The Joliette Museum of Art (MAJ) is a highly recommended destination for art lovers this fall. Six exhibitions meet our expectations of diversity and content. Two spaces dedicated to Aboriginal art and a fitting tribute to Rita Letendre, with an interesting placement on abstraction in Quebec before the emergence of the Automatists, designed by art historian Esther Trepanier.
It took Esther Trepanier three years to undertake the major curatorial task of a little-known page in the history of abstraction in Quebec. The former professor and former director-general of the Musée National des Beaux-arts du Québec (2008-2011) wanted to celebrate four Montreal artists of the 1940s who had been forgotten since their emergence in 1948, 1948 explosion does not mean automation. .
Fritz Brandtner (1896-1969), Marian Dale Scott (1906-1993), Henry Rowland Eveleigh (1909-1999), and Gordon Webber (1909-1965) were avant-garde modernists. Borduas and his followers. “As he said [l’historien de l’art] François-Marc Gagnon, the avant-garde does not unite, it divides,” says Esther Trepanier.
The idea for the exhibition arose after the purchase of the painting by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA) in 2015. Interpretation of war, painted by Eveleigh in 1942 and related to the Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945). A cubist and surrealist montage of a bombing scene with references to Guernica.
“I understand that Brandtner, Scott, Webber and Eveleigh regularly exhibited at the MMFA, in Toronto and elsewhere in the 1940s,” he said.I Trepanier. Thanks to the articles of art critics, we see that they considered themselves as abstract artists, able to draw inspiration from abstraction, gesture, geometry or reality. »
The historian researched these artists and eventually wrote a 270-page book Scott, Brandtner, Eveleigh, Webber: Revisiting 1940s Montreal Abstraction. The exhibition is divided into four rooms, with a decreasing content of works from private collections, works from the main museums of Quebec and Canada.
The exhibition includes the war posters these humanist, anti-fascist artists produced for Ottawa at the start of World War II, constantly questioning the social role of art. It’s fascinating to follow their careers on this brilliant journey, which Esther Trepanier takes on with great energy despite her health problems. It is an exhibition, work and major research to understand the history of abstraction in Quebec. Hats off, lady Trepanier!
The exhibition is accompanied by the independent hanging of five works from the museum’s collection. modern women. Five oils produced between 1937 and 1963 by Montreal artists Irène Senecal, Lilias Torrance Newton, Agnès Lefort, Ghitta Caiserman and Rita Briansky.
In the front room of the museum, wall paintings created by children from plasticine were created. Mirvatisivin is signed by Marie-Claude Néquado, an Atikamekw artist from Manawan who replaces artist Eruoma Awashishi. Jean-François Bélisle, general manager of MAJ, says: “This wall now belongs to the Lanaudière Center for Native Friendship. The wall will change every two years. The new artist will be chosen by the previous ones. »
Mirvatisivin dedicated to the healing process. Two women dressed in traditional clothes, with symbols of dream catcher and medicinal plants. The room is always lit so that the wall is always visible from the outside. The Musée d’art de Joliette strengthened its ties with the local aboriginal community after Joyce Echaqua’s death.
One of the museum’s large halls is dedicated to another Aboriginal artist, Faye HeaveyShield, a member of the Blackfoot Confederacy and Kanai (Kan) First Nation in Alberta. This first museum solo work of the 69-year-old Quebec artist is written in a contemplative atmosphere. We approach photography with reverence for elders and allusions to the past of pain. A large portrait of Fay HeavyShield’s grandmother, along with photos of her two daughters and granddaughter (in similar outfits). A photo of her and her mother is missing, two generations living through the horrors of residential schools that break the emotional bond of marriage.
Rita Letendre, who died on November 20, 2021, is also being honored posthumously. Nearly two dozen works by Canadian Abenaki artists, paintings from the 1950s to the 2000s and Koohiaakhe exhibited the only tapestry he made (with the Grimal workshop in 1976).
A place has been reserved for the works of the artists of the Les impatients organization, who come to the museum two days a week to create. An oil by Mexican artist Antonio de Torres y Lorenzana (1666-1731) is installed in the museum’s Hall of Sacred Art. Good Shepherd, bought in 2012, then restored. Jean-Francois Belisle says: “The very rare piece had a large tear and was completely black. Now we see many details. Canvas has been the theme of the symposium ever since. Finally, the museum added a small installation to one of its picture rails Hug me, by Michel de Broin. Then the heating thread that glows and invites us to accept these works brought together in MAJ and gives us an extra spirit goes out.