March 14, 2024

ANALOGOUS: Alicia Henry, Luanne Martineau, Evan Penny

Opening Saturday, March 16, 2024

TrépanierBaer is thrilled to open the spring season with Analogous an exhibition featuring works by Alicia Henry, Luanne Martineau, and Evan Penny, artists for whom the representation of the body figures as an overarching and recurring theme in their practices.  The exhibition invites the viewer to delight in, and compare the various media and methods employed by each artist, within the physical manifestations of their individual inquiries.

Anchoring the exhibition is a monumental work by Alicia Henry titled Analogous II, 2019, that is over two and a half (2.5) meters high and nine (9) meters long.  For the past two decades, Henry has explored unconventional approaches to portraiture. Using the face to represent what is hidden, revealed and performed. Analogous II is a powerful and compelling exemplar.  Comprised of hundreds of three-dimensional small-scale mask-like portraits cut from leather and manipulated using a variety of techniques, this Greek-like chorus or crowd gazes directly at the viewer. Each face functioning as a visual synecdoche.

The effect on audiences is one of initial curiosity followed by engagement and solidarity.  As noted, Alicia’s work is extraordinary — so powerful and full of gravitas…I have long cherished the beauty and mystery of her work…. [Mark Scala, Chief Curator, Frist Museum, Nashville, Tennessee].

Luanne Martineau produces felted wool sculptures, drawings, collages, and paper and textile-based works that break down the barriers between figurative/abstract and art/craft. Her felted wool sculptures known as “drulptures” suggest she has gleaned from anatomical forms, or humanoid or anthropomorphic forms including, sometimes, intensely coloured viscera.

At first glance, the triangular forms of Commissure, Carol, 2019 convey the outline of a butterfly or a winged figure, and suggest an entomological context. In fact, the term ‘commissure’ is used in the field of biology, and refers to the brain’s commissures, the fibre tracts that connect the two cerebral hemispheres. [Op. Cit. WhiteHOT Magazine, June 19, 2019].

The twists, stretches, compressions, and fractured dimensions of Evan Penny’s sculptural portraits challenge the viewer’s perception of the object before them. As the artist has noted: I try to situate my sculpture somewhere between the way we perceive each other in real time and space, and the way we perceive ourselves and each other in an image. [Evan Penny, Evan Penny: Re Figured, exhibition catalogue, 2011, pp. 9,11].

Evan Penny’s sculptures sometimes portray real people, but the artist often creates fictitious characters, as with his Stretch series from the mid 2000’sOn view is (Old) Stretch #3from 2006, a hyper realistic portrait of an older man staring wistfully and longingly but directly at the viewer. The sculptures anamorphic (stretched) structure confounds the viewer’s gaze forcing the question, “who is this person and is this real?” Penny’s attention to detail in terms of the representation of the figure’s countenance is so exact as to be disquieting.

As one scholar remarked about this series: They are synthetically generated portraits of people who do not exist. Their personalities and histories are only the culmination of the viewer’s projected fantasy… [Daniel J. Schreiber, Evan Penny: Re Figured, exhibition catalogue, 2011, p. 57.].

Mark your calendars as we invite you to visit the gallery to experience this  exhibition featuring the work of three extraordinary artists.

Image Credit: Analogous II, 2019, Detail