quilt, but at the same time denying our gaze as viewers.
Claudia Burneo and Vida Beyer both create new conversations between psychic and physical worlds. Claudia Burneo’s Tocar Tu Piel, 2017, focuses on the emotional labour and physical care performed and required by seemingly absent, invisible bodies; While Vida Beyer’s Altar Piece for Freaks and Queers, Dead and Living; For the dead: All that You Left You Left for Someone (after Xiu Xiu), 2017, and For the living: Love and Money (after Bronski Beat), 2017, presents to us a performative gesture dedicated to those who have lived in and those who continue to struggle on the margins of the white supremacist, capitalist, hetero, cis, ableist, patriarchy that we live in.
Friends and Neighbours Gallery is an artist-run space Located in the Little Italy neighbourhood of Montreal. We are dedicated to providing an alternative exhibition space for artists who identify as, or ally with, BIPOC, LGBTQ2+, genderqueer, non-binary and/or cis women.
Friends and Neighbours Gallery acknowledges that all of our efforts take place on stolen land; The traditional territory of the Kanien’kehá:ka, the keepers of the Eastern Door of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy.
Julianne Aguilar received her MFA from the University of New Mexico, and has presented works at Vancouver Art Gallery, SITE Santa Fe, The University of New Mexico Art Museum, Festival Miden in Kalamata, Greece, The Athens Digital Arts Festival in Athens, Greece, and other traditional and non-traditional art spaces. She lives in the Greater Los Angeles Area.
Vida Beyer is an interdisciplinary artist based in Toronto. Beyer employs borrowed imagery and text from recognizable sources (such as the internet, movies and pop music) then weaves them together with artefacts and anecdotes from an autobiographical archive as both an attempt to not only make their personal and political concerns more relatable but also to draw attention to the limitations of widely available narratives.
Audrey Bilodeau Fontaine is an artist from Quebec City now based in Montreal. She has studied at Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) and Concordia University and is now on a sabbatical of unlimited duration. She is interested in ideas of craft, community, gender, inclusive feminism, social media, notions of emotional labor, ASMR, autofiction and astrology.
Brandon Brookbank is an artist based in Montreal. Brookbank’s documentations tell stories without endings, beginnings or logical narrative. The photographs are excerpts of contemporary life. These excerpts consist of fragments of personal, impersonal, collective, singular and queer experiences.
Claudia Burneo is an Ecuadorian artist, based in Montreal. Burneo’s practice employs storytelling, magic, ritual, and mediumship as a way of exploring her own heritage and identity. Her recent work is focused on healing, specifically the idea that art can be a vehicle for the healing process.
Jill Smith is an artist based in Toronto. She recently completed her BFA at Western University. Smith has exhibited across Ontario, at Artlab Gallery, Forest City Gallery, The Arts Project, Open Studio, and recently had her first solo exhibition at ARTiculations in Toronto.