Enough, is enough, is enough

Opening Reception
Saturday October 5, 2019 - 2pm to 5pm

  • Michelle Bellemare, Retreat, cast and sculpted polymer clay, metal prongs, light switch, 6.75” x 7” x 2.25”
  • Michelle Bellemare, Nervous System, sculpted and cast plastic, armature, LED bulbs, 84” x 35” x 14”. Photo credit: Isaac Applebaum
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  • Michelle Bellemare, Retreat, cast and sculpted polymer clay, metal prongs, light switch, 6.75” x 7” x 2.25”
  • Michelle Bellemare, Nervous System, sculpted and cast plastic, armature, LED bulbs, 84” x 35” x 14”. Photo credit: Isaac Applebaum
Next Images

Michelle Bellemare

The works in Enough, is enough, is enough explore emotional and physical vulnerability in relation to the demands of contemporary life. The embodiment of the common but often unacknowledged experience of precarity, whether it be economic, social, or physical, is at the centre of this project.

Nervous System speaks to the need to deny the body’s signals and rhythms in order to keep up with the demands of the market or “always on” digital time. A hand-sculpted long power bar resembles an arched spine that rests on the ground. Cords drape and wind around the power bar, filling almost all available outlets. The work appears to independently power itself as the switch glows “on,” but the threat of system overload is imminent. It speaks to an urgent need for recharge and the ways we push our bodies past all reasonable limits.

In Almost Perfect, a patch of otherwise “perfect” grass is marred by the presence of weeds. The act of caring tenderly for something that is not valued became a labour intensive yet poetic gesture in itself. Almost Perfect examines how our attempts to create systems of perfection and predictability inevitably break down, just as the body breaks down and is fallible. The organic work changes over time as the weeds grow, flower, and age, at all times struggling against the conditions of the controlled interior gallery space.

Retreat is a single unplugged power bar with its power switch in the “off” position. It is curled up in a gesture signalling exhaustion and a body pushed beyond its physical limits. It is entirely relatable.

Each work suggests the physical and psychic weight of the body, immobilized by pain, anxiety, or conflicting desires. Together, they herald a refusal.

 

Through modifying familiar materials, Michelle Bellemare’s sculptural practice attempts to lend form and voice to the psychological residues of contemporary experience. Her approach is relational, experiential, and phenomenological.

Bellemare is a graduate of OCADU and has exhibited nationally and internationally in numerous solo and group exhibitions. Bellemare’s work has been presented in solo exhibitions at the Koffler Gallery in Toronto, the Southern Alberta Art Gallery in Lethbridge, and Centre Clark in Montreal. In 2015 When push comes to shove, a solo survey exhibition curated by Ivan Jurakic, was exhibited at the University of Waterloo Art Gallery. Most recently her work was included in Muscled Rose, a group show curated by Rui Mateus Amaral, at Scrap Metal Gallery in Toronto.