A Timely Avowal of Longing for Timelessness
An interpretive essay on the exhibition in the RIA Project Room, Ottawa,
October 16 – November 13, 2016
By Petra Halkes
Darcia Labrosse’s paintings on metal are ethereal yet earthy. Intensely physical, they speak nonetheless of a desire to go beyond the boundaries of human existence, to connect with a mysterious life force that is larger and more powerful than time-bound human life. The longing to escape death and become part of an order of plenitude is a deeply human one. Humans have felt inklings, hints of such unity in rare moments of intense, awe-inspiring yet perilous experiences, experiences that have been provoked, acted out and articulated in religion, art and philosophy throughout human history. Labrosse’s industrial painting method, in which she aligns herself with the power of electro-magnetic fields, provides such sublime moments for her, as we shall see. Borrowing an Abstract Expressionist style to communicate these moments, the artist acknowledges that a yearning for wholeness persists in our disenchanted time, while the anthropomorphic figures in various states of distortion and dissolution she conjures up, testify to the impossibility of embodied atemporality. READ MORE
Artist Statement, Darcia Labrosse: My work is a trace left by a performance in a factory setting, far from the habitual painting studio space. In contrast to an actual ritualistic praxis, I use a highly sophisticated medium: electrostatic paint, also known as powdercoating, on sheets of aluminum, copper or Cor-ten steel. The process is a fast and conducive method that facilitates immediacy of thought and feeling, challenging a fine line between figure and abstraction, traveling from the unconscious to the conscious. Electromagnetic fields as a phenomenon, a life force and a binding agent for the pigments, have become a unique and essential partner in my creative activity.
My paintings are essentially intuitive, gestural, vitalist action-painting executed at the confluence of Fine Arts, alchemy and the rough, cool detachment of the industrial world.
Darcia Labrosse graduated from the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts School of Visual Arts in film and photography; her short films quickly won her critical acclaim. Further studies at Concordia University’s Visual Arts Program, in lithography and painting, led her to question the very meaning of painting and its inherent medium. In the last decade, Labrosse has developed the METAL LANGUAGE corpus, which she labels Existential Expressionism, willfully branching out from the Abstract Expressionist tradition.
In the past, Labrosse has been involved in the literary world, working as an editor, translator, writer and illustrator. She has published over forty books for children in the houses of Harper Collins, Simon & Schuster, Hyperion and Random House in the USA and the UK. She has also been a pillar in the design of the Artificial Intelligence semantic engineering Internet project IEML (Information Economy Meta Language) at the Collective Intelligence Lab at the University of Ottawa. http://labrosseart.com/works/