a mid-summer note

I have been thinking of people I have not seen in what feels like a long while. Since I do not maintain a social media presence, this blog is my forum. The August 6th post is begun on the 75th anniversary of the atom bombing of Hiroshima. On August 11, the mayor of Nagasaki called for a worldwide ban on nuclear weapons. “… Same as with the novel coronavirus, which we did not fear until it began spreading among our immediate surroundings, if humanity is not aware of the threat of nuclear weapons until they are used again, we will find ourselves in an irrevocable predicament.”

The Dooms Day Clock is at 100 seconds to midnight.


While Ensemble Nomad.e takes a short break, I am getting out into nature’s biodiversity most mornings. My hiking experiences are very different from drawing on site. When I sit to draw, the immediate environment gets folded into me producing a subjectivity through the experience. The same things happen when moving through a space, but an embodied recognition of this vital connection does not register the same way.

In response to the constraints of the pandemic, I am grounded through walks and hikes in nature. The dry spring and eventual summer showers have produced a myriad of wildflowers to enchant. One favorite walking trails is only a kilometer of wooded area, so going around more than once becomes very satisfying. The first tour around fills certain senses. For me it is always the light and what the sunspots reveal and hide that draws my attention. Looking up through the tall tree branches to where the sky fills the space is another. Each tour is a different walk. Subsequent tours reveal details closer to the path. Small grasses and flowers, mushrooms and fungi, moving green and brown areas where creatures are scurrying to avoid the lumbering figure coming along the path. Odours change with the time of day, as with the seasons. Smells give substance to the moment of being there. Always, the sightings and songs of the birds fill me with wonder and joy. Life’s riches lie in process-based outcomes.

Follow brontë velez speaking about bio regions on Instagram : @littlenows


Here are the poignant thoughts of Syrus Marcus Ware writing on BLM and the disability movement

Here are two of my works and


two works considering our collective precarity.


I was born in the United States of settler and indigenous ancestors at the dawn of the cold war. My parents engaged in ban-the-bomb and social justice issues. During the McCarthy Era, they fought against bigotry and poverty. These early influences shaped my view of the world. I understood early in life that what we do to others is what we do to ourselves. In my youth I was deeply affected by the civil rights movement for equal justice and, later, by feminist expressions of equal pay for equal work. I freely shared my views in the heady days of the 1960s. The present day uprisings – from the Occupy Movement to Black Lives Matter – are not only just, they are necessary for the future of the planet. The intersection of poverty, racism and colonialism with the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic is unmistakable. Earth is burning.

Elaine Scarry wrote an extensive article on the 75th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientist.





Lac Leamy

June 2020

Ensemble Nomad.e has had the luxury of five consecutive days at Lac Leamy with sunny warm weather and the time to settle into a new season of residencies among the constraints of physical distancing. While drawing and listening to the birds, we have had great conversations around this confluence of multi-layered crises. Nature’s unbalance is present at the later part of the week as high levels of ozone are activated by the sun and high temperatures. Watching the state-sanctioned violence suffered by Black and Indigenous peoples and listening to their stories has helped us lean into and focus the direction of some new artwork for public spaces. As Ensemble Nomad.e attempts to heal the wound of our separation from nature, we recognize with dignity, respect and care our place on the Earth.

Here are some of the drawings completed on site.



Preparing for the coming season
of drawing residencies in the confines of COVID-19
and the second-stage re-opening of Lac Leamy

May 14, 2020

The past week has been cold with ground frost overnight and warming at the end of the days. This morning is mostly sunny with a cool breeze coming across the lake. The sun is hot and feels good on the other side of my spring hat. I stretch my legs breathing in the fresh smells on the clear air.

The restriction against entering local parks has been eased. This morning I walked at Lac Leamy to celebrate the anniversary of last year’s cresting flood waters. This year the park feels very different. Few people and so many fences indicate we are not invited to sit down. We are expected to keep moving – I move slowly in close listening. The birds are plentiful with clear joyous calls. I am surprised by the number of cardinals but mostly by the beauty of a female perched on a low sunny branch with many subtle colours on her proud breast.

