The AOE Arts Council started its 2015-2016 season on March 19, 2015 at the AOE Gallery. Mélanie Tessier, emerging artist in the Outaouais region and the first to exhibit, is offering a series of paintings with women as the main theme. Entitled FeatHer, this solo exhibit brings together a variety of figurative portraits in acrylic, in which women are shown in many shapes and colours. “Shaking like a leaf that is about to be drawn, I feel blessed to show my paintings, my expressions woven with blacks, my poetry tinted with whites, to have the chance to soften looks and touch the imagination of others, to make them happy.” Mélanie explained. The exhibit runs from March 19 to April 22, and there will be a chance to meet the artist on Sunday March 22 from 1 to 3 p.m., during the Beau’s Art event at the Shenkman Arts Centre.
“Artist, painter, sketcher of the universe, shaper of acrylic women, paintbrush embroiderer, drawer of lace, I present you my world, myself.” – Mélanie Tessier
Could you tell me a bit about your idea behind this exhibition, ‘FeatHer’, any themes you were trying to explore?
Like plumage, women are multi-coloured, colourful, according to age and ethnicity, sometimes light and downy and sometimes immense and showy. Women wear their emotions, represent themselves, invent themselves, according to the life they have created, it is this diversity, this blossoming flora that I am trying to capture in an image.
In your exhibition proposal, you talked about how women are an inspiration for your work. Could you tell me a bit more about the subject of these artworks?
Like my approach, women are emotional, react with their hearts, they are intuitive, they always try to improve life, they surround themselves with beauty, that’s what inspires me and distinguishes me as a woman, as well.
How do you feel women and femininity dialogue with your painting and illustration techniques?
With the techniques used, with the materials, the brightness, or the feminine, vibrant colours or light lace, flowers and women, of course.
Have you always been interested in exploring depictions of the figure in your artwork?
I started painting about two years ago, as a passion, an obligation to express myself, the subject matter was obvious to me. I have always had expressive women in my life, inspiring beings who invent dreams. Mothers, grandmothers, nieces who were passionate about life, felt the need to take advantage of it and an eternal desire to love, it was contagious.
Since some of your artworks are hybrids between paintings and drawings, how do you self-identify yourself? What attracted you to combine these mediums in some instances?
Underlying all the figurative paintings, there is often a sketch, a rough outline, a basic idea, a structure, the drawing that is more pictorial. Painting allows me to colour, add intensity, richness, texture. Like a human being, the drawing is the body, which is then dressed in paint.
What is the most enjoyable part of working in painting and drawing mediums? Are there any particular techniques, processes, or materials that you find favourable?
Drawing for the geometry, technique, pure lines and painting for the spontaneity, fluidity and colour. I like the versatility of acrylic, which allows for an infinite number of techniques.
How would you describe your studio or work space?
My bubble, my artist’s house, I go inside and the ideas appear, my canvases call me and I become an artist.
Could you describe your process when creating a work?
Mainly emotion, I have images of the painting, thoughts that light up in my mind, a vision of what seems beautiful to me. I put colour to the canvas, then I draw the outline, the basic shapes, then I paint the details.
Where do you find your artistic inspirations? Are there any artist references, places, or materials that you are always drawn back to?
In the people around me, my daily life, the people I meet, the things I see and my dreams, too. I like feathers, lace, stones, flowers, nature and always women, and I try to integrate them into my paintings as a recurrent theme.
What would you like the visitors of the AOE Gallery to take away from your exhibition?
To have seen beauty, experienced emotions, entered into the Universe of Melle Tess and been affected by it.
Why did you decide to become and AOE member?
For the opportunities that the Council offers, for the visibility and help with finding tenders. Because, as a member, you are supported by people with a passion for art, who invest and put a lot of energy into promoting artists.
Why is it important for you as a member to exhibit in the AOE Gallery?
It is an honour and a joy for me to have been selected. It is one step closer to my dreams, one more feather in my creative wings, in my career as an emerging artist, on my cloud of fantasy. I would like to get noticed, to reach the public and art lovers so that they give me a place on their wall of interests.
Exhibit: March 19 – April 22, 2015
Meet the Artist : March 22, 1 – 3 p.m.
Shenkman Arts Centre
245 Centrum Blvd,
Ottawa, ON K1E 0A1
About the Artist
This article was written as a part of the series of interviews with the 2015-16 AOE Gallery artists.