and Claude Vermette:
Creators of Modern Québec
through October 12th
Contemporary Museum of Art,
Baie-Saint-Paul, Québec, Canada
Two-Way Studios – Mariette Rousseau-Vermette and Claude Vermette: Creators of Modern Québec, at the Contemporary Museum of Art at Baie-Saint-Paul, Quebec, invites visitors to wander through more than five decades of artistic creation The art of Mariette Rousseau-Vermette (1926-2006) and Claude Vermette (1930-2006) offers a view of a way of life that emerged in Québec in the late 1950s. Their works were sometimes monumental and could readily be integrated in the architectural context. They express, according to the Museum, a basic tenet of the “Quiet revolution” that aligns cultural production with social progress. Throughout the 60s, these couple merged modernist values and traditional craft, aiming to express a cultural identity that could be both ultra-contemporary and remain respectful of the past. The exhibition displays the production of these two artists in a series of “chapters” themes. Through a chronological approach, viewers are able to make comparisons. The exhibition reveals a common spirit, strong affinities, correspondences, and, of course, emotional and intellectual ties, set within a single historical and sociological context, crossing an important period of recent history.
Virtual Exhibition: You can take a video walkthrough of the exhibition and the artists’ separate, but adjacent studios, in Ste. Adele, Canada at: http://www.hdmedia360.ca/english/visite-virtuelle/hd/cbphgpWJl-mac-baie-saint-paul-rousseau-vermette.html. More images: See a review in Vie des Arts Magazine: http://www.viedesarts.com/article790-Precurseurs.
Vermette spent 30 years creating ceramics for architecture — bringing warmth and color to stark, cold constructions. He created new forms of clay composition, modules for tiles and bricks and new patented enamels. These innovations improved the sustainability of ceramics for the Canadian climate and its gruelling winters. His bricks and tiles earned him a First Prize in 1962 for industrial design. His large-scale ceramic compositions grace more than 100 public buildings, including pavilions and buildings connected to the Montreal World’s Fair in 1967, at Osaka in 1970, at the 1976 Summer Olympics held in Montreal. as well as in many schools, churches, courthouses, universities, more than a dozen Montreal subway stations and other buildings, including General Motors in New York City, MacMillan Bloedel in Vancouver and Bell Canada in Toronto. The last 30 years of his career, Vermette devoted to painting. His paintings have been collected and exhibited in Canada and abroad including a 910-foot wall of paintings at Bell Canada’s Trinity Square office in Toronto.
Born in 1926, in Trois-Pistoles, Québec, Mariette Rousseau married Claude Vermette in 1952. She received her training at both the École des beaux-arts du Québec (1944-1948) and at the Oakland College of Arts and Crafts, in California (1948-1949). She and Vermette travelled extensively to Europe and Asia, allowing Rousseau-Vermette to broaden and deepen her understanding of different tapestry techniques. She was honored several times in Québec and abroad, winning numerous awards throughout her career. She has exhibited in Canada, the United States, in several European countries — including at several Lausanne Biennials of International Tapestry — and in Japan. Her tapestries are held in many major public and private collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in New York, the Chicago Art Institute, the Museum of Modern Art, in Kyoto, the National Gallery of Canada, the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec and the Contemporary Art Museum of Montréal. She was a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts and an Officer of the Order of Canada. Her storied career was the subject of an article by Anne Newlands, in the Journal of Canadian Art History,“Mariette Rousseau-Vermette: Journey of a Painter-Weaver from the 1940s through the 1960s” (2011). You can watch a video (in French) about a careful restoration and installation of a large Rousseau-Vermette tapestry at Simon’s department store in Montreal at: SIMONS: Des
The Contemporary Museum of Art at Baie-Saint-Paul, Quebec is at 3, rue Ambroise-Fafard, Baie-Saint-Paul, G3Z 2J2. Telephone: (418)435-3681. Fax: (418)435-6269. For more information, visit: http://www.macbsp.com/exhib_tocome.aspx.
Some Observations: On Light and Air
Recently I visited the Los Angeles County Museum of Art specifically to spend time immersed in the imagination of James Turrell whose retrospective covers fifty years of work exploring light, sky, perception, color, shape and architecture. http://www.lacma.org/art/exhibition/james-turrell-retrospective. The meditative quality of this exhibition encourages the viewer to be a considered observer and allow what they see and perceive to be altered by their physical experience with the work. Ultimately the transformative and ephemeral qualities of light exist in the mind of each person. The artist gives us the opportunity to bathe our senses in illusion and reflection.
The next day on a non-stop eastbound flight traveling in the morning from Los Angeles to Boston I was seated on the north side of the airplane and could view the magnificent snow covered Rocky Mountains below rising from the earth with the suggestion of a world without grief.
photo by Wendy Wahl
In the minutes that followed I found myself focused on the carbon footprint that air travel leaves and thinking about the best way to balance my personal footprint. Knowing for the moment “I am where I am” my gaze returned to the framed light as we swiftly moved above the fruited plains. I watched until somewhere over the Great Lakes the image through the oval-edged window changed into another remarkable illuminated landscape.
photo by Wendy Wahl
As a commercial airline passenger for over four decades I have encountered a wide range of situations and had experiences that touch on almost every imaginable emotion. Each flight has a unique dimension heightened by the sounds, sights, smells and physical proximity of the other passengers in a tightly enclosed space. The curious activity of moving at fast speeds from one environment to another, around and about what has become a very small sphere in a short period of time, stimulates thought about place, perception and the possibility of portals. Having flown on Pan Am, Continental, Delta, American Airlines, United Airlines, Laker Airways, Peoples Express, Southwest, British Airways, Hawaiian Air, TWA, Qantas, Virgin Australia, Aero Mexico, China Air, Alitalia, Air India, Lufthansa, Air France, JetBlue and a number of puddle jumpers – I’m feeling that of all these, Virgin America has created an illusion of a different sort for air travelers through the use of color and light.