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Beauty in the broken

Beauty in the broken

The Gibsons Public Art Gallery features Catherine Tableau, Chantal Cardinal and Aurelia Bizouard in ?What Matters! running until March 10. The oddly punctuated title of the show is meant to draw attention to both the importance of the mediums the artists work with, and the way they question and create with their chosen medium. Cardinal works with fabrics, wool and felt; Bizouard with glass and Tableau with plaster. In a digital age, all three use easily accessible materials that require a very hands-on process. “We share a fragmented pattern and the tactile nature of each material,” says Tableau. “Aurelia works within the [Japanese] Kintsugi philosophy that there is beauty in the broken. It’s complementary to my work where I encourage imperfection and emphasize damage. We have the same action of breaking and reconstructing. For Chantal, she designs with a fragmented pattern, exploring the pattern. We share a love for the process.”

A work by Catherine Tableau called Time Lines #30. Photo submitted

Tableau, originally from France, followed her partner to Cortes Island 18 years ago. She’d studied foundational courses, like painting, at the École Municipal des Beaux Arts in Nice and had also been influenced by her father. He taught her to draw but was also a plasterer who created textured walls. “I saw him doing that and sometimes I helped him,” recalls Tableau. “It’s a connection to my family.” Moving to a quieter life on Cortes gave her more time to explore plaster as a medium. “What is important for me is how the light worked on the surface,” she says. “It’s not just the material, but what it refers to. I’m interested in vulnerability and the impermanence of things and for me plaster is a good medium to express that.” Tableau has come to know plasters and their qualities very well over the years, learning how to work with the material, break it, reassemble it, and colour it with acrylics and alcohol inks. “I’m attracted by imprints, texture, cracks, reliefs, things calling for touch,” says Tableau. She “encourages imperfections” by using tools, inflicting stress, breaking the plaster and then creating a collage. “When you know the limits [of your medium], you can play with that,” she says, emphasizing her love of the process. “For me its sacred territory that has ritual.” She’s now based in Vancouver where she is the director of La Maison de la Francophonie, but spends weekends and holidays in Gibsons, balancing her time between her job, her art and her family. “I hope there will be an emotion,” says Tableau of viewer’s reactions. “Some will find poetry and maybe inspiration. To do art is a way to express emotion.”

?What Matters! featuring Catherine Tableau, Chantal Cardinal and Aurelia Bizourd runs at the Gibsons Public Art Gallery until March 10. There are a number of events being held in connection with this exhibit: Feb. 24 at 1pm Aurelia Bizouard will do a demo and workshop on reverse painting on glass through Kintsugi philosophy. Feb. 26 at 7pm, The Fine Art of Repair: Playing with Cool Tools. March 2 at 1pm, Catherine Tableau gives a demo and talk on Surface and Light: Exploring Texture. March 9 at 1pm Chantal Cardinal gives a demo and workshop on From Farm to Felt. Free. All are welcome.

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