Alain Costaz - Victoria Edgarr
22 January - 7 February 2021
Alain Costaz - Artist Statement
The Spanish landscape and its effect on my sense of identity as an émigré returning to Europe to travel was the impetus for the work in this show. Central to my studio work is the use of the figure. I use the figure allegorically and expressively in images exploring ideas about emotions, place and identity. As a pilgrim, assuming this ancient identity, walking through the evocative Spanish landscape and participating in the daily ritual of hospitality and shelter that has characterized the Camino for centuries, my love of European landscape painting, the kind of painting that in part shaped and stimulated my desire to be an artist, was reawakened. While there I worked on drawings, watercolours, and made dry points using Tetrapak plates. I printed the dry points when I returned to my studio. Once back in the studio, using my photos and memories as a basis, I reengaged in the act of painting as remembrance; determining a composition, a colour, a focus, seeking to re-experience the feel, the look and the mood of specific places and moments; remembering where I had lingered, napped, picnicked, where I had bathed my feet, soaked in the sun, or spent an arduous time following a trail in a steep descent. I made this group of paintings and prints in the spirit not only of reconnecting with the pilgrim journey but as well with the joy of learning and discovery through art that I have always experienced.
Victoria Edgarr - Artist Statement
In 2017 Spain offered a different focus from my previous travels; I walked for 40 days across the land rather than a touring of museums and galleries. With my artist husband and my feet rooted in the constant present, absorbed in life around me we walked the Camino de Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage in Spain. It was an extraordinary experience and upon our return home I was eager to express the physical, cultural and spiritual impact of the experience and “Painted Steps” is the result. In looking for a way to begin the painting I thought of the 15th century parchment map of the "new world" that I had seen. I remembered cathedral walls resplendent with characters and stories waiting to be told. I reflected on the linear quality of the experience, and the fact that I was following in the exact footsteps of thousands of others over the centuries. Many sources provided the details for the painting; our travel snapshots, brochures and maps offered by our many hosts, and our guidebook. I incorporated an elevation plan of the Camino in the painting to accurately position the imagery. I began a sketchbook of remembrances: things places, and names, my own and shared memories. The strong medieval flavour of the Camino continues to inspire me to take my time, in walking, in life and in art. Centered in printmaking, my inter-disciplinary practice involves language, sculpture, installation, photography and book arts. My work links personal experience with mythologies, creating visually and conceptually layered narratives.
Centered in printmaking, my inter-disciplinary practice involves language, sculpture, installation, photography and book arts. My work links personal experience with mythologies, creating visually and conceptually layered narratives.
Victoria Edgarr & Alain Costaz - Biography
Alain Costaz (b. 1951) Education: Concordia University (1981), Montreal, BFA (with distinction); Université Laval (1977-78), Quebec City, Que.; Victoria College of Art, Victoria, BC, NCA (1975-77)
Victoria Edgarr (b. 1953) Education & Training: Dawson College, DAP (1973); Concordia University, Montréal, BFA (1981) Gravure: Atelier Libre de Recherches Graphiques (ALRG), Guilde Graphique, Mtl. (1981–84); Ceramics: La Paz Raku Studio, Victoria (1993-95)
Victoria Edgarr and Alain Costaz met in open life-drawing class at Concordia University, Montreal, in 1978. By that time Victoria had a Fine Arts diploma from Dawson College and Alain had studied at Victoria College of Art (VCA) and was an undergraduate at Université Laval, Québec City.
After graduation they worked at the premiere printmaking studio Atelier Libre de Recherches Graphiques, (ALRG) holding positions as massier and technical coordinator, as well as launching "Chloé", a collaborative signature. They began a 33-year relationship of representation and exhibition with the Guilde Graphique Gallery in le Vieux Montréal.
Joining the Victoria arts community in 1993, they took on major roles at X-changes artist-run centre, and with Ground Zero Printmakers (GZPS), in building facilities, teaching, and administration. They designed the printmaking program for the Victoria College of Art (VCA) where Alain is on faculty teaching painting and drawing.
Together and individually they enjoy their outreach practice with adults, children, students and professionals in public and private arts institutions in the CRD; The Art Gallery, GVPL, City of Victoria, MISSA in Metchosin, the Peace River district, and at Red Deer College, Alberta.
Throughout, Victoria and Alain have continued their studies side by side, producing distinct bodies of work exhibited in group and solo exhibitions, biennials and special projects. Their work encompasses paintings, original prints, works on paper and artist books. Public and private galleries and dealers in Montréal, Toronto, Victoria, Fort St John, have represented their work.
Residencies in Montréal, Brussels and Banff and periodic trips to Canadian, US and European museums and galleries enrich their studio practice. Visits to the Prado, the Reina Sofía, the Naval Museum in Madrid and the Museo de la Evolución in Burgos played an important role in their Camino pilgrim experience and the subsequent work created in their shared studio in Victoria's historic Chinatown.