December 28

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A brief stay at Gallery Blanc’s Village Motel

By Tracey Arial

December 28, 2020

Galerie Blanc

An exploration mini-walking tour last week included a brief stay at the Village Motel, two blocks west of the Beaudry Metro Station.

Lest you think I broke confinement orders, let me assure you that “the Village Motel” is the theme artist curator co-founder Guy Berthiaume uses for his latest display at the outdoor gallery Blanc.

Berthiaume’s intention for the Village Motel

An onsite placard describes his intention.

“Village Motel is much more than an exhibition theme, but also a metamorphosis of our space that will serve to transport the visitor to a fictitious but familiar space, uprooted from its natural state.”

An old-fashioned-styled new motel sign at the corner of Wolf and Sainte Catherine Street marks the exhibit. It seemed incongruent when I first saw it. The building next door looked like a plain brick wall. I couldn’t figure out where the new motel was.

Smokers at an old-fashioned steel table in the park on the corner sat in flimsy looking 70’s-style balcony chairs. Couldn’t imagine those chairs staying in place long and wondered whether visitors carried their own chairs to the space.

Gallery Description

Only after walking past some of the white walls that create a maze-like feel on the 8000 square foot lot did I notice giant photographs encased in frames on the wall. The spot serves as an outdoor art gallery open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

For the 2020 display, Berthiaume transformed the walls into giant mattresses. Photographs feature work by six different artists, three of which are Canadian premieres.

Canadian artist Maya Fuhr, who studied at Dawson College, includes photographs of herself, Talvi Faustmann, and Jorian Alea depicting televangelists Jan Crouch, Tammy Faye Bakker and Juanita Bynum, and former porn star Nina Hartley. For more about the works, visit a televangelist homage magazine article and a description of an art exhibit homage to Hartley.

Canadian Premieres

The Canadian premieres include work from pop photographers Christto & Andrew (Christto Sanz and Andrew Weir), Genevieve Gaignard and Elise Mesner.

Bedmounds by New Yorker Noah Kalina round out the show. Kalina spoke about some of the work featured in an interview for Ignant.

Some of the shots I took at the gallery follow this article, but I highly suggest you visit the Village Motel yourself soon. When I was there, all visitors wore masks and respectfully distanced from one another.

Hurry. The Village Motel forms Gallery Blanc’s 2020 exhibition. (You can see images of all four annual exhibitions since 2017 on the gallery website. Just click on the small hamburger menu on the top right and pick the year you want.)

I don’t know what they’re planning for 2021.

Tracey Arial

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