Although Ingrid Tremblay works with marble, fibre, even putty, her hands seem to be particularly happy with wood. And recently, this material has taken centre stage in a new project titled Perdue en forêt, through which she hopes to get to know different species by exploring a variety of techniques. This means that the offer of a residency at Est-Nord-Est came at just the right moment. Her well-defined program was divided into three parts.
First, she made articulated nets from a few big planks of linden, cherry tree, and butternut; although these assemblages of rings are shaped rather roughly, they are surprisingly malleable. This was a true technical challenge, as the links – some circular, some oval, all interlinked – must be patiently liberated from the wood without breaking them. Over her two months of research, Tremblay produced a series of these sculptures, which enabled her to explore different degrees of finishing and a variety of shapes and display formats.
Then she sculpted several blocks of tupelo wood to reproduce at scale, seeking the illusion, of several sheets of paper that had been carefully creased beforehand. Here, the title Relation épistolaire inspired Tremblay, who enjoyed concentrating on direct carving into this pale-coloured, very light wood.
Finally, she perfected the technique of damascene marquetry, which she learned, patiently, by following the teachings of a Syrian master with whom she corresponded by video. Like her other residency projects, this one presented a real technical challenge, but here it is the symbolic strength of the approach that is evident. Yes, she makes templates, cuts out fine sticks of wood, and assembles them to form motifs such as those on the small jewel box in her family that was the spark inspiring this work. But what is most touching and captivating is the sense of appropriation of a culture that, although it is threaded through Tremblay’s family tree, is still not well known to her. She embraces this research with curiosity and is eager to recompose, in her way, in original and contemporary pieces, the delicate traditional motifs from the country of her mother’s birth.
Ingrid Tremblay explores the evocative, narrative, and poetic power of objects and materials. Her transformations of matter, using traditional or digital sculptural techniques, are inspired by memories, places, myths, and stories. The idea of the mark is omnipresent in her works – marks left by past experiences, labour, or nature. Tremblay holds a master’s degree in sculpture from the University of Texas at Austin (2018). She has had exhibitions and attended residencies in Québec, the United States, and Europe. She has been the recipient of major grants, including the Graduate School Recruitment Fellowship from the University of Texas and Fountainhead Fellowship from Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts. She lives and works in Montréal.