Thompson Landry Gallery is thrilled to present Feathers & Rust, an exhibition that features the incredible new works of Yoakim Bélanger, Yann Normand, and Bénédicte Parmentier, running from October 18th – November 4th in the Cooperage Gallery Space. This exhibition will highlight the work of three leading Québec artists who all explore humanity`s relationship to the natural environment through concept, medium and execution. Examining the opposing forces of fragility and strength, Feathers & Rust will challenge viewers to consider the crucial balance that is necessary to create harmony within the planet and within ourselves as inhabitants.
Yoakim Bélanger ‘s work can be characterised by its combination of a vibrant graffiti aesthetic with the crisp precision indicative of photography. The organic forms of his figures and faces collide with the manufactured surfaces of oxidized steel and aluminum. Instead of trying to disguise the rust with paint, Bélanger aims to emphasize it, allowing the rust to change with time. Aging and evolving much like the human face and body, Bélanger incorporates rust as a metaphor for artistic resurrection.
Submitting his metal panels of steel to the extreme winter weather conditions in Québec, Bélanger leaves his works outside for several weeks before he can begin the creative process. Lacerating the panels to crack and fragment the surface, he allows the underlying layers to breathe and come alive. Once this process is complete, Bélanger begins to incorporate his figurative and abstract elements, using new methods such as screen-printing to achieve the unique aesthetic associated with his work.
Bélanger is inspired by the critical state of our planet and the fragility of the human body and soul. The dichotomy between the delicacy of his human forms and the strength and enduring legacy of the medium he paints with add to the narrative of Feather & Rust, challenging us to consider how these opposing forces are interdependent.
Yann Normand is a sculpture artist who aims to achieve coherence between substance and form mostly through the medium of steel. His work demonstrates a sincere relationship between the artist and his environment; for Feathers & Rust, Normand has a desire to evoke an inevitable return to a natural state of the elements in his work, as well as a desire to transcend the material world. This body of artwork is about the human capacity to rise and rebuild, and above all, to refuse the alienating immobilism that breaks the wings of creation.
After having worked ten years in an artistic partnership, Normand has been creating on his own since 2010. For Normand, the conception of the work begins with an idea, however, he does not allow the idea to overtake and disturb the creative process. The intricate welding of hundreds of pieces of steel, or application of hundreds of feathers, turns fragments into forms emerging straight from Normand’s imagination, creating a physical universe that is impervious to disruptive elements. It is through this process that energy and movement become tangible elements in his art.
Bénédicte Parmentier is inspired by mankind, their histories, and their inherent loneliness. Her body of work for Feathers & Rust explores antinomic themes presented under a playful guise, including durability versus evanescence, as well as the delicacy of the subject matter juxtaposed with the harshness of materials.
Born in Picardy France, a land marked by historical battles and multiple invasions during the First World War, this environment has both guided and nourished her approach. Carrying out the memories of this place by providing voices to the lost souls of its troubled history, Parmentier aims to preserve their narratives. Like fragments of light, she captures these moments in history; these ephemeral moments, sometimes splattered with splashes of color, are transmitted to us as reliquaries that cross time and generation.
Exploring various imagery through her work, the animal presence remains a pretext for Parmentier, revealing the omnipresent themes of Womanhood and Childhood. “Time gradually transforms this sensuality and innocence like the metal that oxidizes over the aggression of time”. The hands present in many of her sculptures evoke the extension of creation, from the mental conception to the act of creation itself, those hands that caress and oppress, the ultimate symbols of the feminine condition.
Life is made up of challenging moments that juxtapose with moments of delicate bliss. In Feathers & Rust, Yoakim Bélanger, Yann Normand and Bénédicte Parmentier all play off this constant balancing act of strength and fragility, and more specifically, how the tension between these forces create beautiful and complicated results. Feathers & Rust is a deep dive into the evolutionary and ever-present dichotomy of oppositions and how both are always equally important.