I dropped by the Montreal's Red Bird Gallery (Oiseau Rouge) on Van Horne last Friday night to check out my friend Emily Pelstring’s performance piece “Abortion Spa”. Tucked away in an old loft building this atmospheric, vintage exhibition space is a revelation, and so is Jessica Mensch’s stunning series of oil paintings. Titled "The Wrong Feeling", her portraits capture the sitter in what Jessica calls an "unstructured moment" - a fleeting pose, a moment of awkwarness, an everyday gesture. The images are lucid, dark, warm, and glowing with diffuse light. Equally absorbing are Jessica's larger works which echo the traditional female nude paintings (aka naked lady on a sofa), but she turns this stereotypical subject on its ear by substituting the female sitter with male models who gaze out of the canvas with a Goyaesque stare.
A visit to this show is strongly recommended!
Totally hopping vernissage, by the way.
Red Bird Gallery / Oiseau Rouge
135 VanHorne (corner Waverly)
“The Wrong Feeling”
April 23 – May 3, 2010
Here's a short clip of Emily and Jessica's performance "Abortion Spa". Only at the very end did I think of pulling out my iPhone to make a recording, so what you're seeing is the last 45 seconds of the 3 minute performance.