On October 10, 2016, a small exhibition of Marcel Barbeau’s optics forecasting the rich collection of the museum was opened at the Musée d’art de Joliette under the title Marcel Barbeau Vibrato. At the Marie-Hélène Foisy’s invitation – the curator of the exhibition and archivist of the museum collections- Ninon Gauthier, specialist of Barbeau’s work intervened as a consultant, advising in particular the addition of drawings to the works of the collection. Most of these drawings had never been exposed before, although they were documented in 1961 by two articles by Guy Viau, AICA-Canada’s third president. in the early sixties. These works, which the artist himself considered very significant in his evolution, would bring, she believed, a new light to the optical period of the painter, unveiling the singular musical origins of this graphic and pictorial production. Thus a few small drawings, dated December 1958, from the collection of the Université du Québec à Montréal, and 6 others, dated 1959 and 1960, of medium and large formats, from the artist’s studio collection. were included in the show. An excerpt of Gruppen by Karlheinz Stockhausen, presented in the room where they were exhibited as a reminder of the lecture with musical extracts, given in Montreal by the German composer in 1958, when the painter had discovered contemporary music together with serialism and the captivating and dynamic effect of repetition. This event was the source of Barbeau’s first inspiration for this production. This is a theory that Ninon Gauthier had already developed in her catalogue raisonné of the artist, her doctoral thesis, in 1995 and in 2004, and in 1999, in the film Barbeau Libre comme l’art, (Barbeau as free as art), by Manon Barbeau (ONF-Inform’Action), 2000.
Dr Gauthier was also invited to present, during the opening, a guided tour of the exhibition highlighting this unprecedented approach to the optical painting of Barbeau. On November 11, 2016, she participated in a panel on the place of optical art in the work of Marcel Barbeau, with the curator of the exhibition, Marie-Hélène Foisy, who also acted as animator, and André-Anne Roy. PhD student in art history and curator of an exhibition on optical art at the Maison des arts de Laval in the fall of 2015, which included some optical paintings by Marcel Barbeau.
Through her financial and technical support, Ninon Gauthier also participated in the publishing and production of a small pamphlet distributed to visitors to the exhibition. In view of its public and media success, the Musée de Joliette has developed a project to circulate this exhibition, which could lead to the production of a catalog and a new collaboration with Ninon Gauthier with this institution if sufficient financial support is granted.
For more information on the subject addressed visit;