In 2019, when the rivers began to recede, we breathed a collective sigh of relief. This year the soil is dry and I am preoccupied by thoughts of a summer at two meters distance from everyone else. Ensemble Nomad.e is considering how to handle the coming season.

Pandemic lockdown meant that we had nowhere to go and the ensuing quiet was something I thought I would never experience in my lifetime. What I will remember about the spring 2020 is the feeling of the cool breeze on my face, the presence of so many birds and hearing their songs, the smell of rain on tender spring grasses and witnessing the wild rabbits turning from white to brown as winter melted into spring.


We are in a new year beginning a new decade

After a summer of drawing outside among the plants and trees of nature’s biodiversity, I am back in my studio full time. Returning requires questioning my creative objectives and how I might get there.





Tamworth / Mellon Lake / Quinte Conservation, Ontario

November 2019

Ensemble Nomad.e extended our 2019 residency season with a three-day visit to Tamworth Ontario. We experience the biodiversity of the region enriched through meaningful exchanges with friends and many smart and engaged people. Tamworth is in the Land’ O Lakes region famous for its 5,000 freshwater lakes. We are fortunate to have Jake Baer guide a mid-morning paddle on Mellon Lake. It is necessary to break ice for a stretch before hitting open water. With the cold overnight temperature, the ice is thick making it difficult for the canoe to pass. Jake’s sense of humour and deep love of paddling provides a perfect note.


The following day our hosts, Carolyn Butts and Hans Honegger, lead us on a backcountry hike. Leaving the limestone soil of Tamworth, in less than 20 kilometers we are greeted by the granite cliffs of the Canadian Shield. Hans points out the directional ridges of the granite cliffs with their glacially scraped off surfaces. Survival is difficult for plants and trees which are mainly White Pines, Junipers and varieties of oaks. This pristine area offers great hiking trails where you can see the universe on a clear night. The serendipitous occurs. While walking we meet Tim Yearington, a friend of Hans. He shares his indigenous knowledge and tales as we walk the trail. We feel fortunate to have this encounter.

I agree with Hans, life is about bringing yourself to something. It is about engaging in a deep way with others and with the life forces found in nature. Trying to put language to my experiences, I find myself in another exercise of translation as with my residency drawings. Being on site is the real thing.




Ensemble Nomade : self-directed, nomadic residencies

Instagram: @ensemble.nomad.e



Gatineau Park

October 2019

All five locations where Ensemble Nomad.e set up for their 2019 residencies have shown evidence of shoreline erosion. Following the high-water levels in the spring, we witnessed the traces left by the slowly subsiding flood waters. Perhaps soil loss is not unusual but witnessing the changes crystalized for me that shoreline plants, rhizomes and trees hold earth and water together.

Ensemble Nomad.e experienced four glorious days in Gatineau Park soaking up the warm autumn sun in tranquil drawing time. Set up on the shore of a small clear lake under a tall pine tree, the ground is soft with fallen needles interrupted only by the grey lines of exposed tree roots. The air crisp and tinged with autumn scents remains nippy and damp even when the passing raindrops give way to sun. We each bundle under many layers of coats and blankets in thick wool socks. It makes manipulating a watercolour brush cumbersome.

How to visually describe “good”? The sun is low in the sky. I will not find any exposed rhizome roots here as with the ever-flowing river waters. It is windy today and the top of the lake moves in ripples with the wind. I see the rhizome grasses on the bank in front of me. I take photos. The camera is a mediation of nature, but it helps me see things close up – or is it the play of the changing light that reveals tiny snails?

In the quiet of the park this week I want to observe how nature preserves the soil. While erosion is known to be a problem for land banks, witnessing where trees and plant life hold specific juts of land to the shore is an enthralling experience. I continue to explore how I might represent the healing ability of mycelial networks.

My quest is without romance. I am not a scientist, but I am behind the science. As an artist with an unsentimental approach I must find a way to translate my experiences in biodiversity into visual forms that express connections. Connection is where the magic lies – not in nature nor in me. I search for the magic that happens when I create something that connects with others. All living things seek harmony – a brief equilibrium in the flows of change – in the constant changes of nature and in the ever-changing societies we humans create.

