22 July 2015
In my newest body of work, I extract silver backings from old mirrors to expose the spirits of the mirrors. I start with the premise that the silver mirror backings have absorbed the energy of the people who looked into the mirrors and that, like old photographic silver processes, this “film” contains information that can be revealed.
Each mirror has a story, and each mirror has a unique response to the process of being transferred. For example, during my recent residency at the MacDowell Colony, I brought the transfer from a 1937 dresser mirror, whose modulated surface deforms what it reflects. My fellow residents modeled for the mirror by interacting with an old, satin wedding dress, and I photographed or filmed their performance as seen on the reflective surface. The resulting images became Rorschach pictures produced by the deformation of the particular mirror transfer. Many different characters emerged from each model’s performance. I call this mirror transfer “SeeHer,” a play of words referencing a seer’s medium abilities. For this project, I created a context in which my role was simply to record the mirror transfer’s aesthetic.
The material I have collected from these mirrors now serves as a basis to further develop the video and sculptural components of the work in an installation format.
Some of the material collected at MacDowell can be seen on Vimeo, they are The MacDowell Fellow Series, class of Spring 2015. Please contact me if you are interested in viewing the videos that are labeled Private.
5 March 2014
13 January 2014
INSTALLATION Presented at/Présentée à Plein SudJanuary 25- March 1 2014 25 Janvier- 1 Mars 2014 150, de Gentilly East, local D-0626 Longueuil (Québec) (450) 679-4480 Opening reception February 15 (3:00 – 5:00 p.m.) Vernissage 15 Février (15 h – 17 h) The installation is composed of two complex of works, Mutherer (Two or Three Things I Know About Her) and Family. Mutherer (Two or Three Things I Know About Her) Installation, sculpture and video projection
Mutherer suggests to be free of inherited patterns and imprints which inhibit creativity.
A mirrored dressing table is the origin of an unfolding family of events. Domestic furniture is dissected to recreate new entities from the experience and free association of the meaning of “Mother”. The different elements exhibited form a sequence of cause and effect which reveal the inherent logic contained within the exhibition.
Painted on three wall panels the contour of the initial mirror-dresser used for Mutherer is then divided into individual elements, and recomposed to form a mural.
L’installation comprend deux complexes d’oeuvres: Mutherer (Deux ou Trois Choses Que Je Sais d’Elle) et Famille
Installation, sculptures et projection vidéo.
Mutherer suggère, psychologiquement parlant, l’idée de s’affranchir des appris qui peuvent inhiber la créativité.
Une ancienne commode/vanité est à l’origine d’un corpus d’œuvres qui forment une famille d’objets hétéroclites. Ceux-ci sont le résultat du démantèlement du meuble, de sa recomposition en plusieurs éléments distincts, et d’associations d’idées liées à l’idée de la mère/matrice. Les différentes composantes de l’œuvre forment une séquence de causes et effets qui suggère qu’il y a une logique inhérente contenue à l’intérieur de ce petit système.
Peint sur trois panneaux muraux, le contour de la commode-vanité à l’origine de Mutherer est alors divisée en éléments distincts, et recomposée pour former une murale.
Review on Akimblog- by Stacey De Wolfe
Just up the street from the MAC at Circa, Denise Dumas’s Waves speaks to some of the same themes explored in Yesterday’s Tomorrows, in particular, to Iñigo-Manglano Ovalle’s film Le Baiser/The Kiss, with its exploration of Mies van der Rohe’s famously unlivable Farnsworth House. According to legend, the house’s original owner was too uncomfortable to actually live in the house because its glass-walled structure made for too much interaction with the always encroaching natural environment. Dumas’ multi-media work also seems concerned with the impact that external elements have on the personal realm, as her table, the heart of domestic life, is continuously intruded upon by the natural world and its forces. But unlike Ovalle’s work, which populates the screen with figures who narrate the story with their actions – a distancing effect that serves to emphasize the fact that because the private is made public, it loses that which makes it private and personal in the first place – Dumas’ empty chairs seem to invite the spectator to imagine themselves in the work.
Stacey DeWolfe is a Montreal filmmaker and teacher. She has written for C Magazine and is the arts writer for the Montreal Mirror
15 June 2010
13 May 2010
Presented at Centre d’Exposition CIRCA
May 22nd- June 19th, 2010372 Rue Ste-Catherine West Montreal, QC (514) 393-8248
Sculpture, video and sound
This installation is a visual poem I offer you, so you can let yourself float with the waves. Take your time, walk around, sit down and imagine you are at the theatre. You are both spectator and actor. I share my story because I am asked to tell ; but it is your own story that will speak to you.
