Ginette Bouchard, Floris Umbra – Robert Legendre, On Floris Umbra

[Winter 1995-1996]

by Robert Legendre

For more than ten years, Ginette Bouchard has been exploring, within her artistic photographic research, old techniques such as platinum/palladium proofs. Curiously, the artist’s attraction to old techniques has led to a profound interest in computer technologies in visual art. She takes pictures of the elements of her images using the usual photographic procedure.

Then, she digitizes and assembles her images and modifies them using an image-modification program. Finally, she produces large random-point negatives that unique, tangible, and final matrices for each of her works.

The artist transcends – by far, it must be said – the visual insipidness of models and references offered by the appearance and evolution of “new” computer technologies, as she has utterly mastered the old techniques. As well, she has developed through her pictorial research a visual language based on a distinct, refined sensitivity, enhanced by an uncompromised visual rigour in which the work-object dominates as both pretext and finality.

To conclude, I want to share a few lines of a text written in 1993 by Mélanie Blais: “What distinguishes Ginette Bouchard’s work is her way of posing the problem of time in such a way as to break through the limitations of photography. In her works, the ‘this is what was’ of the photographic image is constantly bracketed, or even contradicted, by the enticements of the framework of representation that she effects. To this temporal work is linked a more metaphoric dimension in which the artist casts a critical look on our relationship with the world by pointing out the inherent finitude of things and beings… Bouchard’s work is based not only on the aesthetic of traditional photography, but on the history of painting. This specific access of the photographic gives rise to images in which the eternal opposition between photographs and paintings is sublimated.”1

1 Exhibition catalogue for Troyes, France, published by the Faculté des Arts, Université Laval (June 1993).

Ginette Bouchard is an artist and a professor at Université Laval’s École des arts visuels, and her photographs are exhibited in Canada and Europe. Several exhibition catalogues devoted to her work have been published, including Empreintes mimétiques and Témoins silencieux. As well, her works are included in numerous Canadian and foreign collections. The works presented in this issue of CVphoto are taken from a series produced thanks to the assistance of Université Laval’s Bureau de la recherche subventionnée.