The Artist’s Eye: Cynthia Girard-Renard
Gallery 2

21 June–7 September 2019
Opening Thursday 20 June


The Douglas Hyde Gallery is delighted to announce the most recent in an ongoing series of exhibitions in Gallery 2, titled ‘The Artist’s Eye’. Acknowledging the crucial role artists play in influencing and shaping other artistic practices, this series asks those exhibiting in Gallery 1 to invite an artist of significant influence to present work in Gallery 2. 

In the seventh instalment in this series, Cynthia Girard-Renard has been invited by Valérie Blass. Working across painting, performance, poetry and sculpture, Girard-Renard presents a theatrical and flamboyant world where the sensual and the political entwine. This group of paintings make up a project titled Love & Anarchy (2017), inspired by and named after the 1973 tragic-comedy film. Directed by Lina Wertmüller, it follows a young farmer hiding in a brothel, falling in love, while planning to assassinate Mussolini. 

The paintings share a common background printed directly from tree bark. On top of this, vibrant amorphous figures interact, physically and verbally, in a vision of utopian unity. Animals, who visit the paintings as ‘actors’ making it ‘more dynamic – like a stage’ (1) are given voice in tiny speech bubbles filled with joyous declarations of revolution and change. Transformation through revolution is also addressed in the artist’s banner series, which feature historical figures, such as Hannah Arendt, Henry David Thoreau and Marie Antoinette.  Here, a banner depicts Rosa Luxemburg and bears her words, ‘Those who do not move, do not notice their chains’, above a line drawing of a butterfly. 

Cynthia Girard-Renard received her MFA from Goldsmiths College, London in 1998. She works and lives in Montreal where she teaches in visual arts. For more than 20 years, she has been actively exhibiting in Canada and internationally. The artist has been the recipient of grants from the Canada Council for the Arts and the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec to partake in residencies in London and Berlin. Girard-Renard’s work is found in the collections of the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, the Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Carleton University Art Gallery, as well as many private collections.


Image: Cynthia Girard-Renard, Fetishist Pleasure of an Antifascist Activist, (detail), 2017, acrylic on canvas, 150 x 124 cm.
Courtesy of the artist.