Here is a “rhizoming” shoreline depicting soft soil on one side, gentle waters on the other side of undulating lines.  How to express connections? Our society is undergoing a subtle transformation of knowledge and a dissipating distinction between evidence and intuition. Acknowledging how humans are integral in nature might prompt reflection beyond a belief that technology can save us from ourselves.

The clouds part and the trees glow without help from the sun!

At the close of our summer residencies it occurs to me that I have experienced a special relationship to the biodiversity of our region. Looking back to my drawings from October I see the calm that I was feeling sitting by the lake all bundled in layers of warm clothing. When I look at the photographs taken on site, I see the colourful stimulus of the changing season. Visually it seems difficult to reconcile the two, but they go together somehow…so, post-residency I continue to be inspired from my time at the lake.



Strathcona Park  [Adàwe crossing]

September 2019

Ensemble Nomad.e planned five days in Ottawa’s Strathcona Park for our September residency. This is a very urban and public place. We set up near the wall that divides the park from the water. I spend much of my time on the opposite shore among the plants at the water’s edge.

I find the ubiquitous tire.

This residency could be called Adàwe crossing, as I pass from shore to shore via the modern footbridge. The bridge is the most important element in this people place and figures deeply into each day of the residency as I seek relief from the cultured sameness of the park.

These rhizomes represent what I am seeking. They are visually intreguing and vitally connect the water of this ancient seabed with land through cohabitation and mutual dependence.

I make an abstract picture of the opposite shoreline.


Britannia Conservation Area

August 2019

Beginning our residency at Ottawa’s Britannia Conservation Area, we use the first of five days to orient our senses. We breath the air warmed by the morning sun – a perfect day! Mostly I listen to the birds and insects while photographing mushrooms, talking with Emily and walking the parameter of Mud Lake.

The narrowness of the paths and a plethora of poison ivy send us to the other side of the road to explore the Southern shoreline of the Ottawa River. The Algonquin people named this majestic tributary flowing into the Saint Lawrence River, Kitchissippi (Great River) and French speakers call it, la rivière des Outaouais. As we set up to work, we discover mixtures of water and rocks, trees and grasses, waterfowl and sparrows, spiders and dragonflies of many colours and sizes.

Day 2
Deciduous trees descend from the ridge and join scraggy brush and willows on the riverbank. I explore the shoreline further. I am listening to the roaring rapids while exploring the manufactured things deposited here. Ensemble Nomad.e has an advantage to be here while the river is low – we walk on the ancient shale stone.

Day 3
Les rapides Deschênes provide a constant roar broken only by bird calls or people in the area. No dense tree foliage or mossy softness guide my senses. Themes in my residency work come through connecting with and interpreting each site. My senses are alive, and I must locate the natural connections to be found in the diversity around me.

Textures and marks left by the action of the water on the soft stone combine with the dense hairy roots of the willow tree to create the small near shore islands where we work.

Day 4
This place is about the river: the water, stones and inhabitants that live above and among the ancient stones that form the river’s bed. I see remnants from elsewhere deposited haphazardly – uprooted trees, piles of logs and a feeling like the one left from the spring flooding at Lac Leamy with its grey film over the shoreline. Maybe it is the time of year but there are not many birds in this sanctuary – life has been redirected.

 Day 5
Today I made a rubbing of the memorial plaque to a boy who drowned when walking with friends in the river. I create a transfer of the words when I realize that part of the year this area must be under water.

Most of the tenacious grasses and plants near the shoreline are rhizomes. I pull out a dark green rhizome drawing I worked up in my studio last year. My intention is to make it part of this place by adding colours I find in the water’s changing surface.


Today the air is fresh and cool. I take a deep breath and smell the same fish as the great blue heron on the far shore.


Parc du Lac Beauchamp quarry

July 2019

Four days in residency at Lac Beauchamp offered us sun and dry weather. Temperatures climbed each day until we had humidex figures reaching 40 degrees on Thursday. While working the canopy of trees cooled us so completely that only when we emerged from the forest onto the asphalt were we aware of the scorching temperatures. We abandoned our haven for our cars.


For our July residency we consider the banks of Lac Beauchamp but decide on the wooded area around the mica quarry. What a great place! I find a spot surrounded by varieties of moss and lichen among the Ironwood trees. Sun spots dance and birds sing. As I am settling in, close observation and precise drawing take over my creative activity when I find an interesting tree scar.

