I first met Katie Vibert a year ago when she sent me an email, out of the blue, about a project some of her students at the CEGEP de Sept-Îles in Quebec had just completed—a series of gorgeous banners depicting North Shore (the north shore of the St. Lawrence) artists and historical figures. There was I, bigger than life, on the college facade (this, of course, is in honour of my novel Elle which is set on the North Shore, even has a scene set on the beach in Sept-Îles). Now Katie has a show of her own work which reflects the both place and history–the North Shore, the Montagnais, new technologies. It’s a startling, vibrant exhibition.
Katie Vibert: ICÔNES NORDIQUES
Sculpture by Canadian artist, Katie Vibert, on view in Val-d’Or, Quebec from June 3 – July 17, 2011.
As set forth in her artistic statement:
This exhibition is an important part of Katie’s journey as an artist. It is the result of a long process of awakening to the social, political and historical reality of the North Shore, where the white man’s vision of the world conflicts with the Native’s. This collection sheds new light on the relationship between the white culture and the Native’s, showing what each has brought the other over time, and how each views the land they share, where they want to live in harmony. Katie feels the need and the urgency to open herself and her audience to this other culture and its differences in the hopes that it will lead to tolerance and ultimately, acceptance.
In an attempt to rally the two cultures, Katie draws from the metaphorical language of signs in the cosmogony of symbols from her ethnic and northern milieu. She has also explored the legacy left behind by the first builders of northern towns. Her art pays tribute to the First Nations’ respect of the land and the environment, and the just sharing of the riches of Mother Earth.
All materials used were selected with thought and care, primarily for their sacred or symbolic value. Thus, Katie assembles natural and man-made objects together with the iconographical marks she makes in steel or clay to tell the story of northern life and represent the land that is to be shared. Bear claws, bustard feathers, caribou bones, silica, true grasses, lichen, sandstone, and metal all attest to the differences between the inhabitants of this land. They came from all over, and they left behind living symbols that Katie brings together to promote the current ethnic diversity. These interrelated materials reinforce the coherent quality and meaning of her pieces, that speak to the interdependence of the peoples, which make her artistic statement of acceptance, respect and the land all the more current and pertinent.
Born and raised in Sept-Îles, on the north shore of the St-Lawrence, sculptor Katie Vibert is the recipient of numerous awards from the Quebec Arts Council (Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec), of grants from Fonds de la Côte-Nord pour les arts et les letters, as well as the prestigious regional “Prix à la Création” award. In 2009, she was chosen as the spokesperson for the 20th edition of the Intercollegiate Fine Arts Exhibit and in 2010 she received a grant from the Quebec Arts Council. Highly skilled in aluminum and ceramic art, she has contributed over 15 major wall sculptures to the provincial Arts Integration Program, which promotes the commissioning of artwork for public buildings. She has participated in a variety of travelling exhibits and biennials, including a regional visual arts exhibit (Biennale des arts visuels de la Côte-Nord), and an international miniature art exhibit (Biennale internationale d’art miniature en Abitibi-Témiscamingue. Her works are part of the collection at the Musée régional de la Côte-Nord in Sept-Iles, Quebec.
Click below for the invitation to the show:
–Post layout by Natalia Sarkissian