Marc Audette (right), course director in the visual arts program of Glendon’s Multidisciplinary Studies Department has been awarded a 2009 Chalmers Award for Creativity and Excellence in the Arts by the Ontario Arts Council, providing him with essential financial support for continuing his independent work.
Audette is a specialist in digital as well as analogue photography, building on the cross-pollination of these two media, and using both fixed and moving images. His work evokes both an aesthetic and an emotional response. Through elaborate staging and interplay, he presents a body of work imbued with an imagination all his own, and a narrative line that weaves together various motifs, allowing spectators to develop an intuitive and affective grasp of his art.
Audette has been interested in digital image creation since the mid-1980s. “Images, including digital images, are intimately connected to the main characteristics of human activity, such as religion, nationality, membership in a community, or art”, says the artist. “However, language, like image, is not a neutral vehicle. Through establishing a standard vocabulary for digital images, we can develop a language for defining their concepts, ideas and realities. All of these can be presented on a monitor, on print- or photographic paper, or on canvas. […] And it is this detailed and direct relationship between tools and ‘œuvre’ that animates my work.”
Left: One in a series of photographs with the title Classe d'art 010 / Art Class 010, created by Audette in 2008
Audette’s artwork represents a transition between past and future techniques. It is an appeal to the pure beauty of digital art, as well as the product of thorough understanding of its technology. His creations are influenced by the critical examination of various theories and techniques, such as the Gaussian Blur technique.
As a new media artist, Marc Audette has an impressive list of individual and collective exhibitions in Toronto, Montréal, Hull, Banff, and France. In March 2005, he was invited to participate in DiVA, the prestigious U.S. art fair dedicated exclusively to digital and video art. Over the past fifteen years, he has also been the recipient of numerous bursaries and awards (for more details of Marc Audette’s artistic career, please see the section below, with the title “More about Marc Audette”).
How will Audette use his Chalmers Award funds? “This [award] money will enable me to rent intimate, private spaces which I can transform into suitable locations for my productions, as well as for creating fixed and animated images”, says Audette. “These spaces need to be large enough for staging and documenting the artworks. They also need to be secure enough for me to leave my equipment on site.” Audette is planning to do some writing as well, in order to share his experience and nurture his thoughts, with the intention that these writings “[…] will be a perfect bridge between my past and future work”.
More about Marc Audette
Audette studied fine art at the University of Quebec in Hull and earned a Masters in Visual Arts from York University in 1998. In addition to teaching in the Faculty of Fine Arts at York’s Keele campus, he teaches a visual arts course in the Multidisciplinary Studies Department at the Glendon campus, and has been curator of the Glendon Gallery since 2001. He is an active member of Le Laboratoire (or Le LABO), a francophone production space dedicated to research, production, training and showings in the field of multimedia visual arts. Audette was president and a founding member of l’AGAVF - L’Association des groupes en arts visuels francophones, a national arts service organization that represents visual arts groups active in Francophone communities outside the province of Quebec. For the past several years, Audette has also been giving workshops on writing bursary and funding applications for Francophone artists in minority situations in Canada.
About the Chalmers Arts Fellowships
These awards provide financial support directly to artists so that they may have the opportunity to dedicate themselves to individual creative pursuits. The program aims to provide such support at moments in artists’ careers when a concentration on personal and/or artistic growth or renewal and exploration is most likely to have the greatest impact on their long-term artistic and career development.
Fellowships may be awarded to artists at any stage of their career development, from early to mature, and to artists working in a wide range of aesthetics and traditions that reflect Ontario’s regional activity, linguistic and cultural diversity and Aboriginal and Franco-Ontarian identity.
Article submitted by Glendon communications officer Marika Kemeny