Élise Provencher

Editor : Est-Nord-Est, résidence d'artistes
Location : Saint-Jean-Port-Joli
Year : 2022
Language : French / English
Author : Pascale Beaudet

Artist and author

Élise Provencher
For Élise Provencher, agency – particularly the agency of her works – is an essential notion. This means that the objects she makes have a power that goes beyond the everyday and the habitual reality: they form a bridge between what we understand and what is beyond our understanding. In this sense, they encourage introspection, leading us to reflect on the problems that concern us, both individually and collectively, and contribute to a form of transcendence. She has drawn lessons from her studies of the “primitive arts,” including from the cultures of the Maya and Indigenous peoples. The expressionistic figures that Élise models take incongruous poses. Drawn to the grotesque and to horror films, she distorts forms to provoke emotion, link strength and vulnerability, and incite discomfort. Her goal during her residency was to explore the scenography and contextualization of her objects. She seeks to move toward narrative – to bring works together so that they begin a dialogue between themselves and the person looking at them. Wood, clay, plaster, and Styrofoam are her favourite materials. The cabourons (hillocks) of Kamouraska inspired Élise to create rock and hill shapes, which she worked in two dimensions to create a background for sculptures. The transition from two to three dimensions is of particular interest to her. During the open studio days, her creative process was easily deciphered: images taken from books and magazines were pinned to the wall, chosen for the poses that they illustrated and reworked to accentuate them. One could easily match them against the sculptures already produced and see the transformations. The contextualization of the sculpture has a goal: theatricality, in which plays on scale and perspective strengthen the narrative, similar to strategies used in painted genre scenes. Finally, we sense that Élise draws on mythologies to create her own, both based on and transcending her reality.