Galleries Battat and ESP Link Montreal to Toronto


Galleries Battat and ESP Link Montreal to Toronto

Montreal’s Battat Contemporary and Toronto’s Erin Stump Projects are working to bridge the sometimes surprising divide between their respective cities’ artworlds. Presenting a collaborative exhibition at Battat this season (“ESP MTL,” until December 21), and another to come — with Stump playing the host — in April 2014, the galleries’ initiative suggests a precedent. Because while we’ve seen Montreal recently collaborate with Brooklyn (the literally named “MontréalBrooklyn” project), and as a few galleries from La Belle Ville begin to lay stakes in Toronto (Pierre-Françoise Ouellette, Division), a truly collaborative effort between the two remains infrequent. Whether this reality runs to the provincial discord of the 1970s, or pertains more to a continued discrepancy between the cities’ two art markets, we’re not sure. But as Battat and ESP work to interrupt the silence, merging their still-emerging rosters of nuanced talent to contemplate the ties that bind their aesthetic (and esthetic) factions, we’ve leaned in. BLOUIN ARTINFO Canada spoke with Erin Stump and Battat director Daisy Desroisers about their efforts to reach a wider audience, and these municipal divides.

Where did this collaboration come out of?

Daisy Desrosiers: We met because we were both working with Beth Stuart. Erin is representing Beth in Toronto, and we are working with Beth in Montreal. It happened very naturally, actually; we talked about it maybe a year ago or so. It just seemed very organic, and opened up the dialogue between Montreal and Toronto, those communities, and audiences.

Erin Stump: I think we discovered that we have very similar sensibilities in our curating and planning of shows. I would be excited to show some of the artists that Battat is working with in my space, to give some of their artists more exposure. This way we can kind of have that without needing to create a whole new gallery in the city.

What are the sensibilities that you see your two spaces sharing? How would you describe your shared interests?

Desrosiers: It’s hard to put in words a relationship that’s instinctive, in a way. But where we connect is through this interest in artists who are not related to a particular genre. We’re drawn to artists who are playing around with the lines of two or three media, and positioning the viewer at an angle to sculptural painting, or sculpture that is painterly, for instance, that goes through various installations. These are the specificities of practice that we connect through, and a few artists articulate it especially.

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