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Carré O Carré: Louise Lachance Legault at the Musée régional de Vaudreuil-Soulanges

The exhibition Carré O Carré, currently on display at the Musée régional de Vaudreuil-Soulanges, showcases recent works by Saint-Anicet artist Louise Lachance Legault. As the title suggests, nearly all the works are squares of various sizes ranging from thirty-six square inches to just over thirty square feet. The gallery text notes that Legault explores the square as a symbol of unified wholeness, stability, and rationality – a shape rarely found in nature. In Carré O Carré, Legault contrasts the balanced rigidity of squares with loose painting and emotionally exuberant mark-making, creating dynamic tension within the boundaries of the canvas or paper. The squares act as both containers for Legault’s creative output and windows into her creative process.

Legault is a prolific artist. This large exhibition features a variety of artworks and techniques: water-based and mixed-media paintings, original poetry, a handmade artist’s book, a found-object wall sculpture, and several paper constructions, including hanging concertinas. The concertinas, made of long strips of art paper – painted, printed, drawn on, and/or collaged – are folded accordion-style, then unfurled and suspended as vertical sculptures that gently move in the air. Together, Legault’s works create an atmosphere that is lively yet primarily peaceful.

 

Installation view Carré O Carré exhibition Musée regional de Vaudreuil Soulanges PHOTO Alyson Champ

 

Many of the mixed media works are on paper, unframed, and mounted on other supports, making them less fragile and more immediate without the distancing effect of glass. Their surfaces are often layered with loosely painted shapes overdrawn or overpainted with lines. Legault seems to operate between chance and deliberateness, allowing accidents to inform her process and contribute to the final composition. In some pieces, she uses multiple techniques – collage, printing, scraping, drawing, and dragging of paint – which contrast with more minimalist works where sections of paper are left blank, providing the pictorial space with more room to breathe.

While the pieces are mostly abstract, some recognizable elements appear: a bird, a keyboard, a hand, the suggestion of trees, or the tangible “realness” of collaged musical scores and other scraps of text. This creates a mysterious space between objectivity and subjectivity, inviting viewers to return to the works.

The overall colour palette of Legault’s works is muted and earth-toned: ochres, rusty oranges, and reds, punctuated by yellows and inky blues. The surface finish of most pieces has a waxy quality, adding a slight dreaminess to the visual experience. Black appears often, sometimes as a shape, but more frequently as a line drawn with a brush or another tool, exhibiting a fragile elegance like spidery handwriting conveying an expressive yet deeply personal and indecipherable written language. “Penser sans penser avec mots,” as the artist herself writes.

 

Handmade artists book in vitrine Carré O Carré exhibition Musée regional de Vaudreuil Soulanges PHOTO Alyson Champ

 

Carré O Carré was curated and installed by Chantal Seguin with assistance from Caroline Duguay and Geneviève Denis, who deserve special mention. Despite the large number of works, the exhibition retains a spacious openness, allowing viewers to move freely among the works and engage deeply with them from multiple vantage points, to look at the artworks individually, and to consider them in relation to the entire exhibition.

Carré O Carré by Louise Lachance Legault is on display at the Salle Guy-Mauffette Gallery on the second floor of the Musée régional de Vaudreuil-Soulanges from June 16 to September 8, 2024. For more information on opening hours and admission prices, visit the museum’s website: www.mrvs.qc.ca.

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