Sculptors get fancy in Louis Odette artist residency

BGL's concept rendering of the soon to be constructed sculpture "Fancy Canada"

Quebec City-based sculpture trifecta BGL – Jasmin Bilodeau, Sébastien Giguère and Nicolas Laverdière – are the invited guests of the2012 Louis Odette Sculptor-in-Residence program at York University, April 23 to May 4. They will give a free, public presentation on their current work on Wednesday, May 2 at 2pm in Room 130 of the Joan & Martin Goldfarb Centre for Fine Arts.

During their residency, BGL are working with a team of 10 visual arts students to assemble an installation titled Fancy Canada. The installation will be part of Oh, Canada, the largest survey of contemporary Canadian art ever produced outside this country. The show will be on view May 27, 2012 to April 1, 2013 at MASS MoCA in North Adams, Masssachusetts, one of most visited institutions in the United States dedicated to new art. Curated by Denise Markonish, BGL's concept rendering of the soon to be constructed sculpture "Fancy Canada"Oh, Canada will feature work by more than 60 Canadian artists spanning multiple generations and working in all media.

BGL’s concept rendering of the soon to be constructed sculpture “Fancy Canada”

“BGL has been on our radar for a potential artist residency for a while, for their innovative collaborative approach to public art as well as the unparalleled energy and ambition they bring to the studio,” said Professor Brandon Vickerd, who organized and oversees the residency. “Fancy Canada is by far the largest and most ambitious project undertaken in the history of the Louis Odette Sculptor-in-Residence program.”

With Fancy Canada, BGL are continuing their playful investigation of security fences, building on two previous projects: Solos, an installation that spoke to collective values, social issues, political events and cultural patterns (Rodman Hall Art Centre, St. Catharines, 2010) and Fancy Fences, which suspended crowd barriers up high in trees (CAFKA (Contemporary Art Forum Kitchener and Area), 2011).

“The steel fence, an urban and modern object of crowd control, offers us great possibility,” said BGL in its artist statement for the project.“We want to use it to realize carousels, arches and mobiles that inspire freedom and creativity. We will transform this object that was intended to reduce delinquency into something that inspires delirium.”

For more than a decade, BGL have been creating sculptures, prints and installations that humorously critique the commercialism of contemporary culture. Having also explored larger themes such as death, truth and the role of art, BGL aims to make the viewer simultaneously fascinated and uncomfortable. Whether simulating and deconstructing the real, or appropriating and juxtaposing recycled materials, BGL sets out to unhinge the limits of the art-viewing process, prompting the viewer to take the time to watch for details and surrender fixed notions of the boundaries between art and life.

BGL was a finalist for the 2006 Sobey Art Award and was included in the Montreal Biennial 2007. Recent solo exhibitions include Cultiver son jardin at the Centre de design à l’UQAM, Montreal and Marshmallow+Cauldron+Fire=, at the Contemporary Art Gallery, VancouverRecent group shows include Dorm at The Model, Sligo, Ireland, Manoeuvers at Galerie Toni Tàpies in Barcelona and Caught in the Act: Viewer as Performer, at the National Gallery of Canada.

TheLouis Odette Sculptor-in-Residence program launched in York’s Faculty of Fine Arts in 2000. The program strives to create a dynamic learning environment which supports the advancement of the art of sculpture, and where students benefit from participation in and observation of professional studio practices.

The residency provides the opportunity for upper-level undergraduate visual arts students to develop an enhanced working understanding of sculpture techniques from the perspective of eminent guest artists. Previous guests of the program include Justin Novak and Brendan Lee Satish Tang (2011), James Carl (2006), William Tucker (2005), Claire Brunet (2003) and Liz Magor (2000).

The Louis Odette Sculptor-in-Residence program is made possible with the generous support of the P & L Odette Charitable Foundation.