In her sculpture practice, Annie Charland Thibodeau works to build new relationships with monumentality by addressing the sculptural object not as an independent element, self-sufficient and displaced, but as integrated into an environment, and she sometimes seeks to render this environment all-encompassing. Given her deep knowledge of the materiality – the properties, difficulties, and limitations – of carving stone, Charland Thibodeau took advantage of the residency to develop a more experimental approach to working with the material. She also combined local materials, such as quartz and mica, with raw clay and marble and granite powder in polygonal moulds, making delicate tiles that show a range of textures and behaviours when light passes through them, with a translucency that sometimes resembles porcelain. In these ceramic compositions, unpredictable points of tension emerge from the crystallization and cooling processes.
These experiments were based on practical and scientific knowledge inspired by the mentorship of the ceramicist Marianne Chénard and conversations with people in professions in which stone and its variants are key: petrographers, geologists, and architects. These encounters were made possible during a long-term residency with the support of Centre Bang, in Chicoutimi. Charland Thibodeau also had a chance to examine petrographs, layers of stone about thirty microns thick glued onto glass plates, which reveal the internal structures of minerals when viewed through a microscope.
In her approach, which is sensitive to both science and art, Charland Thibodeau works with industrial waste and experiments with original techniques, such as the laser etching made on shards of black granite produced before the residency, whose appearance, under a light beam, resembles obsidian. Stone, which we imagine as perennial and immutable, is in fact a changing material, marked by the passage of time, erosion, heat cracks. It evolves slowly and gradually in a geologic timeframe, with which we have no direct relationship. In spite of this, the use of stone – and of all materials – engenders a certain environmental impact, leading us to question what we generate and what we waste. Without departing from the recycling and reuse inherent to art practice, Charland Thibodeau reminds us of the physical, historical, and conceptual weight of stone and its variations.
Through sculpture, Annie Charland Thibodeau explores the performative potential of monumentality and of the materiality of objects: her installations offer an invitation to move around within them, reflect their host environment, and are revealed as their visitors inhabit them. Annie has received training in sculpture from the Maison des métiers d’art de Québec and holds a master’s degree from the Iceland University of the Arts. Her work has been presented in Québec – CIRCA art actuel, Centre Bang, Musée des beaux-arts de Sherbrooke – and abroad (Ireland, Italy, Iceland, Slovenia). She lives and works in Québec City.