“I Am Not Cute”

The kitsch-resistant art of Dawson’s Prix Albert-Dumouchel for Emerging Artists finalists

By Mat Sanza

At the center of ARPRIM’s white-walled loft exhibit Première Impression is an unassuming little couch covered by a pink quilt. Written on it are some not-so-unassuming phrases:  “I am not cute.  I am ambitioned and determined.” The piece not only speaks of the artist herself, Sarah F. Maloney, but for a new generation of impassioned and serious-minded artists, many of them already exposing their unpretentious, intelligent work at the ARPRIM exhibition.

The exhibit showcases the talent of Quebec’s CEGEP and university attending print-artists, finalists in the ‘Prix Albert-Dumouchel for Emerging Artists,’ proving to be heavy-handed in engaging works, especially from our own Dawson schoolmates. They work with themes of insanity, modern technological growth and the glamorization of violence, among others, to engage viewers on both an intellectual and emotional level.

In Ana Pranjic’s ‘Streetlights,’ we see the green-yellow silhouette of what appears to be a woman taking her own pulse while sitting in an idling car.  Cynthia Pelletier’s ‘Head Piece’ is an image of a face, drawn in a single line, superimposed onto a fully formed brain.  Venuz Cabantugan’s ‘Mechanical Insanity’ presents two cyborg-like women in what would seem to be a shouting match, surrounding a freakish, disfigured face. As for Veronica Ann Della Foresta’s ‘Jeremy’, we observe distressed, bandaged men trapped in their world of suffering.

On Saturday, many of the people at the exhibit seemed pleasantly surprised that the pieces were not amateurish, but in fact quite engrossing.  “There seems to be a lot of variety.  These young minds are really innovative,” said Niki B., an art-enthusiast. “This is fresh stuff. It seems really flashy, but in a good way,” said Vanier student Aviva L., commenting on a piece involving a dead eagle emerging from the painting and bleeding out onto the floor, while a gun-toting man with the head of a bloody Abe Lincoln stands above with a cruel, stalwart demeanor (the piece was literally flashy, the blood was made of sequins).

After even a brief a look at the work of Dawson’s soon-to-be St. Henry-dwelling artistic elite, it becomes clear that we have a lot to look forward to in the coming years as far as quality art goes.  Expect complex, engaging pieces that push boundaries, not for the sake of pushing, but to construct innovative and beautiful works that point to more than entertainment or intellectual masturbation.  Expect powerful aesthetics that go straight for the limbic system, or the heart, or the gut, or wherever you pocket your emotions.

If you want to get a taste of where art is headed, or are simply interested in your fellow Dawsonian’s life projects, ARPRIM’s Première Impression can be found on 372 St. Catherine St. West, room 426.

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