Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 17/8/2006 (5517 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Two young local artists have turned that idea on its head somewhat, holding what amounts to a retrospective of one year's worth of work.
The title of the exhibit -- à suivre -- means "to follow," as in to follow an artist's career, so the sly joke here is that we're being given the chance to start following their careers from the start.
Anna Binta Diallo, who just graduated from fine arts at the U of M, works in painting, graphic design and printed pieces that illustrate everything from advertisements to a book of poems.
Nathalie Dupont, who was in the multimedia communication program at Collège Universitaire de St. Boniface, shows a series of short animated films -- a surprising amount of work at a surprising quality.
In addition to the artwork itself, there's a section of wall devoted to e-mails sent back and forth between the two artists and some friends over the last school year, as they were creating this exhibit. It's entirely in French, which will present a challenge for some viewers, but the gallery's mandate, after all, is to support French-language arts, artists and culture.
(Interestingly enough, the gallery is supported by the government of Quebec, among other funders. It's the only provincial government -- other than our own, of course -- that directly funds the visual arts in Manitoba.)
In Dupont's animations, we watch as a bizarre combination of characters and scenarios play out. In Dans mon panier j'ai (In my basket I have), for example, Little Red Riding Hood uses a rocket launcher, hidden in her picnic basket, to deal with the big bad wolf.
In Perde la tête (Lost my Head), a rumpled male narrator tells his story (in French, with subtitles) of feeling ugly and alienated, and deciding that the solution is to take someone else's head. He settles on a chain-smoking giraffe, who sits in a business suit reading the newspaper.
After a bit of time with the giraffe's head, though, which results in the narrator developing a nasty smoker's cough, he concludes: "Regardless of the face behind the suit, life's no picnic."
Most of these short films are set to music by Benoit Mourier (better known as Ben Wah), a talented young musician who played at last year's Winnipeg Folk Festival. Here, Mourier's music blends artfully into the background, highlighting the films' darkly comic tone without overpowering it.
Dupont is also displaying a notebook she used, as well as drawings from the in-progress animations, and they both show how labour-intensive her work is. Each film starts out as ideas and rough sketches in the journal, then evolves into the more detailed frame-by-frame drawings that make up the animation, combined with a variety of other effects.
Diallo, on the other hand, works a somewhat different angle in her graphic arts work. Her strongest work here may be the design art she did for the book Poste Restante: Cartes Poétiques du Sénégal, work that earned her an award for best book art and design in the province last year.
Combining bits of journal writing with photos, maps, drawings and graphic designs, she creates an interesting sepia-toned collage, illustrating a series of poems that form a travel narrative of a trip to Africa.
Also included in Diallo's work is a series of fictitious advertisements, such as one that spruces up a struggling coffee chain, transforming it from grungy to 21st-century hipster. While it's marred by a typographical error, the design shows a neat ability to jazz up what seems at first to be a rather dull commercial client.
So à suivre it is, two artists inviting us to follow them on a career-long retrospective. It's a little presumptuous, of course, but in this case, the vanity is justified, as this exhibit shows two young artists who are already working at a professional level.
à suivre..., by Anna Binta Diallo and Nathalie Dupont
Maison des artistes visuels francophone Manitoban, 290 Provencher Blvd.
To Aug 29