Carleton University Art Gallery CUAG

Construction Work: Josée Dubeau, Lorraine Gilbert, Jinny Yu

Curated by Sandra Dyck

23 February – 12 April 2009

Construction Work brings together the work of three artists from the region – a sculptor, a painter, and a photographer – with a common interest in ideas of space, place, and the built environment. Josée Dubeau uses delicate wood rods to make large, three-dimensional installations that visitors can walk through. Her new construction – a furnished, flat-roofed house – is inspired by the Eames House (1949) in Los Angeles. Built from pre-fabricated industrial materials, the Eameses’ minimalist yet playful home is made of a rectangular steel framework sheathed in glass. The modularity and apparent weightlessness of this iconic "off-the-shelf" house make it particularly appealing to Dubeau, who strives for similar qualities in her ephemeral structures.

Jinny Yu explores the relationship of painting to architecture in a site-specific work inspired by a monastery designed by Le Corbusier near Lyon, France (1960). The building is famed for the irregular window pattern of windows on its north façade; Yu has painted this abstract, syncopated pattern directly on the gallery wall and, ignoring the modernist disdain for applied decoration, has installed a painted narrative frieze above it. Set high on the wall and intended to be viewed from the gallery’s lower and mezzanine levels, this multi-panel figurative painting takes its cue from the modular design of the gallery while encouraging active experience of its spaces.

Lorraine Gilbert considers the social and political dimensions of the built environment in her photographic series Le Patrimoine. She focuses on the contemporary Québec landscape and its ongoing transformation by developers of standardized subdivisions, golf courses, and resorts. In black-and-white panoramic images built digitally from a bank of source images, she crafts subtle and often sly tableaux in which everyday people live, work, and play in her constructed landscapes. Gilbert ultimately asks us to rethink outdated concepts of Quebec’s identity as rooted in an idyllic rural landscape and consider instead the global, homogenizing forces shaping it today.

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