Today’s Studio artist, Valérie Blass, was born in Montreal and still lives there, producing works of loosely figurative sculpture. Blass uses her sculpture to explore both the physical, formal aspects of her subjects, and the nature of the various art historical moments that she touches on and references in her practice. Her works use negative space in an interesting and very present manner – the artist tends to build her forms and figures around these absences, referencing forgotten moments or willful omissions in history.
In the above photograph, the artist’s space appears quite clean and tidy – something that’s not always easy to achieve, especially when working with sculptural materials. Blass’ studio looks cool – the lighting in this photo seems that of an overcast morning. The grey floors and the neutral tones of the artist’s sculptures only serve to amplify this coolness – I get an overall sense of meditative quiet, looking at this photo.
Speaking of sculpture, the figures in the space remind me of works by Antony Gormley or perhaps even Bharti Kher. Though there’s only one real sculpture in the photo, the additional two-dimensional figures on the far wall add to the feeling that the artist isn’t alone in the space. I wonder if all these mysterious figures are at all creepy if Blass is working in the studio late at night!
Blass received her MFA from Université du Québec à Montréal. Her work has been exhibited in solo and group shows in Quebec, Toronto, and Calgary, and appears in museum collections around Canada. She’s also been exhibited in New York and Berlin.