Days 2 and 3, I am happy to return to the same location and feel connected to the glorious biodiversity surrounding me.

On the last day, I take out my sketchbook to finish a pencil drawing of a granite rock.

Some interesting results are coming from working over old ink-jet prints. The idea is to change the meaning inherent in the printed image. Each day has produced something different.

I am walking among the native sugar maples and pick up a tree flower. Returning to my place, I preserve my find under plastic mending tape and enclose it with a drawn house-like geometric form.

Speaking of flowers, I go looking for mushrooms. They are the flowers that visualize the mycelium network beneath the soil’s surface.







Présente / Presents

La voix des archives

Commissarié par Karina Arbelaez Saenz
Exposition : du 5 juillet au 26 juillet 2019
Vernissage : le 5 juillet de 17h à 19h

Dans le cadre du programme DémART-Mtl, la Centrale galerie Powerhouse présente La voix des archives, une exposition commissariée par Karina Arbelaez Saenz, où l’installation, le son et la vidéo mettent en lumière la mémoire de la galerie en témoigant du travail d’artistes féminines et non binaires sous-représentées. Après une étude minutieuse des archives, des observations personnelles et des expérimentations à La Centrale, Arbelaez Saenz entame un dialogue qui parcourt différents moments historiques du centre.

Mon travail est présenté dans le contexte d’une exposition à la Galerie La Centrale à Montréal. Je serai à la galerie pour une visite guidée par la commissaire le mercredi 10 juillet à 15 heures.

detail of Sustain, 1988

As part of the DémART-Mtl program, la Centrale galerie Powerhouse presents Voices of the Archives, curated by Karina Arbelaez Saenz. In this exhibition, sound and video bear witness to the work of underrepresented female and non-binary artists. After a careful study of the gallery’s archives, personal observations and experiments at La Centrale, Arbelaez Saenz instigates a discussion about different historical moments at the center.

My work is being shown as part of an exhibition at Galerie La Centrale in Montréal. I will be in the gallery on Wednesday, July 10 at 3 pm. for the curator’s tour.


Lac Leamy revisited

June 2019

It is a new season of nomadic residencies and we begin with a visit to Lac Leamy. Is the uneasiness in the air or is it in me? The record flooding in the Outaouais strikes a discordant note to the tender green shoots on the trees and grasses where the water has receded. The month of May was filled with dread as the waters from the Gatineau and Ottawa rivers kept rising. I went several times to visit Lac Leamy where the Gatineau river flooded the parking lot at the end of rue Atawe to about chin level on the far sidewalk.

Ensemble Nomad.e wants to see and hear changes brought with the flooding. This morning is cold and wet, we arrive around 9:00. The water is receding more rapidly now. Standing in drizzle without shelter we can not draw. Donning our rubber boots and rain gear, we begin to investigate how far we can walk around the lake, not far… the ground is spongy with mud and silt. It is slippery and the smell left behind by the receding water is foul. Goose shit is everywhere with occasional piles of other crap. Logs are out of place and the ribbons of leaves and small twigs leave evidence of how high the water reached in early May. There are no other humans but we see many herons, geese and ducks.

By the end of the week the humans are back with all types of activities; including sun bathing and picnicking over plastic covered tables. The herons are gone. This urban lake is at a crossroads of massive human and aquatic activity. The remaining traces from the flood are both beautiful and intense. We laugh and cry, feel the calm growth of spring green and witness the surreal mud-soaked picnic table tops that served as our base last September.


Ensemble Nomad.e               

gail bourgeois . emily rose michaud

Ensemble Nomad.e, a multi-year project, makes visual works that emerge from the distinction of place near a body of water. Working seasonally over the next five years, Ensemble Nomad.e will continue moving from place to place within a local bioregion listening to and learning from both the natural world and human activity. Through a feminist lens our work shifts personal grief into political agency.

