Fall Cultural Preview: Visual arts: Off the wall

Off the wall

Hardly run-of-the-mill: Gagnon exhibit at Skol
Photo: Untitled, by Dominic Gagnon

The visual fare sure to catch your eye this fall

September is the cruellest month, for visual arts writers that is. It’s the month when one has to sort the diamonds from the pearls, the month when there’s an opening nearly every night, the month when one naturally plays favourites.

The striking of the first school bell seems to simultaneously signal the beginning of the visual arts year, and 2008 is no exception. Here we go…

The Belgo Building (372 Ste-Catherine W.) boasts two new galleries this year. The first, Les Territoires, occupies the former location of Galerie Thérèse Dion (#527). It officially opens its doors on Sept. 5 with the launch of the DVD La Petite fabrique de temps by Manon De Pauw and Michel Laforest, a surrealist meditation on the movement of time.

Down on the third floor at new hot spot Galerie Division (#311), Eric Simon will be exhibiting his Au-delà du réel. Simon is described as something of a wacky polymath, synthesizing everything from science fiction to Renaissance painting. Across the hall at Skol (#314) you’ll find Dominic Gagnon and Katherine Lapierre musing about alternative energy and outsider architecture respectively. Gagnon is presenting a fully functional wind turbine made from a recuperated car. Both pieces open tomorrow. Keeping with environmental themes, Skol will be hosting Wave Up, by Stephen Kelly beginning Oct. 24. The kinetic sound installation seeks to aurally immerse the visitor in the sea, using a live connection to buoys floating in the distant blue yonder.

Legendary Mile End curiosity shop Monastiraki (5478 St. Laurent) recently reinvented itself as a gallery, specializing in the psychedelic, the visionary and the downright weird cartoon art Montreal is becoming famous for. The gallery will be hosting "Dirty" Danny Hellman‘s latest comix anthology between Sept. 19 and Oct. 3 (signing on Oct. 3). Works from various American and Canadian cartoonists will be shown during the run, including notable nerd and local Rick Trembles. Visionary painter/skateboarder/world traveller Chris Dyer will be showing some paintings there on Oct. 7.

FOFA will be playing host to the immersive installation Untitled Plant (iPod) Project, by Jane Tingley (1515 Ste-Catherine W., Sept. 26). The installation uses prosthetics, sensors and plants to create a living, breathing and reactive space that explores materiality, technology, the body and nature in an immersive environment.

There’s more, a lot more. Take Kelly Mark‘s Stupid Heaven, a retrospective of her work at Vox (1211 St-Laurent). There’s the sure-to-be-hipster hit The Factory Project at Eastern Bloc (7240 Clark), a multidisciplinary group project that will pay homage to Warhol’s famous Silver Factory experience of the 1960s (open sporadically between Sept. 20 and 27). Then there’s the Pop Montreal (Oct. 1-5) offshoot Puces Pop, which, in addition to its usual arts and crafts fair, boasts a week-long curated exhibit of artist talks and workshops at the Green Room (5386 St-Laurent). Not to be outdone, Art Pop will be exhibiting some heavy hitters, including Quebec Triennale darling Adrian Norvid and "famous artist" Jack Dylan. Exciting times.

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Visual Arts