Sunday, April 26, 2009

Contrary Beauty or The Ghosts of Cities Past

Saw a fantastic show by photographer Martin Berubé and painter Renée Mollitt at the Galerie West in Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue on Friday night.
Berubé takes evocative photos of the decayed and forgotten corners of the urban landscape in stark black and white. The photo on this post, copped shamelessly from the Spacing Montreal web site, is a window detail from the old Bank of Montreal building on Wellington St. in the Point.
The photos, often of faded signs, empty windows and blank walls are haunted and haunting. I'm always amazed when an artist can find beauty in the kinds of day to day scenes that many of us pass without a second thought.
The show is called Bellezza Contrari, contrary beauty. Sharing the wall space with Berubé is mixed media artist Mollitt, whose landscapes and oversized flowers are rendered in bold colours and given texture by the use of dryer lint, waxed paper, dryer sheets and other recycled materials. They were gorgeous.
The show closes on Tuesday.
By the way, the Wellington St. bank building, owned by McGill architecture prof Pieter Sijpkes looks substantially different today. The good professor lovingly removed the peeling paint by hand to reveal the glowing orange-red brick beneath. I was there last night for a play put on by the Point St. Charles Community Theatre. The non-profit group has a ton of fun and raises money for a youth drama program in the Point. Agatha Christie followed by egg salad sandwiches and home baking. My kind of night on the town!

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