Cynthia Girard, independent and in love with the bat

Cynthia Girard, indépendante et amoureuse de la chauve-souris

Photo: Marie-France Coallier The Duty
Painting (and sculpture) of the former member of the centre Clark Cynthia Girard has often been imbued with a desire to be free, even to respond to the standards.

“I try to do the all-over, like Pollock,” says a still laughing Cynthia Girard in front of a large painting colors rich and bright, and the area busy. It is a part of paintings completed in his studio. In one corner, four works of small formats and ovals like cameos, they too completed, provide portraits of different species of bats.

“When people ask me what I do, I say : “I paint the bats” “, proclaims the artist, who loves to mix cultures with scholarly and popular.

Cynthia Girard has never followed the current. It may be launched, by hand, like the one from the leak to the north of the island. Among the first to have established his studio on the avenue de Gaspé, prior to the outbreak of Foot-Square, the painter was also among the first to… go away.

Today, the writer and professor is working only in a local area near the old station Jean-Talon. It is here that are born of her body of work exhibited in 2017 and devoted to the economy (The invisible hand), sexuality (Love and anarchy) and the satire (Our masters the fools). This is where it prepares its next series, around a theme still to be defined, but whose central motif will be the bat.

Away from the currents, the artist almost cinquantenaire receives us in his studio, head full of questions. While others would have great insurance, she has a beautiful sincerity, are hesitant.

Cynthia Girard, indépendante et amoureuse de la chauve-souris

Photo: Marie-France Coallier The Duty
Detail of a work of Cynthia Girard, in his local area near the old station Jean-Talon.

“For the past year I have been working on the bats, and I can’t understand why. I’m not certain that it is interesting. I can’t find the link. Is what I am trying to make painting documentary ? ” asks she.

Perplexed, Cynthia Girard comes yet to win a more than a comforting pat on the back, the prix Louis-Comtois, with its $ 7500 in the key and its $ 2500 in addition, for the holding of an exhibition. Awarded by the Association of contemporary art galleries and the City of Montréal, the prix Louis-Comtois award since 1991 the artists of so-called mid-career.

“The award, I appreciate it. It gives me a new voice. Mid-career ? This means that it remains for me an the other half, “remarks one who finds the” super active ” up to 69 years. “I didn’t think you liked my work. It is touching. “

Painter wildlife

Painting (and sculpture) of this former member of the centre Clark — the same one who has initiated in 2002 the migration of artists to the pole of factories that accounted for the avenue de Gaspé — was often imbued with a desire to be free, even to respond to the standards.

The young Girard opts for a narrative art at the time where it is no longer made. While the Twenty-first century begins on the backdrop of globalization, she offers the trilogy of exhibitions, The Pavilion of Quebec (2001-2003). Its colours, pink for example, have always détonné, his references also. There is only she to quote, paint, Josée Yvon.

The fabulous animals, then realistic, are recent additions in his work. The bat is only the result, not of more. Its proximity with the animal world is reflected more recently in its name. Since you should now write Cynthia Girard-Fox.

The bat is wrong view, because she lives the night. It is associated with the witches, she has a body to another, as a bird, but it is a mammal. The strangeness scares them.

— Cynthia Girard

She also believes that it falls quietly in the painting of animals, without regrets, but with doubts. That it may declare without embarrassment in the wake of a Rosa Bonheur (1822-1899), painter, naturalist, or Beatrix Potter (1866-1943), author of Peter Rabbit, translated the whole scope of his program.

“A painter of animals, it does not exist in the contemporary art world, but it is relevant. It is humble also. I want to show that I’m not just ” in theory “, said the one who would like to ” inform “, push the painting down from its pedestal, making it ” educational “.

“I try to do it. But at a given time, it is the painting that wins. [Figure] becomes imaginary, I do not paint too realistic, ” she says.

The animal “queer”

Threatened species, animal, gothic, the lifeblood sucked out or mythological, representative of the fauna of quebec, the bat fascinates Cynthia Girard for more than one reason. His interest in the hybrid beings such as the unicorn or narwhal, which brought her naturally to the mammal to winged.

She became a great connoisseur and can decline its characteristics and its importance, as the role in the agriculture of the big brown, that can eat in a night, while its weight in insect pests.

“The bat is bad, because she lives the night. It is associated with the witches, she has a body to another, as a bird, but it is a mammal. The strangeness is scary “, she summarizes.

For the artist, it is the animal queer, by excellence, that she does not hesitate to defend : “I want to paint it super combative, colorful, alive. What has been excluded, I want to bring him in before. “

Outside of the common, free to the point where she herself had put an end to his association with Hugues Charbonneau, a gallery owner, however well-rated, Cynthia Girard, despite his doubts, advance. She does not complain, however, it is even considered to have been pampered by the system of fellowships and residencies abroad.

His series in progress, it is not yet known when or where she will exhibit, but it has its arguments — and the money, thanks to the prix Louis-Comtois. During the winter, she will invite them to his studio in the avenue of the Park commissioners and other monks of the broadcast. Maybe for the last time, because after, it will have to, once more, to move even further.

“In a year and a half, here, it will be too expensive. I will go to Saint-Michel. I am ready to do it, ” she says, without penalty.

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