2 Aug 2011

Jules R. Villemaire - photographic prints

It came to mind and so I must mention one dear working relationship that I we have developed over the years, it is with a local photographer, Jules R. Villemaire.
When I reminisce about Jules' work certain peculiarities of the Canada's Capital city of Ottawa cultural life need and bit of background and explanation.
Our region is a home to many interesting creative personalities, but it is not always easily accessible and often difficult to follow.
Our Capital is made up of of often divided into two cities: Ottawa (South of the Ottawa River) and Gatineau (North of the river).
The divide is not only geographical but it is deeply historic, with Ottawa physically in the province of Ontario and connected to predominantly English-speaking population.
Gatineu is a part of the province of Quebec, where cultural and political life is strongly representative of French related issues, which in Canada have a lot of meanings and nuances, which are not always easy to grasp.

To make the long story short, Jules R. Villemaire is a French-Ontarian and predominantly French speaker and over many years of his French theatre-connected life as a photographer the information about his work is mostly accessible in French and - in my opinion - deserving a lot more visibility in the English-speaking art scene.

Language divides aside (as you can guess I am whining because my French is rather rudimentary) I must say that Jules is a remarkable portrait artist.
He is not probing our souls, nope, he is interested in our BODY, our appearance, in our face, and very much in our movement.

I have worked with Jules for years on several projects - printing and finishing photographic files.
The first series, produced about 10 years ago consisted of remarkable compositions of body movement and arranged object.
Images were produced at approx. 1Mx1M size and printed on Polyester film, with thin layer of polycarbonate, scratch resistant laminating film and mounted on 1/8" Sintra board.
All works were framed by the artist.

from Corps à corps

Above is an example of this series.
I am yet to locate an actual photograph from one of the venues, the exposition at the National Art Centre in Ottawa and I will post it later.

Another series followed few years later and dwelled, in my opinion, on the practicality of glamour.
What did I just say? I don't know, perhaps that's what it was.
Non-commercial women models posed in make-up, beautifully styled and almost glamorously photographed. Yet, every pose show that tinge of vulnerability - 100% woman, 100% all of us.  
Gorgeous to the last drop....

The photographs were composed by the artist within the cadre, the outline of the canvas.
All printed on white matte artist canvas, stretched on gallery (2") stretcher bars, frameless, with background white canvas on the edges of each work.
from …de connivence

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