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Winnipeg
Steven Leyden Cochrane
Jacinthe Loranger at Maison des artistes | Marijana Mandusic at C Space, Winnipeg
March 17, 2015

I’ve never been to Montreal, but I’ve built up an image of art in that city based on the trickle of shows that make it to Winnipeg. I’ve come to anticipate the inevitable silkscreen installations, the highlighter hues and allover patterning, the varyingly-earnest occult sensibility, the fashionable references always just past their pull date by the time they get here. Jacinthe Loranger ticks off each of these boxes in Éveil sur des rives étrangères, her solo show currently on display at the Maison des artistes. This might not be a problem in itself, but a totalizing fixation on style conspires with shoddy workmanship to undermine what would otherwise be a perfectly interesting, enjoyable exhibition.



Jacinthe Loranger

Loranger’s toolkit comprises torn, tiled, chewed up, decoupaged, and wheat-pasted silkscreen prints, gloppy clouds of expanding foam, lasciviously-crooked pairs of witch fingers, and candy-coloured translucent pig’s feet. She combines and recombines these ingredients to concoct odd, makeshift memorials – seasick lighted monuments, a dissolving birthday cake and bubbling tar pit, an intestinal cloud of twisted pink tendrils, surprisingly tender bas-relief portraits of road kill – that regard death and decay through the dual lenses of sensual pleasure and abjection trauma.

The Maison’s drop-ceiling tube fluorescents intensify occasional pops of neon colour, bathing everything else in a blunted, overcast chill. As I pad around in sock feet to protect works pasted to the floor, all sounds are muffled. Located in the old St. Boniface City Hall, the gallery has never seemed more like a municipal office, and the bureaucratic ambience only heightens the overall uncanny mood.

It all checks out on paper and looks good in photographs, but the foam sculptures straddle plinths that, in person, look like badly wrapped birthday presents. Presumably for ease of shipping, the tar pit has been cut into wedges, giving the impression of a carbonized party pizza. I like the work, actually. (I’m an aging Millennial with a hard-on for Day-Glo and a soft spot for Freudian themes. I studied Wicca in middle school. This is, as young people presumably no longer say on Tumblr, “my aesthetic.”) I want to believe, and, if I could just smooth out the wrinkles, erase the seams, square the corners, and clear out some of the junk, I actually think I could.



Marijana Mandusic

As a bonus point of comparison, the pastel soft grunge of Marijana Mandusic’s Fluff, which closed over the weekend at C Space, was in some ways even more concerned with style and more pointedly of-the-moment. Still, the effect was less self-serious, more self-aware, and the work was better made.

Mandusic’s signature move is to isolate gestural brushstrokes, physically peeling them from their supports or repurposing them as photocopied collage elements. In Fluff, the Xeroxed blobs and squiggles appeared as pattern motifs for digitally-printed textiles. Soft sculptures – lopsided accent cushions; distended neck, hemorrhoid, and bed pillows; a beanbag chair – sidled up against, swaddled, and threatened to smother a handful of generic abstract canvases.

It’s possible I saw lighthearted feminist trolling because that’s what I wanted to see, but the work functioned well in that light. There were satisfying echoes of Riot Grrrl cut-and-paste aesthetics, Yayoi Kusama’s polka-dotted phalluses, and Eva Hesse’s parasitized cubes and frames. One could consider the decorative decoupling of mark-making from “expression,” the Pop-like treatment of repetition and branding, and the different gendered valences of fabric. (Also, some of those “generic” stretched canvases seemed more like pointed pastiche – casual glosses on home-décor-riffing abstractions by local boys like Krisjanis Kaktins-Gorsline and Robert Taite.)

While it was hard to gauge whether these were really “fluff” pieces or something more substantial, they were inviting in either case. Then again, I’m pretty much always down to nap.


La Maison des artistes visuels francophones: http://maisondesartistes.mb.ca/expositions/2015/galerie-dart-contemporain/eveil-sur-des-rives-etrangeres
Jacinthe Loranger: Éveil sur des rives étrangères continues until April 11.

C Space: https://www.facebook.com/events/1532929613637643/
See website for current exhibitions.


Steven Leyden Cochrane is an artist, writer, and educator based in Winnipeg, where he contributes weekly exhibition reviews to the Free Press. He is Akimbo’s Winnipeg correspondent and can be followed @svlc_ on Twitter.

 

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Posted by jacinthe loranger, on 2015-03-31 12:40:50
 
The clumsiness is part of my aesthetic, sir.