Carnaval in Montreal

Galerie d’Este brings together four vibrant young artists with works around the theme of Carnaval.

“Double en soi,” (detail) by Geneviève Lapierre

Given our love for dressing up and throwing a good party, it’s surprising that Montreal doesn’t do more about Carnaval. Westmount’s Galerie d’Este is doing what it can to change that, though, with a four-artist exhibition that references the festival of masks, street music, urban tribalism and above all, excess.

Curators Samara Leibner and Daisy Lilly Best were excited about the colourful and graphic extremes of Carnaval when they conceived of the show, which features works by Geneviève Lapierre, Nathan Brown, Meghan Hildebrand and RBC Painting Prize finalist Betino Assa.

“Deths of Adonis!!!,” by Nathan Brown

“Thematically, there’s a lot going on that’s about the distinction between restraint and letting yourself go,” says Leibner. “Something that inspired us about this group of artists is that they all shared some kind of elements, or release and excess, even though they’re very different from each other.”

“They’re all fairly young artists,” she continues, “that we think are kind of exciting.”

The show is a departure for the gallery, which usually creates shows around the stable of artists it represents. “We do a lot of the putting together the shows of our regular artists, and we do the in-house curating,” Leibner explains. But this is the first time that we two have taken it upon ourselves to do something with artists that don’t have representation in Montreal.

“It’s a nice chance, I guess, because a lot of times we work with artists that we know, and even if it’s an artist in the show, it’s often an artist in the gallery, in group shows, previously. So this was really interesting because we had to actually start from scratch. We had to try and get everybody organized and kind of excited about it. And that was new.” ■

Carnaval, Galerie d’Este (1329 Greene, Westmount), vernissage Feb. 7, 5-8 p.m., with masks and candy!

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