Digital expressions of art

Marc Audette juggles many different roles in his life.  Audette, a professor of digital and analogue photography in the Department of Visual Arts in York’s Faculty of Fine Arts, was recently a featured artist in DiVa, the first art fair in the United States devoted exclusively to digital and visual art.  Audette also teaches a visual arts course in Glendon’s Multidisciplinary Studies Department, he is the curator of the Glendon Gallery and has been president of its programming committee for the past four years.

A new media artist with an impressive list of individual and collective exhibitions in Toronto, Montreal, Hull and Banff, as well as in France, Audette, along with Alexandre Castonguay, professor of new media in the Visual Arts Department of the University of Ottawa, participated in DiVA. The fair, which took place in Lower Manhattan from March 11 to 13, serves as an international destination for collectors, art dealers, museums, curators and artists. DiVA featured the diverse and innovative work of a number of new media artists exploring and pushing the digital boundaries. Audette’s participation in this prestigious art event reflects his stature in the world of new media art.

Audette and Castonguay were presented at DiVA under the aegis of PFOAC (Pierre-François Ouellette art contemporain), a commercial, contemporary art gallery situated in Montreal and committed to photo-based work, drawing, sculpture, installation art and related works on paper created by a diverse group of multidisciplinary artists. On this occasion, Audette exhibited O/Water, 2005, a video projection and C-print of multiple dimensions. In his artistic statement, Audette said, “Images, including digital images, are intimately connected to the main characteristics of human activity like religion, nationality, membership and art. However, language, like image, is not a neutral vehicle. Setting ideal standards for the digital image means setting the language to be used for defining concepts, ideas and realities. All of which can be presented on a monitor, print paper and photographic paper, or on canvas, since the last support can also be printed. It is this fine but unequivocal relationship between tools and ‘oeuvre’ that animate this work.”

Left:  L´intuition d´Ovide 1, 1994. cibachrome, 135 x 70 cm, by Marc Audette

Audette has been interested in digital image creation since the mid-1980s. For the past several years, his projects have focused on the so-called advancements touted by the arrival of successively new versions of the software used for manipulating digital images. “In a world where technological innovation is synonymous with corporate investment, I ask myself the following question: what are the criteria for appreciating the superiority of these technological advancements,” said Audette in a recent interview.

Audette studied fine art at the University of Quebec in Hull and earned a masters in visual arts from York University in 1998. In addition to his responsibilities at York and Glendon and his creative work, he is an active member of Laboratoire, a production space dedicated to research in the field of multimedia visual arts. Audette is also president and founding member of L’AGAVF – Groupe en Arts Visuels Francophone du Canada (Canada’s Francophone Group of the Visual Arts), an organization dedicated to creating artisitc events across the country, and lobbying on behalf of artists with public and private organizations in the visual arts. For the past two years, Audette has also been giving workshops on writing bursary and funding applications for francophone artists in minority situations in Canada.

Article submitted to YFile by Glendon’s communications officer Marika Kemeny.