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Tutti Frutti : a Contemporary Look at Pastoral Themes at the Glendon Gallery

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One can’t help but notice a decidedly nutritional theme at the Glendon Gallery these days. There was Eye Candy 3 last September, displaying photographs of Canadian landscapes modelled from processed foods. The current exhibition with the enticing title of Tutti Frutti (all fruits) focuses once again on edibles as a source of art. If you are like me, the word tutti-frutti evokes the pleasures of childhood indulgences in soft, chewy, sweet-and-sour candies in a variety of fruit flavours.


Andrée Préfontaine et fraise

But that is decidedly not what Andrée Préfontaine’s exhibition is about. She has installed two images which combine a nature theme, through the use of fruits and vegetables, with high levels of technology. On entering the gallery, your attention is riveted by the projected image of an enormous, pulsating strawberry on one wall. It brings to mind a huge, beating heart; inevitably, it also evokes sexual associations in the viewer. The second interactive installation combines colour, sound and projection, with the aid of a computer and a camera. Visitors are invited to move pieces of peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes and green beans around on a glass surface which is lit from underneath and whose image is projected on an adjacent wall.

With Tutti Frutti, the artist re-visits ‘pastoral’ themes in a unique and personal way, through the use of interactive audio-videographic installations. “Country themes aspire to praise beauty and the passage of time”, says Préfontaine. “Artists often combine representations of nature with visual and sound elements. These elements remind us that time is fleeting – inciting us to hold on to something lasting, since our feelings of pleasure are ephemeral.” Préfontaine thus invites the visitor to be part of the creative process in a variety of roles: those of cook, composer and artist, through the creation of a still-life image which comes to life through moving images and sounds.


Interactive art

Préfontaine is eager to explain the technology behind these installations, using timed photography, sound manipulation, computer recognition of specific sound and colour wave lengths, the creation of texture sounds, tracking, looping and other electronic means. She has honed these skills through her wide-ranging training in music, technology and the visual arts. The child of a family of musicians going back several generations, Préfontaine’s original training was as a cellist. But she wanted to break out of the family mould and was always fascinated by other art forms. Having earned a BA in cello interpretation at the Montreal Conservatory in 1977, she went on to complete her training in the visual arts with a BA at the Université du Québec à Hull in 1994, and an MA at the Université du Québec à Montréal in 1998.

Says Préfontaine about the image of the strawberry: “I wanted to represent the temporality of the image and of life.” And that is exactly what she achieved by videotaping the fruit across a continuum of time, until its desiccation and deterioration. She then speeded up the video and collated the images forwards and backwards, thereby achieving the pulsating action.

“This work allows me to enter contemporary art through its sophistication”, commented Glendon director of cultural and artistic affairs Martine Rheault. “It helps me to understand how many different ways one can conceive modern art.”

Tutti Frutti is at the Glendon Gallery from November 7 to December 15, Tuesday to Friday, 12:00 to 3:00; Saturday 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. The gallery’s website can provide further information at www.glendon.yorku.ca/gallery.

This article was submitted by Glendon communications officer Marika Kemeny


Published on November 9, 2006