Winner: Jean-Michel Leclerc

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Sans titre (Canon), 2016, papier mâché, carton, gouache, bois, découpes et débris divers, 37 x 94 x 28 cm

The Sylvie and Simon Blais Foundation is pleased to announce the name of the recipient of the 2017 Sylvie and Simon Blais Award for Emerging Visual Artists, Jean-Michel Leclerc, who is pursuing an MFA degree with a concentration in Fine Arts (Print Media) at Concordia University. The Foundation would also like to mention the names of the two other finalists for this ninth consecutive edition of the Award, Guillaume Lépine (UQAM) and JJ Levine (Concordia), as well as point out the excellent quality of all the work and proposed exhibition projects in support of the applications submitted, which only made the jury’s deliberations that more difficult.

Jean-Michel Leclerc wants to understand how a simple object can be invested with a presence, and contain it, both in the literal sense and in the figurative sense. Leclerc searches the news columns and various archives to reveal certain stories that have fallen into oblivion. He reappropriates history and retains the imprint left by the living once it is no longer. His work thus speaks above all of what is invisible, and tries to bring back, for a moment, the memory of anonymous people associated with various tragic events. Leclerc seeks to show what is hidden from the visible.


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Marie-Anne Letarte, Jessica Peters, Simon Blais, Sylvie Cataford-Blais, Roxanne Arsenault (not on the photo: Donald Cayouette)

The members of the jury—Roxanne Arsenault, general and artistic coordinator at Centre Clark, Donald Cayouette, collector, Marie-Anne Letarte, Web communications specialist, art critic and artistic director of the magazine L’Inconvénient, Jessica Peters, artist, and Simon Blais, President of the Sylvie and Simon Blais Foundation—met to select the recipient of the Award on May 8. An exhibition of works by Jean-Michel Leclerc will be held at Galerie Simon Blais in August 2017.