As you walk through Station 16 Gallery to the room dedicated to the C’est ça qui est ça exhibition, featuring Montreal artist Marie-Claude Marquis’ work, the first thing that strikes the eye is the grandma’s-floral’s-got-a-revamp vibe, particularly evident with the full-wall display of multi-coloured, beautiful china and porcelain plates. Until your eye catches on the “fuck” written in calligraphy on one of these said plates – then the larger picture comes into focus.
With dishes proclaiming “Shake That Ass,” “Osti qu’y fait frette,” [Christ, it’s cold] and “I did my best,” it’s easy to write this exhibition off as just another young artist looking to shock the public. But that’s definitely not the case, explains Marquis.
“It’s all very much linked to my life, what me and the people I know go through every day, Quebec cultural references, my love life. But I want to present it in a way that makes other people feel included,” explains the artist.
And while it’s true that browsing through Marquis’ collection can be a bit jarring, all in attendance at the vernissage were smiling and reminiscing on events that a particular sacre or song lyric conjured up.
Marquis has created this intimate atmosphere, as she herself would often use her own diary entries as themes for her work — a heart-on-the-sleeve practice that is still felt with this cheeky collection.
Clearly a proud Quebecer (and in love with the province’s notorious curse words), Marquis interchanges French and English text as a testament to demonstrate how “we’re really influenced by the English language in Quebec, be it music, my group of Anglophone friends,” and chooses which French or English phrases to use based on “how I feel it.”
New for the exhibition, Marquis has delved into the world of embroidery, with throw pillows demanding that you “Sit on my face,” while curse words are dressed in gold thread and placed over church-basement fabric finds.
Although Station 16 Gallery presents Marie-Claude and her one-of-a-kind pieces, the artist also has a business-savvy side with her own website that features paintings, illustrations, and a link to her Etsy store where you can buy anything from saucy mugs to cleverly-clad tote bags. And the artist doesn’t intend to stop there.
“Eventually, I would like to design a line of placemats and tablecloths, more of the things that can be easily reproduced.”
Station Gallery 16 will be featuring Marie-Claude Marquis’ work from December 5, 2016 until January 5, 2017.
For more information, visit Station 16’s website.
3523 Boul. St-Laurent, Montreal, H2X 2T6
Photos by Station 16 and Ania Szneps (@doughboy.89).