511 GALLERY is pleased to present Lames, our second solo-exhibition of photographs by Canadian artist Jocelyne Alloucherie.
Since being awarded the Paul-Émile-Borduas Prize by the Government of Québec in 2002, Alloucherie has had her work exhibited in almost thirty solo and group exhibitions throughout the world, including New York and numerous cities in Spain, Italy, France, and Canada.
Alloucherie’s new work preserves characteristics found in Monuments, her first exhibition at our gallery in 2003. In Monuments, Alloucherie presented a series of photographs of SoHo roofscapes taken at dawn, as well as photographs of the fleeting shadows of tree branches. While the subject matter in the current exhibition is sand, Alloucherie continues to emphasize the contrast between light and dark; in doing so, she captures a battle between positive and negative spaces, causing the strong lights and deep darks within her photographs to compete in an attempt to grasp the viewer’s attention.
This is not the first time Alloucherie has used sand as the subject in her work. In an interview with Sylvie Parent in January 1999, Alloucherie justifies her recurrent use of the material: “Sand is very similar to photographic material; it’s light, fluid, malleable. Like grain, or particles. It deforms and reforms itself at will. And I can’t ignore the fact that it is an obvious metaphor of time and emptiness. I learned to configure all kinds of shapes out of this crumbly, warn-down, grounded material, which will suddenly take shape and allow for the emergence of all sorts of images…Intangible, like the contents of a negative form, the reverse side of an object, it is still anthropomorphic in certain retained aspects: the center, the verticality, the weight, the dimensions.” Alloucherie’s statement about the nature of sand highlights the paradox that is present in her work—although sand has no specific shape, the forms that the artist manages to capture in her photographs give the material an appearance of solidity and structure.
The largest works in this exhibition measure nearly 60×90 inches, and thus strongly evoke the concept the artist imagined: a “sand tempest.” This description is more easily understood in context of the translation of the French word “lames,” which comes out to be either “blades” or “violent waves breaking.” By photographing sand reacting to its environment like a brooding storm, Alloucherie gives the formless substance a sharp and almost violent appearance, one that is well-suited to the exhibition title—regardless of the translation.
In May 2007, Alloucherie was one of four artists chosen to receive a career grant of $60,000 from the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec (CALQ), an organization devoted to the task of supporting the development of the arts and spreading their influence in Canada and abroad. Alloucherie graduated from Concordia University in Montréal and the School of Visual Arts at Université Laval in Québec City, where she now teaches. She has held an increasingly important position among Canada’s artists and continues to attract attention throughout the world.