Gabrielle Desmarais will be one of the artists featured in the upcoming contemporary jewelry exhibition, SEEING RED. She was born in Quebec in 1983 and received her degree from the Jewellery School of Montreal in 2010. Following her graduation, she was awarded the Janis Kerman Prize for Emerging Artists and was the first prize winner of the 7th National Jewellery Student Competition in Canada. She then pursued her education with workshops at Atelier en Route in France, with Wiilemijn De Greef and at Alchimia Contemporary Jewellery School in Florence, Italy. Her work has been exhibited in numerous shows and publications in Canada and abroad since 2010 and is also part of the permanent collection of Montreal’s Museum of Fine Art.
While she acknowledges the essence and origins of goldsmithing, Gabrielle’s work defies conformity by integrating both alternative and precious materials with traditional craft techniques. Gabrielle’s use of embroidery to embellish surface treatment became an integral part of her fabrication process and served as a clear commitment and ode to slowness and the reclaiming process of time. The imposing formats of the artist’s work reveal jewelry objects as sculptures, meant to be read in the realm of visual history codes and references.
Formal investigations led her to experiment with unexpected colour combinations using stones, metals and textiles which were then integrated in the most instinctive manner to create pieces that evoked contemplation and recollection.
Her more recent work has transitioned from her prior attraction to organic materials and shapes towards an exploration of space and structure. Her current project, Maquettes d’un Vaste Territoire Incertain (Uncertain Landscapes), is a series of brooches using various metal and assemblage techniques and treated to suggest ruins from a world now battered and worn through time, but still standing and strong. The metal structures are mounted in such a way as to present bold and cold surfaces, yet reveal inner spaces holding secret embroideries, allowing one to discover different aspects of the work from different angles. The inclusion of embroidery with its reference to old fashioned and laborious craftwork is rather evocative of the potential impact of time upon material, life, existence and space. Initially inspired by architectural practices and models, the series evolves to include the main themes of materiality and identity.
Maquettes d’un Vaste Territoire Incertain attempts to consolidate history, civilization, individuality, human life, material and space construction.