Exhibition of Nov 29th 2019
Annie Bérubé is fascinated by the relationship between body, architecture, and identity. Architecture, in its complex structure, contains many parallels with the human body. For example, the walls form a protective boundary, a “skin” separating the interior from the exterior. Its essential parts may be functional, symmetrical, durable, and innovatively constructed. Overall, a building can convey a distinct personality—a product of its context, time, social connectedness, and relevance. Buildings may tell stories, particularly when they are remote, obscure, abandoned, and demolished.
Bérubé also finds herself intrigued by architecture’s symbolic meaning and its relationship to the conscious and unconscious mind. A space contains a history, echoes of its present and former occupants. It hints at narratives that are not visible but felt. With each new resident, a structure may find renewed life—or slip into neglect. It exists in a shifting and ephemeral state—like transitory shapes and lines on a canvas.
Architectural elements in Bérubé’s work frequently act as metaphors for personal memories. For instance, the painting Peace (in her last series of works) features a spiral staircase—a common architectural feature of homes in Montreal, and in the place of her mother’s childhood. This painting explores how a structure reveals its age, exposing itself through its patina, scars, strengths, and weaknesses. Metaphorically Peace alludes to transcendence and shifting of time. Hauntingly ephemeral, its radiating lines shift upwards, inviting viewers to imagine themselves afloat, embracing a non-corporeal journey into the unknown.
Bérubé is particularly drawn to places that are abandoned, unreachable, or not considered “home.” While Bérubé’s canvases evoke the deeply personal- loss, isolation, displacement- the fictitious architectures are often reminiscent of industrial complexes. Not only are they unlike homes, but they also do not exist in neighbourhoods or even specific places. Instead, her buildings float in the ether, aloof, untethered to their surroundings. In so many ways, these buildings mirror our contemporary human experience.
In Canada’s dispersed metropolises, we are denied the personal connections we would typically get from a childhood neighbourhood or hometown. We, too, are often untethered to place or community. And we are, whether literally or metaphorically, tied to the industry. At this point in history, our existence is not centred around our connection to family or community anymore. Instead, it is we are constantly challenged and measure by our productivity. Bérubé brings this home by enmeshing the industrial with the residential, the person with the production site.
Bérubé’s work encapsulates this sense of isolation—the feeling one gets as we search for our place in the world.
Thank you for your interest. For any inquiries, commission requests or studio visits, please contact Annie Berube at email@example.com