Between Two Eternities
Jessica Williams + Alexia Laferté-Coutu
Opening: Saturday January 19, 2019 from 3 to 6pm
Exhibition: Saturday January 19 to March 2, 2019
Projet Pangée is pleased to present Between Two Eternities, an exhibition uniting the work of Alexia Laferté-Coutu (Montreal) and Jessica Williams (Los Angeles). Placed throughout the gallery, the glistening glass sculptures of Laferté-Coutu appear like wet gems against the backdrop of Williams’ moody paintings, where cinematic figures gaze into the distance and butterflies flicker between beams of soft light. We leave behind the glaring light of the sun to find ourselves descending the stairs of night. While each artist presents a distinct approach to the city she inhabits, both practices root firmly in themes of romanticism and reminiscence. Their works, tangible yet fleeting, appear as shape-shifting visions, carrying us to moments we have witnessed or lived and now long to revisit.
The sculptures of Alexia Laferté-Coutu begin with the application of fresh clay onto surfaces of historical monuments. Once dried, the fragments are molded and cast into glass, emerging rounded and opalescent, shapes which bear traces of hands that delicately pressed the argil onto a building, both healing and revealing its form. Laferté-Coutu describes this process as a way of reflecting upon our relationship to heritage and history, while considering its elusive nature and the necessity to nurture it through renewed gestures of care. Through molding and casting, the sculptures shift from linkages of representation. It is the immaterial trace which is crystallized in her work, the unobtrusive event we often overlook. The sculptures, small enough to carry, retain each pore of the stone, the textures that were once sculpted with energy or polished by dust, rain, and wind, the many hands that touched the surface before us, and the bodies that once leaned against it. Through the translucency of her fragments, Laferté-Coutu reveals an intimate compression of time and history.
Looking, too, at architecture, the mythologies of the city, specifically Los Angeles, and the subliminal effect of nostalgia on our everyday experiences, Jessica Williams’ emotionally charged paintings evoke moments of stillness perched on the brink of drama. Through her loose and energetic brushstrokes, the atmosphere becomes as palpable as the characters: the solitary but familiar midnight teenagers like ghosts of our own pasts. Evoking a sense of longing, her work revives memories passed, and activates our desires for fantasy. By depicting lonely feminine figures sitting in their rooms or smoking on the edges of balconies, agitated butterflies, overripe cherries, opulent cuts of fresh roses, tulips and peonies, her imagery remains grounded in the real while tending towards the dreamscape and seem to exist in the liminal psychological state between waking and sleeping, the hallucinatory state of an experience traced through the memory of a memory. Just like the city of Los Angeles, there is something delightfully surreal about Jessica Williams’ paintings; a state of impermanence, illusion, and decadence heightened by the fluidity of her gestural lines and washes of color, which could, in a sigh, dissipate into air.
Alexia Laferté-Coutu (b. 1990 in Montreal) studied sculpture at Bauhaus-Universität Weimar before graduation with a BFA from Concordia University (2013). Laferté-Coutu’s installations, sculptures, and performances have been presented in numerous group shows in Canada and Germany, including la Galerie de l’UQAM and Cercle Carré in Montreal. She is currently on her way to completing her MFA at the Université du Québec à Montréal.
Jessica Williams (b. 1983 in Los Angeles) holds a MFA from Columbia University (2008) and an BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design (2005). Williams lives and works in Los Angeles Her work has been included in recent shows at SADE, Los Angeles; Galeria La Esperanza, Mexico City; Del Vaz Projects, Los Angeles; Torrance Art Museum, Torrance; Night Gallery, Los Angeles; Sargent’s Daughters, New York; and Thierry Goldberg Gallery, New York. She is currently a lecturer in the painting department at the UCLA School of Art.