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Laura St. Pierre

Artist Statement

For almost a decade, I have worked with a fictional character called the Scavenger. My protagonist surfs the detritus of modern life, picking and choosing from the glut of garbage, trying to make something of it. A re-incarnation of Baudelaire's chiffonnier, the Scavenger sees value in things that others often overlook.

Since my return to Saskatchewan, the Scavenger and I have been working on a project titled Fruits and Flowers of the Spectral Garden, where we have been collecting and preserving flora from the changing Saskatchewan landscape. Using a technique common to botanists, the plants are preserved in isopropyl alcohol. To contain the specimens, we use found domestic vessels, such jars and bottles.

Plants are chosen from sites in transition. Earlier works in the series featured plants from "wild" or unkempt spaces in Saskatoon, such as vacant lots, alleys and parks. These are named after the neighborhood or street where they are found. The Scavenger collected specimens from these places as a response to their increased development and taming. More recently, the Scavenger has begun gleaning plants from ecologically sensitive areas, including the Boreal forest and the shores of the St. Lawrence river. Although these specimens are not currently rare or unusual, someday soon they may be: in this sense the collection has become an Archeology of the Future.

After they are collected, the specimens are photographed. In the translation of a three-dimensional object to a two-dimensional image, common plants are transformed, “making visible things that cease to be of any consequence once the picture has been snapped”.[1] This "making visible" is taken further by preserving the plants in alcohol, which bleaches the specimens and renders some parts of the plants translucent, giving them a ghostly appearance. Furthermore, by printing the plants at an increased scale, they become even less familiar, inviting the viewer to see them in a new way.

Earlier photographs in this series depicted a single specimen in a jar. More recently, I have begun stacking and positioning the specimens and using other natural materials to prop them up. In so doing, I am attempting to recreate a specific landscape from memory, remembering which plants grow together, their relationships in space. While the use of photography generally raises questions about time and remembrance, the tenuous arrangement of the jars and bottles also speaks to the fragility of an ecosystem in balance.

This exhibition features a handful of photographs from Saskatoon and the St. Lawrence. In an upcoming solo exhibition at the Dunlop, a series of plants from the Boreal forest of northern Saskatchewan will be exhibited in an immersive installation titled Museum of Future History. Other upcoming projects include a 4-channel video project commissioned by PAVED art for June 2018, and participation in a group exhibition at Galerie LUZ in Montreal in April.

1. Sarah Hamill, “The World is Flat: Photography and the Matter of Sculpture”, Camerawork, v36 no1, Spring/Summer 2009, p.14-19.

Curriculum Vitae

Selected Exhibitions

2018
Museum of Future History, Dunlop Art Gallery, Regina. Curated by Blair Fornwald with text by Katherine Ylitalo (solo).
Winter Garden, VivianeArt (Calgary). Curated by Katherine Ylitalo.
Musee de l'histoire a venir, special project with VivianeArt at Foire Papier, Montreal (solo).
Upon a Flower, The Gallery/Art Placement.
Special Commission, PAVED Arts, as part of the province-wide Canada 150 project "Roadside Attractions" (solo).
La vie fragile, aka artist-run (Saskatoon) and Galerie Luz (Montreal). Curated by Serge Murphy.

2017
Spectral Garden (with Jon Bath), Bonavista Biennale, Art Encounters on the Edge, 2 Rooms Contemporary Art Projects, Bonavista, Newfoundland.

2016
Peripheral Influence, aka artist-run, Kernderdine Art Gallery and Sceifmuhlgasse 12-14, curated by Denise Parizek.
Night Moves, Jackson Power Gallery, Edmonton, curated by Leanne Olson.

2015
View from a Window, Art Gallery of Alberta, with Edward Burtynsky, Robin Collyer, and Eamon McMahon, curated by Catherine Crowston.

2014
Fruit and Flowers of the Spectral Garden, Nuit Blanche, Saskatoon. Collaboration with Jon Bath.
Saskatchewan, curated by Adrian Stimson, Blackall Studios, London, UK and Mercado de Ensanche Exhibition Hall, Bilbao, Spain (catalogue).
306'ers A wave from Saskatchewan, DC3 projects, Edmonton.

2013
Land/Slide: Possible Futures, Markham Museum, curated by Janine Marchessault (catalogue).
Urban Vernacular, AKA Gallery, Saskatoon (installation and billboard, solo).
The News From Here: Alberta Bienniale of Contemporary Art, Art Gallery of Alberta, curated by Nancy Tousley.