To face creatively — with courage — the social climate and ecological crisis of our current moment.
– To consider our creative practice in relation to the whole of a bioregion.
– To make art work that emerges from our wanderings.
– To practice speaking and acting — with no anticipated outcome — on matters of common concern.
– To embody knowledge based on translation of self and other, including body/land/memory.
– To inform our project by slowing down, thinking relationally and by inviting diverse collaborators i.e., scientists, architects, activists, curators, artists.

Ensemble Nomad.e on Instagram: @ensemble.nomad.e


Ensemble Nomad.e

I am fifty percent of the newly named collective Ensemble Nomad.e. My colleague is the artist Emily Rose Michaud. In 2019, we will continue our practice of self-directed nomadic residencies to weave an affective bundle of connective experiences. Being in nature to make art pieces that respond to the distinction of place wraps all the pleasures of being in biodiversity with creative time away from ordinary routines.

Although we are in the early stages of our collaboration, our relationship to the bio-regions, territories and watersheds where our residencies take place grows deeper with each encounter. Nourished by our curiosity, we are dedicated to the pleasure of noticing the multispecies worlds around us and to connecting with them in meaningful ways.

Last year we began a multi-year project in which we visit new locations from April-October. The sites we choose are always near a body of water where we create drawing-based, site-specific work outdoors for four or more days. In 2018, we undertook a total of four residencies:  PAF, Farrellton, Québec (July 2018); Lac Leamy, Gatineau, Québec (August 2018); Mer-Bleue, Ottawa, Ontario (September 2018); Artscape Gibraltar Point, Toronto Island (December 2018).











Here is a set of works completed on site.



Morse Code Project, 2017-2018

The Morse Code Project is a collaboration between Pira Pirani, a photographer, and myself. Over a period of one year, we worked collaboratively on a digital series of 24 pieces we call the Morse Code Project. We manipulated and layered pinhole, analogue and digital photographs with drawings and media images that circulate as currency about the Cold War period. Each piece has an embedded text in Morse code that titles the work.

Many thanks to the ARTicipate Endowment Fund for its financial support !

Accommodating the details, 2018

The exhibition comprises recent works that bring together several threads of interest pursued through my studio practice since 2010. Some formal approaches connect themes of violence to my interest in an extended drawing practice. By this I mean to create drawing installations that contain small objects, both found and produced. These objects signal parallel concerns that can be found in my drawings. Working with cold war imagery focuses my anxiety about the larger consequences of human violence.

Thinking about systems of control in their real and psychological presence, I draw coverings as disguise and protection of the body. These coverings are one of the threads that weaves among many works in the exhibition and stiches together different materials and means. My process is to express non-linearity with its resulting ruptures and repetitions.


The Morse Code Project, 2018

The Morse Code Project is a collaboration between Gail Bourgeois and Pira Pirani. Over a period of one year, Pira Pirani, a photographer, and I worked collaboratively on a digital series of 24 pieces we call the Morse Code Project. We manipulated and layered pinhole, analogue and digital photographs with drawings and media images that circulate as currency about the Cold War period. Each piece has an embedded text in Morse code that titles the work. These works have been printed in varying sizes and shown in three venues.

Broadsheet available for download here.

The Morse Code Project
Lalande + Doyle Exhibition Space
Shenkman Arts Centre, Orleans, Ontario
January 31 – February 25, 2018

Shown as part of Accommodating the details
Ottawa School of Art Byward Market Gallery, Ottawa, Ontario
February 8 – March 11, 2018

Juried group exhibition, Je m’épanche, donc je suis,
International Digital Miniprint Exhibition 12
Le Centre d’artistes Voix Visuelle, Ottawa, Ontario
November 2 – December 2, 2017

Many thanks to the ARTicipate Endowment Fund for its financial support !


Accommodating the details, 2018


Accommodating the details
Ottawa School of Art Byward Market Gallery
February 8 – March 11, 2018

Photo credit: Justin Wonnacott

Catalogue essay: Sheena Gourlay
English text
Texte en français

Exhibition video

The exhibition comprises recent works that bring together several threads of interest pursued through my practice since 2010. Some of the consistent approaches I engage with are connected to my interest in an extended drawing practice. By this I mean to create drawing installations that contain also small objects, both found and produced. I am challenged by my own insistence in expressing non-linearity as I maintain a process orientation that is full of ruptures and repetitions.

