Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

Comic book launch: Yes, Yes… No: The story of one of many virgins (July 12)

July 9, 2010

I first saw Sofeel (aka Sophie Laplante)’s drawings at Expozine in 2005. Despite being modest photocopies of ballpoint pen line drawings, they leapt off the page, drawing me in with their delicate simplicity.

Sofeel’s work stems from her life experiences. Her artwork and zines cover such territory as masturbation, mourning a lost love, sexual abuse and hating Christmas. Like peering into a private journal, the viewer is brought inside the head and world of the artist, where things can be equally profound, funny, and cringe-inducing.

Yes, Yes… No is a story about a 23 year old virgin named Faube, and her experiences coming to terms with sex, family and feelings of inadequacy. It jumps between present time (2006) and her past through flashbacks and journal excerpts. Faube is a bit of a dork, a bit of an outcast, but she’s starting to figure it out.

Sofeel draws quickly, crossing out things that don’t work, often redrawing mouths or eyes several times until she gets them right. Readers will notice that many of these “mistakes” were left in, revealing her process while helping to portray a confusing moment or situation.

“I think initially I thought up the idea [for the comic] because I was sure I wasn’t alone in feeling so shitty/stressed about my virginity,” says Sofeel. “I want the “late” virgins and the ones who have difficulty dealing with their sexuality in general to not feel so secluded. In my head, I didn’t go through all that weird pain for nothing. It’s selfish, but it’s the truth.”

This self-published first run of 45 copies features lovely silkscreened covers, 25 of which include a 7” flexi-disk vinyl of the artist (also a musician) performing her song “Virgin Romance.”

Art is the search for truth, and artists like Sofeel, who are brave enough to be honest about the most personal of things, help us all along this path.

—Aimée van Drimmelen

Yes, Yes… No: The story of one of many virgins is being launched Monday July 12th at Casa del Popolo, 5 à 7. Comics are $20, $25 with flexi disk.

Nuit Blanche Feature: Celebrating Black on White with En Masse

February 25, 2010

Jason Botkin, is a Montreal artist and co-founder  of En Masse, an ongoing collaborative black & white drawing project that’s being featured for the second time at this year’s Nuit Blanche Festival. He was kind enough to share some info on the project and what they’ll be up to this weekend:

EN MASSE mobilizes emerging artists from Montreal and abroad in an ongoing series of artistic conversations, a non-linear dialog connecting these characters in the creation of large-scale, highly spontaneous, collaborative black and white murals and public installations.

Since its creation in 2009, EN MASSE has worked within diverse environments such as art institutions (Galerie Pangée), public events (Osheaga Festival of Music and Arts, Smart Design Mart), private contracts (l’Agence Sid Lee), and within community outreach projects (EN MASSE @ Art Pop).

Our mandate is twofold; firstly to increase the visibility of new young artists, both collectively and as individuals, and secondly, to foster community-oriented art events and programming, built upon a specific form of collaborative interaction and immersion between the chosen artists.

This edition of EN MASSE is realized in association with Art Souterrain, and the Festival Montreal en Lumieres for the Montreal 2010 Nuit Blanche festivities.

Launching on 27 February 2010, Art Souterrain is the biggest 15 day underground exhibition of contemporary art ever seen in Montreal, bringing together a huge diversity of artists for a production spanning the 3.5 km of underground tunnels from Complexes les Ailes to Complexe Guy Favreau.

This EN MASSE creation/performance event will take form in the tunnel level of Eaton Center, live during the Nuit-Blanche, anticipating the participation of 30+ artists working on a string of canvases spanning 150ft long, by 3ft high

The completed works will then be mounted high above the walkway on the overhead bulkheads until the 13th of March, 2010, remaining highly visible throughout the commercial center.

As well, we’ve received permission to pre-install an enormous 30 panel (3’x5′ each) series of drawings on paper, into light-boxes wrapping round a central spiraling staircase, a key installation which will remain in the space indefinitely.

Be sure to add En Masse to your Nuit Blanche itinerary (see next post for details). Also check out Jason’s website to see some gorgeous drawings (in particular the Erased Faces series)

Review: The Dirty Laundry show (Oksana Kemarskaya)

December 13, 2009

Nov. 27, 2009 – I dropped in early at the Red Bird Gallery to see this one-night-only show before the masses descended to pilfer and peek at Oskana Kemarskaya‘s vast portfolio of sketches and process work from her past 5 years as a commercial illustrator.

Set up as though a gust of wind had forced open her portfolio (stuck to the wall) and send papers blowing all over the gallery walls and floor, the work ranged from unfinished pencil sketches to gorgeous fully developed pen & ink work, with all the white out and behind the scenes scratch marks that are never seen in polished final pieces.

According to organizers it was a show for artists, in particular illustrators. Sneaking a peek into one another’s sketchbooks and portfolios is a great way to analyse technique, and learn new tricks. While it was obvious that a lot of the work was intended for commercial purposes (animation, children’s books, etc), Oskana’s talent and unique sense of style shone through in each piece.

At the end of the night attendees were invited to take what they wished, and the rest was burned. See and read more about the show here.


Music to Draw to II.

March 7, 2009

If you checked out the first Music to Draw to last Monday you probably still have chill music in your ears, the smell of fresh baked cookies in your noses, and ink on your fingers. What a lovely evening. Didn’t make it? You’re in luck – it’s happening again this Monday and the next one too.

Do show up early, because it was this full at 7:30p.m. (photo by Ryhna Thompson)