In the Spotlight
Artist Jose Aubin Ouellette’s work is featured as part of the AGA’s Future Station, the 2015 Alberta Biennial of Contemporary Art
Edmonton-based artist Jose Aubin Ouellette’s words, objects, paintings and installations have been featured at the Walter Phillips Gallery in Banff and Harcourt House Art Gallery in 2013 and 2014 but, in January, her work debuted in a new environment – the Art Gallery of Alberta.
Ouellette, 28, is one of many young artists featured in Future Station, the 2015 Alberta Biennial of Contemporary Art. Ouellette studied theatre design before transferring into the painting program at the University of Alberta when she realized that her interests were more in line with visual art.
Ouellette studied her craft first in Canada, then in Glasgow. In fact, it was there where she met four of the artists also featured in the Biennial. At the exhibit, she will be presenting a new sculptural installation that reflects her knowledge and love for the theatre. The piece – which includes ceramics, furniture, silk plants and textual support – features striking visuals, which are reminiscent of a stage set one might find in a theatrical production. The installation creates what looks to be an environment made for fictional characters.
“The wholeness of theatre is very appealing in the way it combines writing, performance, objects and installation,” says Ouellette. “I like to emphasize these similarities to help the viewer relate to art.”
Judging by her work, it’s no surprise that her studio space shifts with any given project. It’s reflective, perhaps, of Ouellette’s reluctance to identify as an artist. “Art is a form of play all your life until someone puts you in a box as an artist.”
What’s next for Ouellette? For now, her return to her hometown of Edmonton has been inspiring. Though she notes the conservative climate of the province, she’s keen to emphasize the positives. “There are good support structures and it’s in the artists’ best interest to help build the culture that they want to live in.”