Mélanie Rocan

Piercing the Veil

new paintings
February 16 - March 24, 2018
Opening Reception Friday February 23, 7-10pm

Piercing the Veil
Piercing the Veil
Piercing the Veil
Grand Entrance
Tangled Heart
The Nothing

Piercing the Veil

Piercing the Veil, 2018
installation view

Piercing The Veil

My work observes the harsh reality of our world, and yet tries to find hope, beauty and optimism within its often tragic and foreboding themes. I am strongly influenced by my surroundings and the way elements from various environments, including the domestic space, the studio, familiar landscapes and nature, serve as visual imagery to guide me through my practice of communicating with paint. Images accumulate as I work, furthering the development of ideas in my current practice as well as new ideas for the future. In the early stages of the work, initial images spark the process of painting. During the making of the work there is a constant shifting between building and re-building within the framework of memory, with suggestive marks allowing for new territory to be explored. Using memory to build the image allows me to reinvent the experience, to magnify, dissolve, or make it disappear while I am painting. I often let the painting linger between movement and stillness, and this is captured in the final product. I am also mindful of contradictions, which I find interesting—the dualities that are in constant flux, the oppositions and harmonies within the human condition. There exists a dichotomy between the inner emotional condition and the psychological unease with the environment depicted in the paintings.

Piercing The Veil presents a recent series of paintings inspired by information scattered on the Internet. We live in an age when technological advances cause information to be overflowing, and lies are often mixed together with truths. I am interested in the paradox the Internet is creating, and perplexed by the mixture of reality and deceptive information intertwining together in a kind of Orwellian reality. And I am perturbed by how easily the Internet spreads information to leave people confused about how to discern truth from fiction. Are we living in a post-fact age when the Internet is loosening and distorting our grip on reality?

The title of the show is inspired by the ancient Greek word Apocalypses, which is translated to mean an uncovering, a disclosure of knowledge or a revelation. The work often hovers between revealing and concealing the manner in which the paint is applied. As well, the subject is abstracted with curtain coverings, and the more you uncover, the more mysteries and questions are raised. I am also concerned about how social technology reduces actual social involvement and psychological wellbeing, a theme reflected by the feeling of foreboding in my work. I attempt to prick the viewer’s conscience, and to ask humanity’s fundamental questions, including how we exist in this world between the conflicting forces of good and evil.

- Mélanie Rocan, January 2017

Mélanie Rocan is a Franco-Manitoban artist based in Winnipeg. She has a BFA from the University of Manitoba (2003) and an MFA from the University of Concordia in Montreal (2008) during which time she participated in an exchange program at the Glasgow School of Art in Scotland. As a three-time semifinalist for the RBC Painting Competition, Rocan has exhibited at the Power Plant in Toronto, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Montreal, the Contemporary Art Gallery in Vancouver, the Winnipeg Art Gallery and the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art in Toronto. Rocan has also exhibited in venues in Glasgow, Scotland, in France and the United States. In 2012 – 2013 her work was the subject of a survey exhibition, Souvenir involuntaire organized byt the Doris McCarthy Gallery, at the University of Toronto Scarborough campus. This exhibition toured to the Kenderdine Art Gallery in Saskatoon and Plug-In ICA in Winnipeg. The bilingual catalogue includes an essay by Josée Drouin-Brisebois. Rocan is the recipient of awards and grants from the Canada Council, Manitoba and Winnipeg Arts Council. She teaches at the University of Manitoba. Piercing The Veil is Rocan's eleventh solo exhibition at Paul Petro Contemporary Art