StolenSpace just opened its latest exhibition showcasing the latest body of work by Canadian born artist, Sandra Chevrier, as she makes her long awaited return to the UK. Evocatively titled ‘Les Cages; We Can’t Be Tamed’, the exhibition will display a fresh series of Chevrier’s iconic ‘Cage Paintings’ – juxtaposing feminine subjects with comic book iconography in order to explore concepts of social expectation via the female gaze.
”A man can believe until his last breath that he is different from a Caged animal in a Zoo. But through all his life until his death; he will be living in a prison without walls and will still believe he is free when in fact, everyday he will be shackled, whipped, and exist in captivity. We are all slaves of something, of someone, of an idea.”
“The Cages series as been revolving around submission, oppression, unfreedom, confinement and imprisonment. Cages are Cages, whether they were build with steel or from the fabric of the mind. We cannot be free outside the Cage unless we are able to experience the freedom within it. The freedom is inside us. Freedom within a Cage. I have a dream. A dream that freedom is not just an idea or a word. Only; I am not sure what it is… Not yet.”
By applying the comic book trope of the masked figure, Chevrier conceals the identity of her subjects, rendering them as simultaneously heroic, yet restricted. Obscured by scenes of hostility and struggle, they peer from the canvas, challenging the viewer to look beyond their own preconceived notions of femininity. Often the artist applies scenes of heroic downfall to her collages – images that display the vulnerability of their super-powered subjects and remind us of their limitations. Chevrier’s intention is to make clear the often impossibly high standards that society holds women to.
Have a look at photos from the opening last night and check out our studio visit in Montreal here.