Alisa Arsenault

The Work : À Cheval
The Subject : Yvon Gallant and Nancy Morin

Yvon Gallant and Nancy Morin

The artists Yvon Gallant and Nancy Morin met while attending university in the Visual Arts Department of the Université de Moncton, each graduating in 1976. Nearly ten years later, they shared a studio at the Aberdeen Cultural Centre, where their great friendship grew, resulting in several artistic collaborations. Although the work of each is easily recognizable, it is also possible to perceive how they reciprocally influenced each other’s work

For nearly twenty years, these artists and their work co-existed, impacting Moncton’s arts community while nurturing an atmosphere of sharing and contributing to the dynamism of the community. Through their work as managers of the Galerie Sans Nom in particular, these two artists established a spirit of conviviality, openness, and accessibility that carried over into their shared studio.

Yvon Gallant and Nancy Morin in their shared studio at Aberdeen Cultural Centre (around 1994). Photo : GALRC archives

À cheval

Alisa Arsenault’s project reflects on and interprets the great friendship between the artists Yvon Gallant and Nancy Morin, the influence of this friendship on them individually and on their artistic practices, their exceptional symbiosis, and their shared connection to the city of Moncton. Using excerpts of texts from sources such as the archives of each artist, Arsenault traces the artists’ everyday route from Robinson Court to the Aberdeen Cultural Centre, thereby creating a symbolic map of the physical and emotional paths they travelled together.

À cheval, 2018, silk-screen prints on lexan panels

The routes are printed on seven Plexiglas panels installed at the Aberdeen Cultural Centre, near the former studio of Gallant and Morin that, in 2018, is notably occupied by Arsenault, among others. Three panels are devoted to each artist individually, with the seventh illustrating the encounter with the myth of each artist, the meeting of the inner world and the external world, and the fulfillment that resulted.

This concept of rapture is borrowed from the work of the philosopher Joseph Campbell: it describes the quest for a sensation of ecstasy or fullness made possible when equilibrium is achieved between the inner world (Morin) and the outer world (Gallant). The harmonious equilibrium between the two worlds in this seventh panel comes to symbolize the symbiosis between the two artists.

À cheval (detail), 2018, silk-screen prints on lexan panels

Part of the work has been integrated into the city’s downtown—the central panel that shows the encounter between the two artists’ universes. The itinerary is engraved on a stone in Robinson Court that bears the inscription “ROBINSON,” marking the importance of this place for these two individuals during these influential and memorable years of their friendship.

The artist would like to thank Mathieu Leblanc, Angèle Cormier, Jennifer Bélanger and Guy Arsenault for their contributions to the project.

[...] thereby creating a symbolic map of the physical and emotional paths they travelled together.

Alisa Arsenault

Trained in printmaking, Alisa Arsenault has added installation, video projection, and sound art to her practice. Images and words from her family archives evoke fragments of memories she uses to reflect on her personal history through the use of fictionalized documents. With humour and melancholy, she borrows from other people’s archives, appropriating these documents to permeate them with her own folklore. So, while her work is mostly autobiographical, it is presented as a fragmented and stitched-up narrative. In it we find her lived experiences, exaggerations, and inventions. Questioning memory, its capacity to express truth, and its unconscious distortions are at the heart of her work.

Alisa Arsenault earned a Bachelor of Visual Arts degree from the Université de Moncton in 2013 and currently works in Moncton. Over the past several years, her work has been included in several group exhibitions in the Maritime provinces, in addition to solo exhibitions and artist residencies in New Brunswick and Quebec.