There are three strong female voices reverberating through the halls of the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal: Ghada Amer (Egypt, New York), Valérie Blass (Montreal), and Wangechi Mutu (Kenya) are showing their most recent work in three concurrent solo shows at the MACM. Each artist works in her own medium and style, each has her own story to tell, but what unites all three of them is a strong use of materiality, the exploration of the human form, and a subtle sense of eroticism.
Ghada Amer paints with coloured threads, which she stitches and drips across her canvases reminiscent of the work of Jackson Pollock. But her seemingly chaotic, abstract works hide a sensual surprise. Look through the tangle of threads, and delicately stitched female figures emerge, floating in the background in vaguely pornographic poses.
The sculptures of Valérie Blass also focus on the body, but the artist blurs the line between classical figuration and contemporary assembly. Impossible creatures morph with random objects, iconic historical sculptures mutate into grotesque beasts. Charming, creepy, and often humorous, Blass’ works simultaneously delight and perplex.
Wangechi Mutu‘s installations and video projections are breathtaking. In her work the female body is idealized, fragmented, violated, morphed. Mutu’s work is political without being ham-fisted. Her sculptural pieces, such as Moth Girls, are visually seductive but also viscerally disturbing. Her materials range from felt (a reference to refugee camps in Africa) to glitter curtains, steeped in mystical symbolism.
I took some video footage during the press conference and produced a short clip of the current exhibition.
Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal
Ghada Amer | Valérie Blass | Wangechi Mutu
February 2 – April 22, 2012