When Andrea LeTourneau was speaking about her work (a recent installation of two dimensional works at Mahtay Cafe in downtown St. Catharines), she cited the influence of Les Automatistes, whom are arguably the most significant group of painters in Canadian Art history. Individuals like Riopelle and Borduas garnered international attention, and in some ways broke ground and shifted the conversation about art in Canada in a manner more expansive than Thomson, or that overrated dilettante, Harris. But I mention that group here, expanding LeTourneau’s talk, because of one of their members who is getting a bit more attention lately, which is long overdue, is Françoise Sullivan. Sullivan’s practice was interdisciplinary, and often incorporated – or relied upon, in its creation – gesture and movement, and in some ways mirrored the active and ‘living’ strokes of her contemporaries in that movement, like the aformentioned two painters, or Marcel Barbeau (a personal favourite). Years ago, when a survey of this group toured the country, at the Mendel Art Gallery in Saskatoon a local dance troupe performed in the gallery space, incorporating some of Sullivan’s choreography, but building upon it for a new performance, in and among the wall works.
There is a theme – or an undercurrent, if you will – of transparency in some of the works LeTourneau had on display at Mahtay, but this is also a factor in a one night only event that happens in Niagara Falls: but before we get to that, her website offers a selection of past works worth your perusal.
Her words: ‘In April 2018, I executed an art show titled DEPICTION where I chose 20 local musicians songs; I had the length of the song to create the pieces (2-3 minutes) [and] the creations were inspired by various styles of music. Each piece was video taped and at the show the audience got to plug-in and watch the creation unfold from start to finish while listening…This show was hosted at QUBE in Niagara Falls, ON and had around 60 attendees.’ Excerpts from that event can be seen at LeTourneau’s site (on this page), and she lists the performers along with the paintings (this is reminiscent of some of Sheldon Rooney’s works, offering ‘alternate’ – or personal, if you will – album covers for different artists, and reflects a personal interpretation of the music that also can resonate with the viewer, as with Don’t Lock The Door or Cringe).
Further past projects where LeTourneau doesn’t so much act alone as in unison, or engaging through the presentation, with others: ‘In September 2018, I executed an art show titled TRANSPARENCY where all the pieces appeared to be floating, suspended from the ceiling and were either completely or somewhat transparent. You can see several of these works here, and one of these was also at the Mahtay exhibition. There’s a freneticism to these works, and you can see them as almost a result or a remnant of an ‘act’, or a recording of a moment of creation, like a ‘proof’ of a painted action. Several pieces, like Confused Texture or Red Ponds (which combine silkscreen with acrylic) or Rip In Time, are as much atmospheric as action. One of these was on display at Mahtay, in the aforementioned show, and this piece – Night and Day – mixed textures that were more painterly, inviting the viewer to touch them, almost, and a stretched, translucent surface that belied the rough metallic ‘staples’ that divided the work.
LeTourneau’s bio alludes to this multidisciplinary, collaborative approach: ‘trained at York University (Toronto) and received a Bachelor of Fine Arts and a Minor in French. LeTourneau is an emerging artist exploring the concept of recording personal emotions. Her work is inspired by the Automatiste Group by underlining and exploring the concept of spontaneity, unconscious and impulsive expression. LeTourneau’s works incorporate a variety of colour palettes and experiments with various mediums to create non-predetermined compositional and gestural paintings.‘
This brings us to SHIFT: ‘The goal of this project is to showcase to the community of Niagara Falls the integration of art forms: visual art, photography and dance; to showcase talent, determination and creativity. This show will be a zoom-in lens on how LeTourneau Art appropriates the movements of dance she captures on the camera to the canvas. Partnered with Wendy Leard School of Dance.
[It’s] Free admission [and a] Licensed Event. Silent Auction ends at 9pm.’ This takes place on September 26th, 2019, and the social media event can be found here.
More: ‘This show will be a zoom-in lens on how LeTourneau’s Art appropriates the movements of dance she captures on the camera to the see through canvas.’ This is a one night only event (LeTourneau commented, in conversation, that she ‘stages’ these collaborative, multi-community ‘performances’ at intervals of a year, or slightly less, as the multiplicity of participants she ‘facilitates’ requires preparation and consideration) is worth checking out: oftentimes performative works are unique, and never the same ‘event’ or ‘action’ again, so SHIFT will be a distinctive and likely unrepeatable experience.
The Facebook page for this event can be found here, and you can watch a teaser video for SHIFT at that site, as well (the two dancer images above are stills from that). More of Andrea LeTourneau’s multidisciplinary art works can be seen at her site, here.
Bart Gazzola (also known as #artcriticfromhell) is an arts writer/critic who has published with Magenta Magazine, Canadian Art, New Art Gazette, Galleries West, PrairieSeen, Long Exposure and BlackFlash (where he was Editorial Chair for 3 years). He is Assistant Editor at thesound.rocks and a frequent contributor to various cultural spaces in Niagara.