title : letters home/lettre à ma mère
year : 2013/14
material : ink on paper
paper size : 56 x 76 cm.

(click on images to enlarge)

_MG_9829Photo Guy L'Heureux

_MG_9832Photo Guy L'Heureux

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blackcrop  close-up of the hand painted text. click on image to enlarge.

photos: guy l’heureux
letter’s home
For many years my attention has been directed outwards, towards those who live their lives with no roof over their head, with no door to close, with no home. In doing so I was physically locating myself amongst an externalized version of my own experience of flight, of exile, of escapism. And although within these works, “dream listener” (2006/2007), “i dreamt i ran away from home” (2008), “transient traces’” (2008/2012), my private experience informed my public presence I did not seek to speak to, or from, the very place where my own homelessness resides.

However, after completing the recent “sittin’” project (2012/2013) at Cabot Square it became clear to me I could no longer avoid speaking to and from my own relationship with homelessness. Now is the time to go inside. To locate and listen to my own experience so I can in turn ground myself within the often difficult context I have chosen to explore. And so, the project “letters home” is the response to where I now find myself vis-a-vis my own trajectory of exploring home and what it means.

The word “home” in english in an extremely loaded and encompassing word used to evoke all manners of emotional attachments. It can mean house, it can mean your country, it can mean where you place your loyalties, your familial connections, your love. The word “letters” in the title refers to letters sent from one location to another. The project “letters home” implies distance, or separation, the act of reaching towards (however futile) a past to bridge separation and distance. This speaking to another implies a kind of symbiosis, as the word “home” implies a connection, a placing of oneself amongst others.

Since 2006 my work has employed language – text written or words spoken. I have used many strategies: cardboard signs held in the street, letters posted to strangers, adds in newspapers, posts on blogs. Text as a “ready-made” or text appropriated from other sources is a recurring strategy found in my practice – the text lifted from the “homeless nation” website for the project “transient traces” (2008/2012) is one key example. The difference in “letters home” is the eclectic range of texts chosen – here all sources – from facebook posts, to popular songs, to shopping lists found on the ground, are mashed up and intermingled with my own words. All text performs a “speaking to home” from the position of the one who has chosen to flee the home, the one who has chosen to live at a distance.

The production of “letters home” follows the lead established in the “hey! mike” project of 2012/2013. Ink and paper are traditionally the materials used to write letters (before the days of internet) and as such I have remained loyal to tradition –ink on paper. This handmade method of making language visible slows down the production of the text, as it slows down the reading of the text. In this way the laboured time-intensive reception of the text reflects the labour of the work. There is a visual beauty in the spaces left blank which flips the work between a graphic image and a text to be deciphered.

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title: inked dreams (english, spanish and french text)

year: 2012

material: ink on paper

paper size: 56 x 76 cm.

 

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title: hendrickje (varied edition lino-cut)

year: 2012

material: paint on paper

image size: 15 x 41 cm.

photos: guy l’heureux

i have started a series of lino-cuts based upon the ever growing pile of orange peels in my studio. this is one of those lino-cuts.

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title: inked dreams (english and french text)

year: 2012

material: ink on paper

paper size: 56 x 76 cm.

 

 

 photos: guy l’heureux

these dream texts are from the “dream listener” project. here the text is painted on paper using ink to fill in the negative space within the grid.

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title: (recent work)

year: 2010

material: ink on paper

photos: guy l’heureux

i began making ink drawings based upon the orange peels i had been collecting over the year. as the work progressed, and the pile of orange peels grew, a kind of landscape evolved and as i was following the contours of the peels with my hand tracing the line with the pen and ink over paper, i had the sensation of traveling over space, never knowing where the line would take me. to me, it felt like flaneuring, this wandering line, this trace of a passage through a strangely twisting and curling land of peels.

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title: what happens when nothing happens

year: 2009

material: inkjet print on paper

location: galleri rotor 1, göteborg, sweden and fofa gallery, montréal, québec

curated by: véronique malo and emily mennerdahl, independant study group

what happens when nothing happens is an exhibition of works by canadian and swedish artists developed by concordia graduates véronique malo and emily mennerdahl(independant study group) while in residency in valand, sweden.

the exhibition presents a selection of artists’ works that reveal what happens before, during or after projects: unedited and unrealised ideas, sketches, texts, sounds, scribbles, drawings, trials and failures —pendant explorations, transitory ideas and ephemeral works that together form the creative process.

the artists included in the exhibition are:
chantal durand, anna jane mcintyre, tamara henderson and jon knowles, jacinthe lessard, sean montgomery and eric simon, diane morin, taien ng-chan, lina persson, meghan price, jerry ropson, karen elaine spencer and christin wahlström.

below are four sketches (out of twelve) which were included in the exhibition:

never happened baguette a72

never happened baguette b72never happened baguette c72never happened baguette d72

title: never happened : baguette

–i had an idea for a performance where either i, or employees hired by me, would give out baguettes that would somehow refer to the homeless population in paris while referencing the storming of the bastille ( i was in paris at the time)… i was thinking about hiring the homeless men who slept below my window …never happened.

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title: paris ink

year: 2005

material: ink on paper

location: paris, france

supported by: conseil des arts et des lettres du québec

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photos: guy l’heureux

in 2005 i was in paris for six months. i had been awarded a residency by the conseil des arts et des lettres du québec. the project i proposed to undertake was around the idea of the flaneur, (i.e., the wanderer.) the idea was to situate my practice of wandering and metro riding within the historical lineage of the paris flaneur, a.k.a. baudelaire et al.

however…

instead of wandering i withdrew to the studio and did pen and ink drawings of dead flowers and angst-ridden figures. (i did manage to fit a respectful amount of wandering in to document traces of homelessness as well…but that is another story.)

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title: river walker

year: 2004/2005

location: verdun, québec

riv04aa.jpgriv04b.jpgriv2404.jpgriv1404.jpgriv1504.jpgriv2004.jpgriv1604.jpgriv1804.jpgriv1704.jpgriv4204.jpg
in the winter of 2004/2005 i lived in verdun, québec. close to the saint laurent river. every day i would walk down to the river and trudge through snow drifts to get to the path along its shore. everything was white with snow. the river was frozen. dried stalks and twigs and branches from last years growth poked through the snow–they were like beautiful line drawings, black against white. the river, the whiteness and the fragility of these delicate remnants became charged for me. i started to carry a pen and little squares of paper in my coat pocket. during my walk i would stop and crouch, take off my mittens, retrieve my pen and paper and draw. these are some of the small drawings… i called the series river walker.

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