Born in Montreal, 1967
Lives and works in Montreal
Through the lens of sculpture, Valérie Blass explores the tensions between form, figure, materials and art historical tropes. She often uses everyday objects and industrial materials, such as fractured figures and shattered artifacts, as a starting point to organically explore voids and absences in both natural history and art history. Blass reimagines and reinvents the present by borrowing from different sources, such as hunting supply catalogues or discount stores. In turn, the artist creates new worlds by observing and reintroducing the details of time and space. She anthropologically uses negative space in material culture to (re)present history as we know it.
Blass has a vision of a curious present: a place where seemingly stoic objects become alert sentinels, spent warriors, princesses and other mystical figures. She remains loyal to a sculptural tradition in her new versions of icons and figures. Using a variety of color, pattern, texture and scale, Blass fuses these elements together in the suggestion of an alternate reality—one that opposes sameness. Her work relies on the responses and reactions of an engaged audience. The immediate present and future are now anticipated with an unexpected 'tour de force'.
Blass holds an MFA in visual and media arts from Université du Québec à Montréal. She has had solo institutional exhibitions in Montréal, Québec City, Toronto and Calgary. In 2012, Blass was commissioned by Public Art Fund New York for a yearlong group exhibition at the MetroTech Center and was selected to participate in the major survey exhibition, Oh, Canada – Contemporary Art From North North America at MASS MoCA. In 2013, Blass' work was included alongside such artists as Abbas Akhavan, Nick Relph and LaToya Ruby Fraser in the exhibition Traces of Life (Berlin, Germany). The work of Valérie Blass was recently presented in parallel to the Istanbul Biennale at the Art International Istanbul fair, in a group exhibition curated by Geoffrey Farmer at the Art Gallery of Alberta and in a solo exhibition presented by Parisian Laundry Projects at The Hole (New York City). Blass’ work is found in the collections of The National Gallery of Canada, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal, the Musée national des beaux arts du Québec, The Royal Bank of Canada, the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec and innumerable corporate and private collections throughout Canada, the United States and Europe. Valérie Blass was the recipient of the prestigious Martyn-Lynch-Staunton award, multiple awards from the Gala des arts visuels organized by the Association of Contemporary Art Galleries and the Prix-Louis-Comtois from the City of Montreal. She has upcoming solo shows in 2015 at Artspeak (Vancouver) and Daniel Faria Gallery (Toronto).