Z Art Space is proud to present Constructions of the Void, a group exhibition featuring the works of Marie-Claude Lacroix, Zhang He, Phil Delisle, Mariane Stratis, and Kara Skylling. From painting and drawing to sculptural installations, this exhibition addresses the boundaries between presence and absence through the artists’ engagement with the themes of construction, fragmentation, and anticipation. Notions of intimacy, landscape, and architecture are explored in parallel with one’s relation to space and the built environment to examine the nature of representation.
Through a deconstructivist yet hyperrealist approach to traditional still-life painting, Marie-Claude Lacroix’s semi-abstract compositions derived from everyday objects demonstrate a particular attention to texture and materiality. In works like Jusqu’à ce que ça fende I and II (2020), Lacroix offers intimate, macroscopic views of fabrics overlapping one another, which inspire both a sense of beauty and ambiguity.
Zhang He’s richly-textured abstract compositions convey a similar engagement with materiality through his sculptural application of paint. Fueled by the seasonable palette of nature and the complexity of human emotions, Zhang builds each canvas by manner of instinctual layers and gestural brushstrokes, with the quintessential goal to capture fleeting beauty, in all of its forms, and interconnectedness.
The notion of construction takes on a literal interpretation in the work of Phil Delisle, whereby the artist reproduces notable museums and their exhibited masterpieces to question the position of institutions, such as in Weeping Woman (Picasso) at the Tate Modern (2017). Interested by the conventions of framing and often inserting paintings within his paintings, Delisle attempts to reconcile the disjuncture between the personal nature of creativity and the authority of display in the public sphere.
Architecture occupies an equally central theme in the works of Mariane Stratis and Kara Skylling, who translate within their distinct practices affective relationships to the built environment. In a close study of the Montreal Dorchester Square - an urban square in Downtown Montreal and formerly a cemetery in the late 19th century - Stratis unravels the social and political histories of the site, while apprehending its role as a commemorative witness to the passage of life. Such architectural studies are echoed in the work of Skylling, like Untitled (2019), in which the artist’s play with geometry, proportions, and shifting scale gestures to the potential of urban structures in shaping our reality and lived experiences.
MARIE-CLAUDE LACROIX (born 1991, Montreal, QC) is currently pursuing her MFA in Painting and Drawing at Concordia University. She has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions at venues including: Galerie AVE, Never Apart, Art Mûr, and FOFA Gallery. She will take part in Manif D’Art - Biennale du Québec in 2022.
ZHANG HE (born 1963, Shenyang, China) obtained a Bachelors in painting from the Lu Xun Art Academy (Shenyang, China). He has been part of several international exhibitions in the last two decades, including the Florence Biennale (Italy), the National Gallery of Thailand (Thailand), Art Toronto, Art Palm Beach and Art Bejing. Zhang has been featured in numerous publications including: Vie des Arts, Canadian Art, and Parcours.
PHIL DELISLE (born 1976, Toronto, ON) obtained his Bachelor of Arts at the University of Waterloo and his MFA at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. He has exhibited widely across the country, including: Power Plant (Toronto, ON), Confederation Centre Art Gallery (Charlottetown, PEI), Artcite (Windsor, ON), Art Mûr (Montreal, QC), and Equinox Gallery (Vancouver, BC). Delisle received the prestigious Joseph Plaskett Award in 2012 and was a finalist in the 14th Annual RBC Canadian Painting Competition.
MARIANE STRATIS (Montreal, QC) holds a bachelor’s degree in Visual and Media arts from the Université du Québec à Montréal (2016) and is currently pursuing her MFA in Sculpture and Ceramics at Concordia University. She has recently exhibited at: Leonard and Bina Ellen Gallery, (Montreal, 2020), Galerie Atelier B (Montreal, 2020), Puces N ° 5 (St-Armand, 2019), B-312 (Montreal, 2019), and Galerie Art Mûr (Montreal, 2015). She is the founder of doux soft club, an artist-curator collective bringing together the practices of Pénélope and Chloë, Marion Paquette (2017). The work of doux soft club has been shown at AXENÉO7, biennial PERF (re) activation, (Gatineau, 2019), Verticale - Center d'artiste programming Clan, destin et clandestinité (Laval , 2019) and GHAM & DAFE (Montreal, 2018).
KARA SKYLLING (Montreal, QC and Pittsburgh, PA) is currently pursuing her MFA in Painting and Drawing at Concordia University. She has recently exhibited at the 707 Gallery (Pittsburgh, PA) and the Leonard & Bina Ellen Gallery (Montreal, QC). Over the past few years, she has participated in residencies in Pittsburgh and Sweden. She is the recipient of the Eslpeth McConnell Fine Arts Award (2020), the Tom Hopkins Memorial Graduate Award (2018) and the Leon A. Arkus Award (2013).