2012
Constructing Space, Gallery 44, Toronto.

2010
Urban Vernacular, Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta (solo/catalogue).
AutoPark, The Works Art and Design Festival, Edmonton and The Art Gallery of Grande Prairie, Alberta (solo/catalogue).

2008
Dwellings
, Centre D'Exposition Rouyn-Noranda, Quebec.

2007
Dwellings, Centre D'Exposition CIRCA, Montreal

2006
This End Up, Galerie Articule, Montreal.
Abstraction, Diaz Contemporary, Toronto.
Spell, Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon, SK, and Robert McLaughlin Gallery, Oshawa (catalogue).

Selected Grants and Awards

2017
Canada Council for the Arts, Concept to Realization Grant
Saskatchewan Foundation for the Arts Award
2014
Saskatchewan Arts Board, Independent Artists Program Grant
2013
Canada Council for the Arts, Project Grant
Canada Council for the Arts, Travel Grant
2012
Canada Council for the Arts, Project Grant
Alberta Foundation for the Arts, Project Grant
2011
Alberta Foundation for the Arts, Project Grant
2010
Alberta Foundation for the Arts, Project Grant
2009
Alberta Creative Development Initiative, Project Grant (Canada Council for the Arts)
2008
Canada Council for the Arts, Project Grant
2007
Conseil des Arts et Lettres du Quebec, Artistic Research and Creation Grant
2006
Conseil des Arts et Lettres du Quebec, Artistic Research and Creation Grant

Education

Master of Fine Arts, Concordia University, Montreal

Bachelor of Fine Art and Design with Distinction, University of Alberta

Bachelor of Arts Degree, University of British Columbia

Selected Bibliography

sans-atelier, "Entretien avec Laura St.Pierre, artiste de Saskatoon", l'Eau-Vive, January 25, 2017

John Shelling, "A Meaningful Exchange: Peripheral Influence and the Effects of A Group Show", Saskatoon Star Phoenix, May 24, 2016

Stephanie McKay, "Saskatoon, Vienna connect again in Collaborative Art Exhibit", Saskatoon Star Phoenix, May 4, 2016

Fish Griwkowsky, "Night Moves Show Explores Life After tthe Sun Goes Down", Edmonton Journal, April 23,2016.

Dagmara Genda, AKA Members Feature, December 2013, http://akaartistrun.com/members-feature-laura-st-pierre/

Robert Everett-Green, "Art Installatons Embody the Past and Future of Markham", Globe and Mail, October 10, 2013.

Sky Goodden, catalogue essay, Gallery 44, 2012

Chronique Numerique Sagamie, "Construire le Regard", Art Le Sabord, winter 2012

Anne Pasek, "Heterotopologies", Latitude 53 Blog, May 2011

Amy Fung, “Capturing a Moment”, Vue Weekly, Dec. 16-22, 2010, p.21

Anastasia Abraxas, “Architectural Trash Talking”, See Magazine, October 28 2010, p. 12

Janice Ryan, “St.Pierre Dares to Ask”, Edmonton Journal, November 5, 2010, D9

Jerome Delgado, “Au dela de l’alarme verte”, Le Devoir, July 7 2007

Tai Van Toorn, "Laura St.Pierre, Yves Louis-Seize: Litter and Loss", Espace, Summer 2007, p. 34-35

Randall Anderson, "Laura St.Pierre", Flash Art International, March-April 2007, p.7

Gary Michael Dault, "A feast for the Sensuous", Globe and Mail, Aug. 26, 2006, R15

"A group Show That's Worth All the Fuss", Toronto Star, Aug. 19, 2006, H13

Lynne Crevier, "La Magicienne D'Oz", Ici, 23 Mars, 2006, p. 37

Laurent Vernet, "Ici etMaintenant, Duchamp dans L'Apres-Coup", Spirale, Mars-Avril 2006, No. 207, p.12-15

Randall Anderson, “Review of Objects of Desire.” Border Crossings, #92, p.101

Public Collections

Saskatchewan Art Board
Alberta Foundation for the Arts
Art Gallery of Alberta
Musee de Baie-Saint-Paul

Residencies

2017
Symposium International d'Art Contemporain de Baie-Saint-Paul
2009
Centre Sagamie, Arts Numeriques Contemporains, Alma, Quebec
2007
Est-Nord-Est, Saint-Jean-Port-Joli, Quebec
2001, 2003
Emma Lake Artist’s Workshop, Emma Lake, Saskatchewan

Community Involvement

2013-2015
Board member, aka artist run

2013-present
Active member, aka artist run and PAVED arts

2013-present
Active member, sans-atelier artist collective

 


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