“They are not carrying out the struggle, they are the struggle,” Isa Pardi writes about her latest exhibit, Peaches and Others, kicking off tonight at Rats 9.
While on the surface it is a collection of work about women in punk rock, the real subtext here, as the Rats 9 folks say, is a “celebration of feminine power” channelled through punk rock. Of course, naming the exhibition after one of music’s more idyllic provocateurs is a sure-fire way to get the message across. Who better than Peaches than to chew up, fully absorb and spit back out that female punk spirit?
“Peaches, that’s music that I normally listen to when I work, and I really feed off the energy,” says Pardi, who hails originally from France, but is now Montreal-based. She makes up one-fifth of the Rats 9 collective, an artist-run studio and centre based in the Belgo Building.
Pardi liked the idea of praising women who don’t fit the mold. The work demonstrates a certain charismatic, free-spirited quality, never quite letting the work settle into just one category. “I don’t like using the world ‘bricolage,’” says the artist, but she explains that for this installation, she condensed all of her different techniques to produce some of these works. She painted, drew and used scratching techniques, utilizing sharp lines and vibrant reds and blacks to “boldly and proudly represent women.”
As for those “others” also mentioned in the exhibit’s title, Pardi goes on to say she was inspired by women of that certain energy. “Women, freedom, it really touches all aspects of life,” says Pardi. Musical acts like Kleenex and French filmmaker Virginie Despentes also inspired the works. But the name and the attitude that really really speaks to both artist and audience is that of Peaches, whose name is scrawled onto one of the artworks displayed on Pardi’s website. And so the teaches of Peaches live on. ■
The opening/vernissage for Peaches and Others starts tonight, Dec. 7 at 7 p.m., at Galerie Rats 9 (Belgo Building, 372 Ste-Catherine W., #350), and both Gashrat and Dead Wife will perform. The show remains up through Dec. 22.