Brenda Garand, "Northern Passage"
December 7, 2014
Opening reception: October 23, 2014, 6-8pm
Lesley Heller Workspace introduces the sculpture and drawings of Brenda Garand in her first New York solo exhibition, Northern Passage. Garand is French Canadian, Abenaki and English. This distinct personal heritage is essential to her work. Garand has spent years investigating the cultural links between the French and the indigenous peoples along the Northeastern corridor.Her work abounds with fluvial references, not only the physical pressure of water teeming along the narrow banks of the Northern rivers, but also the cultural pressure of merging peoples and histories.
Her sculptures are made of a variety of materials such as steel, wire, roofing paper, fabric, wool, silk, and rope. The combination of these elements convey both strength and fragility, and allude to the traditions of fishing, hunting, fur-trading, and trapping- all reinforcing a sense of place and history.
Garand’s titles often reflect the language and religious concepts of the Algonquin peoples. Lac-Mégantic is Abenaki- Lac, meaning lake and Mégantic, meaning to host many fish; Manitoulin, means spirit island in Ojibwe. The idea of the Supreme Being manifests itself in Manitou.
Garand’s personal narrative is significant in the Dirge series of sculptures and her large floor sculpture, It's Like Falling Into Water. They express the mourning her parents’ passing, as well as the loss of life and livelihood caused by the floods caused by Hurricane Irene in 2011. All however are imbued with optimism, and of a life yet to live. Her Deluge drawings, made with clay, india and walnut inks, are ruminations of change. They recollect the floating forms she saw in the White River during the flood- known and unknown.
Coming from a familiar sense of place, yet unknown to the viewer, Garand’s work symbolizes the adaptations that become necessary when nature’s power creates challenges and forces modification. They reflect lives that are constantly in motion, like the rushing water near her Vermont studio door.
Brenda Garand received her MFA in Sculpture from Queens College, City University of New York and her BFA in Sculpture from the University of New Hampshire. Recent exhibitions include: Lesley Heller Workspace NYC Building Beauty;National Academy Museum 183rdAnnual: An Invitational Exhibition of Contemporary American Art NYC; Reeves-Contemporary 535 West 24th St, NYC; Honey Space Object Salon 148 11th Ave.NYC; Wright State University Art Galleries Brenda Garand “Northern Fiction” Sculpture, Dayton, Ohio; Spheris Gallery Hanover, NH; American Academy of Arts and Letters Invitational Exhibition of Painting and Sculpture NYC; im n iL, Two Ones: Brenda Garand and Betsey Garand Brooklyn NY; Hampshire College, Amherst MA; A.V.C. Contemporary Arts Gallery, The Fuller Building, 57th St. NYC; 55 Mercer Gallery NYC; The College of William and Mary,Williamsburg VA; and the Meguro Museum of Art, Tokyo, Japan. Garand is the recipient of a Fulbright Grant to France; a Fulbright Berlin Seminar; The Marion and Jasper Whiting Foundation Grant to Bayeux, France; The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Research Grant, New Hampshire State Council on the Arts Individual Fellowship; Dartmouth College Senior Faculty Grant; Vermont Artist in Residence at The Carving Studio and Sculpture Center; and a Vermont Arts Council Individual Artist Grant. Residencies include Yaddo, Ragdale, Dorland Mountain Arts Colony, Atelier Silex in Québec, and the Pouch Cove Foundation in Newfoundland, Canada. Garand is Full Professor of Studio Art at Dartmouth College. Prior to this position she taught for eleven years as an adjunct at Queens College, City University of New York. She has also taught at The Chautauqua Art Institute, Parsons School of Design, and The New York Studio School. She has been a visiting artist at Princeton University, Colby College, the Vermont Studio Center, University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, University of New Hampshire, and the University of North Alabama in Florence, Western Connecticut State University, and Roger Williams University.