A focus on Quebec Sculptors

Exhibitions in the city’s public libraries

Two of the Quebec’s public libraries are now showing works by local artists that are noteworthy in many ways.  They are “carved pieces” – I deliberately set aside temporarily the term sculpture - by Marc Fugère and by Johanne Benedetti, the former carving stones and the latter wood.   I had the privilege of having the artists share with me some of their thoughts and speak about their approach of the material they carve. For centuries, it was thought that sculpture was essentially concerned with mass, space being more the concern of architecture.  Marc Fugère still holds this as true. The solidity of his pieces is important for him.  How can the interiority of a human being be expressed in an empty shell, in a void?" he asked.  In his works, the boundaries are inherent to the form, thus; all is contained within the form itself, within the solidity of the stone.  And, if space ever comes into play, it’s that of the vast nature that flows around his monumental works, one of which is part of a commemorative monument in Normandy, France. Mass is an essential element in the works of both artists but, in Johanne Benedetti’s pieces, the nature of the material and the process by which it is treated are more striking features.  The pieces come out of trimmed branches and are thus useless.  The mass is given a priori and it is from there that a series of choices are made leading to the final product.    I consider the lines existing within the material. I look to emphasise its qualities, sometimes its defects, she says. At the end, I have the feeling that the result is not entirely mine..  The material is full of surprises that pop up as I work on it she added. This is why, at times, the final product come close to familiar utilitarian objects.”   However if one takes the time to question their use, they quickly realise that they are impractical.  The truth of the matter is that they are abstract forms giving the illusion of something familiar, like clouds sometime seen in the sky. Although abstraction is not here a primary goal, it’s nevertheless not discarded.   Contrarily to those of Johanne Benedetti, the pieces exhibited by Marc Fugère are all figurative.   Lines that we tend to associate with drawing play an import role in these sculptures. – the word finally submerges.   Lines are responsible largely for the creation of stylised forms and thus the modern aspect of the pieces. The great subject for sculpture throughout the ages has been the human body, and here again, Fugere sticks to the tradition even if he has personal ideas about the proper way to represent people.  The posture of his subject is often of those that can be held for eternity.  Their stillness thus seems timeless, a quality much appreciated in a monument like the one created for the gardens of the Michel Sarrazin House (MSH) in Quebec city.  The choice made by the artists of the material goes far beyond its physical characteristics.  This is something that surely reinforces the relation built between them.   For Marc Fugere, the stones he carves have an often long, history. Some have come his part of the world due to the continental drift.  We must respect that, he said, adding that the same can’t be said for the new range of materials used by contemporary sculptors to create assemblages and site-specific art.”  As for Johanne Benedetti, she considers that the material is given to her.  Braches from threes come to me following the passage of the pruners, she says, they have a history that I must take into account.” The works of Marc Fugger and Johanne Benedetti are simple.  They carry no critics no protest, and if ever they bring a message it’s their author’s passion for the arts and the valued creative process through materials generously given by nature. You may check the schedule of the city’s public libraries to see when these exhibitions will come to your area.http://www.bibliothequesdequebec.qc.ca/activites/traficculture.pdf