Lorene Bourgeois, new member at Loop, had an opening Tuesday October 27, of an exhibition of charcoal and conte on paper drawings (with a few oil on slate drawings) at Glendon Gallery, Glendon College. Because Glendon is a bilingual college, she delivered an artist’s talk in both French and in English.
In her talk she discussed her sources, her process and her aesthetic approach. She told the audience (a substantial crowd composed of art students, artists, OAC administrators and members of the general public) that she spent much time in London visiting the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Children’s Museum. She was examining clothing and textile and its relation to the body. To build on Lorene’s comment, cloth is a second skin that accompanies us from birth to death: we are swaddled in it and we are shrouded in it. It connoted status, employment, recreation, age, even time of day.
As source material, Lorene also photographs sculpture in cemeteries where figures are draped in cloth. Her intent seems to be to create in her drawings a play between the solid mass of a stone sculpture and the ephemeral ghostly quality of a piece of clothing that is no longer animated by a body inside of it but by the memory of someone who once wore it.
The drawings are sensuous in their movement around and over the objects depicted. One senses the slow, careful, observant path that the charcoal and conte follow. The images are both precise and luscious, an expressive tension that compels the viewer to come closer. And when one does come closer, one becomes aware of the mind boggling technique of erasure and overdrawing.
In the question and answer part following Lorene’s formal discussion, one member of the audience asked an astute question about the length of time each piece took her to create and whether that was connected with her thoughts about the value of a worker’s time and the value of handmade objects. Indeed, this theme renders an underlying social commentary to the work along with the art historical references that infuse the exhibition.
Lorene Bourgeois’ s exhibition runs until December 11. Go see it!