2018 Plaskett Award Winner – Karine Fréchette
Karine Fréchette holds a BFA from Université du Québec à Montréal, and she completed her MFA in 2017 at Concordia University. Informed by Op art, early 20th century abstraction and the psychedelic aesthetic, her paintings investigate light as a constantly circulating flow of information, while at the same time drawing ideas from constructed spaces and the currents that flow through them. Roving between real and virtual spaces, her works depict frequency wave-like patterns that generate a physical and optical experience in the viewer. Fréchette is currently based in Montréal.
The jury was unanimously fascinated by Fréchette’s strong, visually stimulating compositional skills and by her deft use of colour. Her works exhibit a clear understanding of the legacy of abstraction in Quebec, while adding a contemporary light by drawing inspiration from real and virtual spaces, and by creating patterns that evoke video feedback or computer screens. Done with an arresting degree of finesse and precision, her large paintings confirm her technical process and her ability to overcome technical challenges, which she combines with clear intellectual rigor to create dynamic, deep works.
Karine Fréchette wishes to take part in a dynamic and cosmopolitan artist residency program in Europe. From there, given the influence that light, place and architecture have on her works and on her painterly gestures, she plans to pursue an in-depth research on how light and architecture interact and evolve throughout history in Europe. She is also interested in documenting the singular luminosity of specific places she would experience during her time there.
2018 Petry Award Winner – Adam Alexander Gunn
Adam Alexander Gunn holds a BFA from NSCAD University, and he completed his MFA in 2017 at Concordia University. Painting on organic-shaped supports that allude to the imperfections of our perceptual apparatus, Gunn begins with a series of loose brushstrokes that evolve, through an exploratory process, into various objects. Often depicting vegetal, animal, rock and debris in a state of flux, Gunn combines traditional and contemporary painting techniques into a subversion of the traditional still-life genre. Gunn is currently based in Montréal.
The jury was impressed by Gunn’s ability to harmoniously combine traditional painting techniques, rendering approaches inspired by the digital world, and loose brushstrokes into coherent works. In his written statement, Gunn suggests there is no disorder, only different levels of complexity of order: an idea that helps understand his work, and further appreciate the transition from painterly gesture to rendered object. In addition, the jury found refreshing his reference to still life and his use of chiaroscuro, combined with contemporary painting techniques and shaped canvases.
Adam Alexander Gunn intends to base himself in Berlin, from where he would travel to other art centers to gain wider access to historical and contemporary paintings. For example, he plans to visit Madrid to spend time studying works such as Bosch’s The Garden of Earthly Delights. Because Gunn works with Art Mûr Gallery in Montreal, he also envisions an opportunity to collaborate with their Berlin space during his time in Europe, to potentially show work there and to further take part in the international art community.