Por Hélder Ramos


Marie de Sousa nasceu em São Miguel e chegou ao Canadá com a família aos 6 anos de idade.  Tal como no caso de Teresa Ascenção, já tivemos a oportunidade de conversar anteriormente com Marie de Sousa noutras páginas do Sol mas, e em vésperas desta nova exibição dos seus trabalhos, quisemos trocar novamente impressões.

Continuamos assim com a série de artigos e entrevistas aos quatro artistas luso-Canadianos que irão expôr no Sem Saudade: Contemporary Art by Canadians of Portuguese Heritage, patente ao público de 18 de Maio a 29 de Junho, 2002 no Cambridge Galleries em Cambridge, Ontario. Info:1-519-621-0460 ou na internet: http://www.gallerycambridge.on.ca

Concluímos esta secção com uma descrição do trabalho de Marie de Sousa, incluido no programa da exhibição, escrito pela directora Anna Camara.

Aproveitamos para informar o leitor que às quartas, durante a primavera e verão, a Galeria de Arte de Ontario (AGO) abre as portas à comunidade com entrada gratuita entre as 18h00 e as 20h30.  No 317 Dundas St.West. Inf.: (416) 979-6648




S.P. How did you "know" to become an artist?

M.dS.  I was 26 when I took an evening course in drawing at OCA for fun - I then took several more over that summer and registered full time that following september. I'd always enjoyed drawing, but had never considered the possibility of turning it into a profession.


S.P.  Where did you study art?

M.dS.  I studied at the Ontario College of Art in Toronto from 1986 to 1988 and then transfered to the degree program at Concordia University in Montreal. I was there from 1989 to 1993 & for my final year I participated in an exchange program at the State University of New York at Purchase.


S.P.  And after graduating?

M.dS.  Since graduating in '93, I have participated in numerous artist-generated exhibitions in Toronto, Montreal and Chicago, such as in Canadian Sheild, Crosseyed and Systems of Exchange, as well as curated shows such as Personal Grounds and "#" at Tableau Vivant Gallery . And for the last three years I have been represented by the Red Head Gallery here in Toronto.


S.P.  Did you get any encouragement or support for your chosen field from your family? Has "being Portuguese" influenced this in any way?

M.dS.  Of course my parents didn't think this was a very practical decision - I had a pretty good job at the time and so on - but I have to say, however, that most artists I know also had a difficult time convincing their families that art was a career worth pursuing, regardless of their ethnicity.


S.P.  Can you describe what will you be showing at Sem Saudade?

M.dS.  I am showing 3 major pieces in this show: "I Could be You", "Following the Weather" and "Untittled (vibrater)". "I Could be You" is a series of 7 oil paintings, each 7"x9". These are portraits of myself in motion. This work was part of a collaboration with Tom Bendtsen for Crosseyed (an artist-generated group show that explored the collaborative process). In these paintings I attempted to suggest the motion of film while the other artist used film to suggest the stillness of painting. This was a formal investigation and also hinted at the way we are always desiring that which we don't have. Although I had for years worked with the idea of the passage of time and motion, this piece I think helped lead me to explore the possibilities of combining painting with other media, to create paintings that actually did move.


S.P.  Such as "Following the Weather"?

M.dS.  "Following the Weather", for example, is a large painting that is launched by neumatic pistons along a 26 foot long track. It refers to the ephemeral nature of our experience of time and the way it is entirely made up of ever fleeting mili-moments that are here and gone.  Running paralell to this is another concern that is more specific to painting itself - I feel that the experience of looking at a painting requires a focus and stillness of the viewer that we are not entirely comfortable with - we are so accostumed in our day to day lives to this bombardment of stimulus that makes us feel like we're busy or something - Following the Weather thus alludes to what I see as a diminished capacity for slowing down and taking the time - when approached the painting slides 26 feet to the opposite end of the wall so that it can be said to be both a "moving " painting and one that moves you (if you're compelled to follow it).


S.P.  Do you consider art to be a part of the overt-stimulus aflicting us in our society, do you see it as a refuge, or are you attempting to bridge these opposing views by creating art that cancels out the need for focus & attention?

M.dS.  I'm just pointing out how much more comfortable we are with that kind of stimulus, versus a still painting, for example, which requires an entirely different approach from the viewer - I'm also including myself in this - I want to do these works for myself as well as the viewer (I watch as much bad tv as the next person). I do think that our impatience with looking at painting says something - that perhaps we are loosing an ability we once found it necessary to develop - and I suppose that now we are developing another, but I do see it as a "loss" in any case


S.P.  And the last of the three?

M.dS.  "Untitled (vibrater)" is a time saver for the hurried art lover - it performs for you. Almost immediately the viewer is rewarded with a hologram-like effect, as a small stretcher buzzes and girates.


S.P. What are you presently working on?

M.dS.  I'm working on a number of different things - all involving painting - of course the new idea is always the most exciting and that involves a peice which combines painting with time-lapse video.Like most of my work of recent years it explores an aspect of our experience of the passage of time and also looks at our relationship to painting itself


S.P.  Any shows coming up?

M.dS.  This July I will be showing at the Katherine Mulhearn Gallery in Toronto and in 2003 I will be showing at Mercer Union in Toronto and Ispace Gallery in Chicago. 

I Could Be You,1998, Oil on board (1 of 7 self-portraits)



Marie de Sousa

Selections from I Could Be You (1999) and Timescapes (2000)


Marie de Sousa is an artist with a diverse body of work that, over twelve years of professional practise, has examined issues of identity, representation and the nature of painting itself. Educated in the theoretical and concrete foundations of painting, sculpture and electronics at the Ontario College of Art, Concordia University and the University of New York at Purchase, she is the most senior artist in Sem Saudade. A member of the Meat collective and the Red Head Gallery, she is also the most established of the four in Toronto’s visual arts community. She has produced a range of work from photorealisitic and abstract paintings to conceptual sculpture and hybrid forms. The seven self-portraits that comprise I Could Be You are part of a larger collaboration produced with artist Tom Bendsten, first shown at the Toronto group exhibition, Personal Grounds, curated by Elizabeth Fearon in 1999.  De Sousa considers this work to be the starting point...

A finished work is a statement that “the viewer enters into backwards,” says de Sousa, “into him/herself.” Good painting may elicit many responses, but painting competes with a plethora of visual stimuli and de Sousa thinks that the static nature of the form and the stillness required to view it can make the viewer feel awkward. Following the Weather is a placid, static cloudscape that draws the viewer near and then, in a footstep, abruptly takes off with a hydraulic whoosh on a steel rail.  It has the opposite effect of what you would expect when viewing a painting, especially a banal one, and is meant to cause discomfort. Untitled is a work de Sousa calls “a real time-saver” because, upon approach, motion sensors trigger the small canvas to buzz and gyrate, making the painting unviewable. Both were made for Timescapes, a five-part solo installation that de Sousa showed at..

Recently, de Sousa has incorporated other media in her ongoing exploration of time passing. Beginning with photographs taken at regular intervals of the same woodsy scene over the course of one calendar year, she paints each consecutive snapshot onto a single canvas. In the studio, she shoots one frame for every twenty minutes of labour, so that an animated documentary or motion picture of the process, with sound elements, emerges. The video, then, is a record of her time, “of the becoming of the painting, as well as a record of the site itself as it metamorphoses through the year.” She is interested in the layered, opaque canvas that will result and in the contrast between the two technologies.