by Alexandre Ayotte
Sandra Chevrier is a visual artist and painter from Montreal who questions feminine identity through her ongoing series of work called “Cages”, in which she superimposes comic strips over portraits of female subjects. The Hollywood-reboot of superheroes in recent years, and the lack of feminine representation in these Blockbuster movies (cough… Avengers…) make Sandra Chevrier a tremendously relevant visual artist. Upon the opening of her exposition in the prestigious Jonathan Levine Gallery in New York City, we asked Sandra some quick questions in order to understand the intellectual ideology behind her work.
Arttecblog: I am interested in the ideology behind Cages, I feel as if there is a distinct message in this series of work.
Sandra: Indeed, the series is about women trying to find freedom from society’s twisted preconceptions of what a woman should or shouldn’t be. These women encased in cages of brash imposing paint or comic books that masks their very person symbolize the struggle that women go through with having these false expectations of beauty and perfection. They also depict the limitations society places on women, corrupting what truly is beautiful by placing women in these prisons of identity. By doing so, society is asking them to become superheroes.
More so, the frailty of the superheroes, as Robin’s in this piece of work (below) or when Superman loses his battle against Doomsday, reminds of our own lack of strength. We are merely human men and women and we are entitled to the flaws and errors of our identity. The women I paint lack identity, because of society’s imposition of a certain paradigm on them through advertisement or fiction. My work is a step towards the reinstitution of feminine identity through art.
A: What is the primary objective of your artistic production?
Sandra: For me, art has always been a language on its own. It is therefore a way for me to express myself, and synthetize my ideas. Another crucial aspect of my production is that I want my art to have an impact on how people see life. For example, a mother who lost her daughter from cancer wrote to me about Cages. She said my paintings reminded her of her little girl that fought like a superhero till the end. That is the impact I look for.
A: Finally, what media do you use?
S: I work with mix media; watercolors, pastels, acrylic, china ink, collage. But I am now presenting an all hand painted Superheroes Cages series.
A: Anything else we should know?
S: Right now I am concentrating on an important production (hand carved and hand painted pieces) for an upcoming group show at Jonathan Levine Gallery in NY in June/July – Opening on June 27th, 2015. If you are in NYC, come by and say hello!