Frances Adair Mckenzie

Les pas perdus

RESIDENCY April 30 to May 24, 2018
EXHIBITION May 25 to June 15, 2018
OPENING May 25, 2018, 17h
+ LAUNCH of the zine Trop de réalité

our lady of mandrake
our lady the bayou
our lady of subways
our lady of blind cats
our lady of albino alligators
our lady of desperadoes
our 300 pound lady who sits on stoops
in a house-dress in the summer night
our lady of tenements

– Litany (for Kathy Acker), Diane di Prima


Curator notes

That art is a matter of knowledge or contacts, as it easily scandalize, has everything to please me when I think about it. It’s a sign, hooray (or first), that it’s still possible to sum up relationships based on shared values, shared lives before the rest. It’s a sign, hooray (or second), that it will not happen without knowing the other, the artist, as we would not be knowing the other, there, the industry. We would be especially tempted to put the latter in the other team, there, to humiliate it again in a spectacular hockey game where, in addition, we would never had the right end of the stick. It’s a sign, hooray (or finally), that we can develop an instinct for artistic friendship. It makes the curator a kind of host based on intuition, emotion and projection, in short on imagination to introduce people to each other. La salle des pas perdus would perhaps be his home, or the house of who would wants it, where art is thought of as a team and is not successful without a little silliness, play and essential delays. Art is then a matter of unknowns and strangers who come together from common personal necessities.

It’s a great loop to talk about my joy in getting to know Frances Adair Mckenzie myself, who brings me closer to the patient and meticulous studio work, who takes the time to read as she work and look, who dwells on the words and the right ones, who is a source of findings that she keeps (obviously) not only for her. Her familiar presence makes you want to do too, and it is only after this presence that a visitor will be able to feel it through objects, animations and interventions. And there could be no better place for a first (or next) meeting.


Exhibition description

In an alcove juxtaposing the gallery is presented the video of 4:10 minutes FRY GUY; A Table Play in Three Parts on a large TV. The video, whose narration is in English, features French subtitles.
The immediately visible element of the exhibition is a pale lilac corner wall about four feet high by about fifteen feet long at the end of the gallery. It follows the orientation of the walls at the rear, although a little at an angle to them. Its upper corners are truncated at an angle of about 45 degrees. Recalling vaguely a ruin, this wall is pierced by two openings on the ground which, like half-buried windows, contain stained glass whose patterns form sequences of words. Some of these are truncated along the length, as if they were going through the floor. They reads: “ Our Lady of Mandrake“, “Our Lady the Bayou“, “Our Lady of Blind Cats” and Our Lady of Subways“. The back and front of the stained glass windows have different finishes (tin in front, copper behind).
The back of a black leather jacket on the back wall is distinctly visible above the small wall. It presents a decoration of roses (stems, spines and flowers) in clay in three dimensions.
On the shortest part of the corner wall, there is a cracked and petrified eraser, while on the back surface of that wall hangs a molded and painted thumb, on which stands a very small clay Venus.
Two other painted fingers with a gray nail polish can be found elsewhere in the gallery, on the floor below the windows.
In front of the short part of the wall stands a small plaster sculpture of organic form about 1 foot in height, wider at its base than at its upper part, a bit similar in shape to a nose. On the top has been deposited an American”MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN” cap of industrial manufacturing and artisanally tampered with (burned then rewritten with orange paint, with some imperfections, presenting the following alternative message: “MAKE PUSSY KING OF THE AGAIN PIRATES“.
Still in front of the wall and almost in the center of the gallery is an almost spherical stained glass hanging from a horizontal metal structure made of a series of consecutive square edges about an inch in diameter and having a flat foot of which a portion ends in a semicircle. It looks like a metal shovel broken in several places. The lateral surface of these edges is painted with celadon green. Behind this sculpture, on the ground is a transparent lens about 4 inches wide filled with water.
The same type of amalgamated sculpture (but this time vertical and with a peach-colored side face) faces the gallery windows, which are covered with a diaphanous fabric of a warm color between peach and beige.
A third quasi-spherical window was placed on the floor, in a narrow corridor formed by the small wall.
On the wall to the right (the one presenting the title of the exhibition) and the wall to the left are two white high-reliefs of organic form that seem to present frozen waves, but whose general shape remains rectangular. The one on the right, vertical, stands on two legs of a dark brown and recalls the profile of a woman, while the one on the left, horizontal, floats in the middle of the wall.
Many subtle, sometimes miniature interventions can be found throughout the gallery, such as a constellation of tin splatters on the windows, a glass piece balancing on the edge of the windows, dried crab legs against the leg of one of the high-reliefs, a pink chewing gum near a piece of stained glass, etc.


Photo credits : Patrick Simard


Frances Adair Mckenzie working


Frances Adair Mckenzie is a multi-media artist who combines genres and technologies as a means to invoke the construction of fantastical internal and external worlds. Her work in motion-design, animation and immersive installation evokes a din of concentrated effects that meld both high and low cultural references and technologies. With a simultaneous eye to the history of art and the culture of Pop she extends upon the precedents of feminism and digital culture only to foreground the spectacle as a D.I.Y. space of subversion and tool of empowerment.

Artist’s Website.