The Musée d’art de Joliette is hosting the installation A Forest Song (2019) along with a new painting and a video diptych by the Canadian artist duo DaveandJenn.
The Calgary-based artists are known for incredibly multi-layered pictorial work of surprising density and depth. Allegory and metaphor lie at the heart of their artistic language. In this installation, which combines video, sound, sculpture, and programmed lighting, they transpose their pictorial universe into three dimensions in a reflection that bears, among other things, on how early capitalism led to the exploitation of a part of the planet to profit another.
The still-lifes and painterly renditions of avian subjects by 17th-century Dutch artists served as DaveandJenn’s inspiration. These paintings stage plants and animals that have literally been transplanted from one context into another and exotic goods treated as symbols of wealth and abundance. They betray the beginnings of an economy based on the large-scale circulation of goods and an inequitable relationship between colony and home country, as well as between animal and human. In A Forest Song, as in a fable, the animals personifying vanity and envy, which lead to theft and violence, are the vehicles for a social critique. Referencing the Actaeon myth and employing an illusory sleight of hand that mixes high and low materials, the installation and the accompanying works also suggest a reflection on the deceptiveness of appearances.
Ultimately, the metamorphoses within these works strive to remind us of the shared material origins that connect us with all that exists and to advance an ethical vision of the world as an interconnected whole.
Read wall labels
Link to the website presenting A Forest Song: http://www.a-forest-song.ca/home.html
Image in the banner:
DaveandJenn, A Forest Song, views of the exhibition at the Musée d’art de Joliette, 2022. Photos: Romain Guilbault
David Foy and Jennifer Saleik have been collaborators since 2004. Foy was born in Edmonton, Alberta in 1982; Saleik in Velbert, Germany, in 1983. They received Fine Art Diplomas from Grant MacEwan College in 2003 and each graduated with distinction from the Alberta College of Art + Design, in 2006. Their first appearance as DaveandJenn was in their graduating exhibition. From the start, experimenting with form and materials has been an important aspect of their work, which includes painting, sculpture, installation, animation and digital video.
DaveandJenn’s work was included in the MASS MoCA traveling exhibition Oh, Canada (2012–15) and the Galerie de l’UQAM’s survey of contemporary Canadian painting, Le Projet Peinture/The Painting Project (2013). Recent solo projects include No End at the Art Gallery of Alberta (2015), A Natural History of Islands at the Nickle Galleries (2016), The Wellspring at the Glenbow Museum (2017), Paradise for an In-Between Time at the Esker Foundation, Thinner Skin/Thicker Hide at Queen’s Square Gallery (2018) and A Forest Song at the BMO Project Room (2020).