Michelle Bellemare’s sculptures reference common objects ranging from Ziploc containers to sleeping bags. Each is meticulously remade and altered to function as an analog of the human body. Evoking the body’s vulnerability as well as its resilience in the face of physical and psychic trauma. When push comes to shove is a survey of new and recent works produced since 2006. Despite their seeming simplicity, Bellemare’s time-consuming process of prototyping and testing the limits of materials requires significant periods for research and production. The exhibition includes major works such as Casket (2006/07), Sleeping Bag (2011/12) and the debut of a new kinetic sculpture Moving forward falling back (2013/15). These works are complex and psychologically loaded yet strike a familiar chord, marrying the artist’s exploration of the human condition with a deeply felt need to approach materials as poetry.
Photography: Scott Lee
Michelle Bellemare is a sculpture installation based artist, whose work explores how the properties of different materials can embody emotional or physical vulnerability in relation to the demands of contemporary life. Her approach is relational, experiential and phenomenological. She is a graduate of OCADU. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, including a solo survey of her work at the Koffler Gallery and the Southern Alberta Art Gallery. More recently, she has exhibited in group exhibitions at Diaz Contemporary and Harbourfront Centre, Toronto as well as in a solo exhibition at Centre Clark in Montreal, Quebec. She is the recipient of several grants including the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts. The artist lives and works in Toronto.