February 1, 2010

Yechel Gagnon : Public Art

Installation at Ville Sainte-Catherine's Library, Québec
Program of Integration of Arts within Architecture

For her fourth public art commission, Yechel Gagnon continues her research with materials by creating her own custom-made plywood. For this specific project, she has designed a panel of different layers of exotic wood consisting of tulipwood, maple, walnut, spruce and bloodwood. With her panoply of tools, she carves the surface unraveling her imagery oscillating between a pleiad of interpretations. The abstract composition may evoke worlds within worlds, imaginary landscapes, oneiric spaces, microscopic views, or a topographical map. The structure and the specific colours of Le courant de la mémoire create a dialogue with the architecture, inviting the viewer into a realm of contemplation and nuances.

Le Courant de la mémoire, 2009
Carved spruce, tulipwood, maple, walnut and bloodwood
241 x 178 cm & 241 x 18 cm / 95" x 70" & 95" x 7"

The fireplace becomes symbolic by its totemic scale. Since this structure is exposed on two sides, Gagnon has installed on its other side an architectural punctuation echoing the carved bas-relief using the same exotic wood. This assemblage echoes the stratification of plywood as well as evoking the numerous book edges found in the library. This minimalist element further creates a bridge between the carved plywood and the architectural elements of the library by underlying the visual importance of the wood beams visible on the ceiling.

Installation at Ville Sainte-Catherine's Library, Québec

Installation at Ville Sainte-Catherine's Library, Québec

In her previous public art project created for a professional woodworking school in Gatineau (Québec), Gagnon used different exotic woods. This time the lamination effect was integrated within the imagery. The contrast between the carved organic shapes and the geometry of the lines and the richness of all the colors and the specific grain of each wood created a striking effect.

Méridiens, 2009
Carved white maple and poplar plywood
Tulipwood, Lacewood, Bubinga , Cedar, Cumaru, East Indian Rosewood, Macassar Ebony, Okoume and Birmanie Teak
213 x 152 cm / 84" x 60"
Installed at Relais de la Lièvre-Seigneurie, Gatineau

Her upcoming projects include a research trip to Japan, a vital source of inspiration within her practice, and she was awarded a large commission for the Jean-de-Brebeuf College in Montreal. This new installation will consist of monumental frottage drawings in dialogue with a series of plywood bas-reliefs. Gagnon’s practice explores materiality, layering, architectural and natural spaces as well as integrating notions of oriental and occidental aesthetics. All of these elements are explored in her drawings, prints, inks, sculptures, and installations. Gagnon holds an M.F.A from Concordia University and an AOCAD with honours from the Ontario College of Art and Design. Yechel Gagnon is represented by the Moore Gallery in Toronto, Newzones Gallery of Contemporary Art in Calgary and Spheris Gallery in New Hampshire. For more information on her work please visit her website.

For Yechel Gagnon's studio visit by Joanne Mattera in which you can see maquettes and works in progress please click here.