Thaw - Manon Labrosse

January 31 - February 28, 2014
Opening reception: January 31, 5 to 8 pm

Salle Micaela Fitch Room
2 Daly Avenue, Ottawa, ON

Presented in partnership with The Downtown Rideau BIA

In the New Year, the CAO will host an exhibition of new works by Manon Labrosse in our historic Micaela Fitch boardroom. Labrosse is an Ottawa based artist who hails from the francophone town of Hearst in northern Ontario.

Labrosse, recently back from an artistic hiatus, has recently refocused with a new artistic vision. Last year, Labrosse had her first solo exhibition in a few years at Galerie St-Laurent + Hill. She followed with an installation at this year's Nuit Blanche Ottawa Gatineau and an exhibition at the Gladstone Hotel in Toronto. Next year, she already has three solo exhibitions scheduled. Things are looking busy for her!

This new work is brighter and speaks of different experiences. Still based on her memory of her formative years in northern Ontario, this new series evokes scenes of snow laden spring thaw—thus the title of the exhibition—Thaw.

This new series marks a departure in tone and theme for the artist, as she vehemently insists, "gone are the dark colours and the telephone poles." This departure in motif is significant for an artist who has made extensive use of telephone poles in work since graduating from art school.

Despite the change of palette and motif, her work remains a substitute diary full of personal signifiers, which she leaves us to decipher. "I was inspired by the family farm but didn't want to directly reference it" she says about her new works. While these influences are largely invisible but we can discern a rural feel in her landscapes.

Through all this, her painting remains solidly grounded in landscape. She presents us with dreamy compositions of watery blues interspersed with wet earthy browns evocative of the thawing northern landscape of her youth. Although she has lived in Ottawa all her adult life, her formative years in Hearst are never far in her work.

The telephone poles have been replaced with logs, which are strewn about her increasingly abstracted landscapes. The logs are the only figurative element in an otherwise abstracted landscape of wet drippy colours that evoke the wet melt of the spring thaw. Labrosse's use of figuration helps direct and situate the viewer in constructed memories of melting snowdrifts and the boreal forests that surround Hearst.

If you can't wait for the New Year to see Thaw make your way to Toronto and see Scattered Tree at the Gladstone Hotel from November 14 to 23, opening reception November 14, 7-10 pm.

Don't miss Manon Labrosse's exhibition Thaw at the CAO from January 31 to February 28, 2014. And meet the artist at the opening reception, January 31, 5-8 pm. This Art at the CAO exhibition is presented in partnership with the Downtown Rideau BIA as part of the Chill Factor programing of Winterlude.

Spring may seem far away at the moment but come the end of January we will be looking forward to the first signs of the Thaw.