Five servings of fruits and vegetables a day

Visitors to the Glendon Gallery can’t help but notice a decidedly nutritional theme at the gallery these days. There was Eye Candy 3 last September, displaying photographs of Canadian landscapes modelled from processed foods. The current exhibition with the enticing title of Tutti Frutti (all fruits) focuses once again on edibles as a source of art. For many, the word tutti-frutti, evokes the pleasures of childhood indulgences in soft, chewy, sweet-and-sour candies in a variety of fruit flavours.

But that is certainly not what Andrée Préfontaine’s exhibition is about. She has installed two images which combine a nature theme, through the use of fruits and vegetables, with high levels of technology. On entering the gallery, the visitor’s attention is drawn to a projected image of an enormous, pulsating strawberry on one wall. The second interactive installation combines colour, sound and projection, with the aid of a computer and a camera. Visitors are invited to move pieces of peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes and green beans around on a glass surface which is lit from underneath and whose image is projected on an adjacent wall.

Right: Artist Andrée Préfontaine with one of her images

With Tutti Frutti, the artist revisits pastoral themes in a unique and personal way, through the use of interactive audio-videographic installations. “Country themes aspire to praise beauty and the passage of time,” says Préfontaine. “Artists often combine representations of nature with visual and sound elements. These elements remind us that time is fleeting – inciting us to hold on to something lasting, since our feelings of pleasure are ephemeral.”

Préfontaine invites the visitor to be part of the creative process in a variety of roles: as cook, composer and artist, through the creation of a still-life image which comes to life through moving images and sounds. She is eager to explain the technology behind these installations, using timed photography, sound manipulation, computer recognition of specific sound and colour wave lengths, the creation of texture sounds, tracking, looping and other electronic means. Préfontaine has honed these skills through her wide-ranging training in music, technology and the visual arts. The child of a family of musicians going back several generations, Préfontaine’s original training was as a cellist. But she wanted to break out of the family mould and was always fascinated by other art forms. Having earned a BA in cello interpretation at the Montreal Conservatory in 1977, she went on to complete her training in the visual arts with a BA at the University of Quebec at Hull in 1994 and a masters at the University of Quebec at Montreal in 1998.

Left: Colours and sounds represent the fruits and vegetables as they are moved on the glass

The image of the strawberry has a special significance. “I wanted to represent the temporality of the image and of life,”  said Préfontaine, and that is exactly what she achieved by videotaping the fruit across a continuum of time, until its desiccation and deterioration. She then speeded up the video and collated the images forwards and backwards, thereby achieving the pulsating action.

“This work allows me to enter contemporary art through its sophistication,” said Glendon director of cultural & artistic affairs Martine Rheault. “It helps me to understand how many different ways one can conceive modern art.”

Tutti Frutti is at the Glendon Gallery until Dec. 15. The gallery is open Tuesday to Friday, noon to 3pm; Saturday from 1 to 4pm. Visit the Glendon Gallery Web site for more information.

This article was submitted to YFile by Glendon communications officer Marika Kemeny.