Mel Arsenault is a French-Canadian visual artist engaging with ceramics and digital imagery. Working in series, she conceives her practice as being closely related to the pictorial traditions of painting and drawing. Considering materials as allies with whom she collaborates, she leaves the final word to the contingency of their chemical alliances, practicing letting go and experiencing, each time she rediscovers her work metamorphosed by the fire an exercise in controlled disappointment (Grayson Perry).
Mother to a teenager, she is grateful to live and work in Tiohtiá:ke/Montreal, located on unceded Indigenous lands where she completed a master’s degree in sculpture and ceramics from Concordia University from which she previously obtained a bachelor’s degree in painting and drawing. Her work has been featured in several group exhibitions in Canada (Clark Center, Gallery Nicolas Robert), as well as in the UK with Arusha Gallery. In 2020, Gallery La Guilde presented her first solo show Shifting Histories. She took part in a residency at the Guldagergaard International Ceramic Research Center in Denmark and was delivered the Outstanding Work and Meaningful Contribution to Ceramics award from Concordia University. Mel Arsenault is grateful to Carolyn and Richard Renaud for awarding her a research and teaching grant.
Visit Mel Arsenault’s website and Instagram page.
Shifting Histories AKA Curatorial Starter Kit, 2017-2019
Apart from spiritual and eco-feminist fringe spheres, feelings of wonder have long been seen as puerile and trivial by Western culture. Today they are recognized, especially by neuroscience, as essential to the maintenance of human and non-human well-being. With the intention of bridging sensorial and scientific knowledge, Mel Arsenault creates talismanic hybrids that celebrate the intelligence of matter and its enchanting power. She is completely in awe by the way matter takes shape in order to unfold in space; by the formal rhymes of its fractal architectures that convey oxygen, water, saps, and bloods; by celestial and cellular bodies, all of which are a concoction of atoms in different proportions forming clay, a neuron, a flower, an eye, a lactobacillus, a microscope lens, a caterpillar, a telescope, a shell…