My practice considers systems of control in their real and psychological presence. In the works presented, coverings, both as disguise and protection of the body, are drawn in various ways. Visible or suggested, these coverings are one of the threads that weaves among many works in the exhibition and stiches together different materials and means.



I am delighted to let you know that a video and a catalogue for my exhibition, Accommodating the details, are available on my website. In the video, I talk about my studio process and the intentions I had in exhibiting these pieces. The bilingual exhibition catalogue contains a perceptive essay written by the art historian Sheena Gourlay. You are invited to have a look at the video here; the catalogue is available as a download by clicking the title here.

Catalogue essay by Sheena Gourlay : English text

Je suis fière d’annoncer la mise en ligne d’une vidéo et d’un catalogue faisant suite à l’exposition Accommodating the details, que j’ai présentée plus tôt cette année. Dans la vidéo, je parle de ma démarche et de mes intentions artistiques, tandis que le catalogue (bilingue) présente un essai critique par Sheena Gourlay. Je vous invite à visionner la vidéo et à parcourir le catalogue. Ensuite, si le cœur vous en dit, n’hésitez pas me faire part de vos commentaires.

Essai critique par Sheena Gourlay :  texte en français



A work for Unscripted, a group drawing exhibition curated by Tami Galili at Enriched Bread Artists.


Accommodating the details

Ottawa School of Art / École d’art d’Ottawa

February 8 – March 11, 2018 / 8 février – 11 mars, 2018
Vernissage: Thursday February 8, 5 pm to 8 pm / Jeudi 8 février de 17 h à 20 h

I will be present in the gallery: Thursday February 15, noon to 2:00 pm. It would be lovely to see you!
Je serai présente dans la galerie : Jeudi 15 février de 12 h à 14 h. J’espère vous voir!

Akimbo.ca – here


Morse Code Project

Gail Bourgeois and Giuliano Pirani (Pira)

LaLande + Doyle Exhibition Space / Espace d’exposition LaLande + Doyle
January 31 – February 25, 2018 / Du 31 janvier – 25 février 2018

Meet the Artists: February 11, 2018 from 1:00 to 3:00 pm.
Rencontrez les artistes : Le 11 février 2018 de 13 h à 15 h

Shenkman Arts Centre, 245 Centrum Boulevard, Lower Level
Hours: Daily from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Heures d’ouverture : Du lundi au dimanche de 8 h 30 à 22 h 30.
Information /Renseignements : 613-580-ARTS (2787)

Morse Code broadsheet here / ici 





L’exposition au Voix Visuelle

Je m’épanche, donc je suis
Exposition internationale d’estampe numérique miniature 12

Du 2 novembre au 2 décembre 2017 se déroule l’Exposition internationale d’estampe numérique, 12e édition, au Centre d’artistes Voix Visuelle. Sous le commissariat de Raymond Aubin, l’exposition propose les œuvres de nombreux artistes ayant réfléchi au thème de la mise en scène de soi, sous l’optique du journal Facebook. Pour cette exposition, les artistes proviennent de l’Allemagne, de la Belgique, du Canada, de la France, de la Grèce, de la Hongrie, de l’Inde, du Japon, des Pays-Bas, de la Pologne, de la Slovénie et de l’Ukraine.


CBC review of Stories Nearby

Thanks to Sandra Abma for her review of Stories Nearby on CBC News: Ottawa at 6:00, January 13, 2017. She invited her viewers to “an intriguing and varied show … by two very interesting artists … at Karsh-Masson Gallery”. On CBC radio’s In Town and Out, Sandra gave an additional nod to the exhibition! We had around fifty-five people at the walkthrough on January 15th, the last day of the exhibition.


L’exposition L’Imagier imaginaire

Centre d'expostion L'Imagier

Centre d’expostion L’Imagier

Gatineau 7 janvier – 2017. La vidéo créée par Marcel Jomphe pour l’exposition L’Imagier imaginaire qui a eu lieu à l’été 2016 est maintenant disponible en ligne. Pour cette exposition, le Centre d’exposition L’Imagier a convié une soixantaine d’artistes et auteurs à envahir ses murs. Le thème de l’exposition, L’Imagier imaginaire, fait référence non seulement aux lieux intérieurs et extérieurs imaginés par Yvette et Pierre Debain, les fondateurs de ces espaces de découvertes et de création, mais également à l’imaginaire des créateurs qui fréquentent ces lieux. Céline De Guise en était la commissaire.