Waves/Vagues is inspired by the climate of fear and insecurity prevailing in the USA these days. Whether politically, socially, ecologically or economically, there is always a crisis. The tension is palpable, and I question how this unsettling context affects our daily lives. Beyond the particular social and contextual circumstances, which inform this project, underlie cultural identity issues. Living within the culture and the language of the other means that we are divided, so we become observers, translators, and we compare. Why is it that in Quebec, we do not feel the American stress? Is it that the wave hasn’t yet crossed the border?
The tension of duality is a recurrent theme in my work. Being a twin plays a role in the origin of this desire for TWO. The installation’s dynamic is based on the idea of a dividing line. Combined with the displacement of the familiar, where sea waves animate the surfaces of an over-stretched kitchen table, illusion and reality are orchestrated to challenge our perception. Being the core of the display, the dividing plane operates as an imaginary mirror, where the illusion of perfect synchronicity only lasts a moment, depending on the point of view.
L’œuvre est un poème visuel que je te donne à voir spectateur, pour que tu te laisses porter par les vagues. Prends ton temps, circule, assieds-toi et imagine que tu es au théâtre. Tu es spectateur et acteur. Mon histoire n’est qu’un point de référence, que je partage parce qu’on me demande de dire ; mais c’est ton histoire à toi qui te parlera.
Vagues/Waves s’inspire du climat aigu d’instabilité et d’insécurité que nous vivons présentement aux États-Unis. Que ce soit au niveau social, politique, écologique ou économique, rien ne va plus, la tension est palpable, et je questionne comment se traduit ce climat de crise dans nos vies. Au-delà des circonstances sociales/contextuelles particulières qui informent ce projet, s’ajoutent, en trame de fond, le fait de l’identité culturelle et le rapport à l’autre. Vivre dans la culture et dans la langue de l’autre, c’est se diviser; on devient observateur, traducteur, et on compare. Pourquoi, au Québec, on ne ressent pas ce stress américain ? La vague n’a pas traversé la frontière ?
La tension des polarités est un thème récurent dans mon travail. Ma gémellité joue un rôle dans ce désir du DEUX. Dans l’installation, la dynamique opère à partir d’une ligne de division et du déplacement de ce qui est familier, où des vagues animent les surfaces d’une table de cuisine séparée et étirée au maximum. Illusion et réalité sont orchestrées de façon à défier notre perception. Placé au centre, le plan qui divise le dispositif en deux crée un effet miroir où l’illusion de parfaite synchronicité ne dure qu’un moment, tout dépend du point de vue.
2 December 2009
A three channel video, sound and sculpture installation.
The project is composed of: three 46 inches galvanized steel rings on the floor, 12 inches high, which suggest containers to collect rain from a leaking roof. They are also projection surfaces with mirrors adjusted to reflect images from digital projectors above each container. A reflective wall piece titled “In Control” serves as a counterpoint to the chaos and echoes the domestic theme.
Three video sequences are synchronized to form a loop of 8 minutes and 15 seconds apiece, where rain and thunder form the continuous background we hear and see. A different event appears in each container: Waves shows coffee being stirred while radio extracts list the words most heard on the news since the events of 9.11; Economist Soup deals with social turmoil and the difficulty of assimilating all that is happening; and Maison uses a child’s nightmare of a house being flooded and invaded by sharks as a symbol to combine recent economic and ecologic events.
Images of Installation
Presented @ Gallery 119, Lowell, MA. Oct-Nov. 2009
4 October 2009
Oct 20 – Nov 14, 2009
Lowell, MA — Video, sculpture & sound installation.
Canadian sculptor and multi-media artist Denise Dumas investigates boundaries and identity. As an immigrant, she is keenly aware of the borders and intersections of cultural, social and political interaction. Dumas believes that reality changes according to the environment and social context that we inhabit. She finds that current economic ills and political fears have created an insidious climate of insecurity that permeates our daily lives. Dumas’ video installation is a metaphor for this troubled climate, her stormy environment mirroring the unsettling times in which we live.
A three-channel video projection, Make A Wish combines images of thunderstorms and water with an accompanying soundtrack of voiced concerns to envelop the gallery in an electrical storm of uncertainty. Watery surfaces spill with a myriad of visions that form a layered collage of contemporary troubles. Mixing real and virtual imagery, Dumas creates multiple points of view that redefine domestic, political, ecological, social, and economic ideas.
Dumas–” My work addresses psychologically charged situations, while exploring the language and its inventive uses, to visually translate aspects of human behavior and consciousness. This takes form in the metaphorical situations I create, in which I either perform, film, or use my sculptures as theatre or as actors.”
Dumas installation is intended to empower us by eliciting our resolve in the face of real and conjured threats. Like the artist, we are to summon our own sense of individual identity as a rudder to navigate through confusing circumstances and environments.
Reception Saturday October 24, 3- 6 pm
Hours: Tue-Sat, 12 noon-5 pm.
119 Chelmsford Street Lowell, MA 01851