Marcel Jomphe a cueilli les traces photographiques du travail de ces créateurs, les rassemblant dans une vidéo qui a été projetée dans les salles du Centre d’exposition du 17 juin au 22 août 2016. Une bande sonore, signée Andrée Préfontaine, accompagne ce court-métrage ainsi que la poésie des auteurs.

Regarder la video ici


Stories Nearby, 2016



My work is concerned with the larger consequences of human violence and how humans organize themselves. The works presented in Stories Nearby express architectural concerns through their direct relationship to the human body and to the construction of lived experience. It is surprising how relentless wars and systematic destruction to the planet escalated throughout the twentieth century. Through my work, I am interested in telling stories, my stories and the stories of others that form individual and collective narratives. My pieces approach an intimacy of scale regardless of their physical size. My drawings and plaster sculptures have refined matte surfaces. I believe this scale and surface allows the viewer the possibility of being absorbed through empathy by the image. The works display vulnerability and strength through the force of the materials used.

Stories Nearby / Récits des alentours, 2016-2017


Stories Nearby (Récits des alentours)
A two-person exhibition of work by Gail Bourgeois and Anna Frlan

Karsh-Masson Gallery
Ottawa, Ontario
December 8, 2016-January 15, 2017

Photo credit: Justin Wonnacott


Excerpt from the essay by Nancy Baele:

The title of Anna Frlan’s and Gail Bourgeois’ exhibition, Stories Nearby, suggests something personal, a tonally quiet counterpoint to sensational headlines and explicitly brutal media images. Both artists have spent many years considering the after shocks of war, and how anxieties, stemming from horrific or threatening events that have been experienced by civilians or military personnel, are passed on to succeeding generations.

Although the human form is never literally portrayed by Frlan or Bourgeois, it is intensely felt through references to objects made or altered by humans. Whether it is Frlan’s War Chest, with its lace-like deadly contents, or Bourgeois’ drawing, The heart’s long offensive reach, with a lethal rod, like a blood line, suspending two rectangular concave shapes, the emotional effect is powerful. There is the same tragic sense found in Betty Goodwin’s work. The Montreal artist (1923-2008) dealt with the human body, often through the memory of the human body in the objects and clothes used, explaining, “It’s all concerning humanity.” Like Goodwin, Frlan and Bourgeois are doing work that concerns humanity. They provoke a desire to consider truths that are often obscured by less nuanced forms.


Extrait du texte par Nancy Baele :

Le titre de l’exposition d’Anna Frlan et Gail Bourgeois, Stories Nearby (Récits des alentours), suggère quelque chose de personnel, un contrepoint aux tonalités douces de titres à sensation et d’images médiatiques explicitement violentes. Pendant de nombreuses années, les deux artistes ont étudié les contrecoups de la guerre et la manière avec laquelle les angoisses découlant d’événements atroces ou menaçants vécus par des civils ou des militaires sont transmises d’une génération à une autre.

Bien que la forme humaine ne soit jamais vraiment représentée par Anna Frlan ou Gail Bourgeois, on la ressent intensément en raison des références à des objets façonnés ou modifiés par l’homme. Que ce soit dans War Chest d’Anna Frlan, avec ses dentelles implacables, ou dans le dessin de Gail Bourgeois intitulé The heart’s long offensive reach, avec sa tige mortelle, telle un filet de sang, qui soutient deux formes concaves rectangulaires, l’effet émotionnel est puissant. On retrouve le même sens tragique dans l’œuvre de Betty Goodwin. L’artiste montréalaise (1923-2008) traitait le corps humain, souvent par son évocation dans les objets et les vêtements utilisés, indiquant que « tout cela concerne l’humanité ». Comme Betty Goodwin, mesdames Frlan et Bourgeois réalisent des œuvres qui concernent l’humanité. Elles provoquent un désir de réfléchir à des vérités souvent voilées par des formes moins nuancées.