I have always been enthralled by the expressive qualities of various materials, mediums and techniques. My early work was anchored in surface design techniques (batik, fabric painting, embroidery, quilting). I then progressed to painting and the construction of various large scale works on paper (coloured pencil, printmaking) with a brief stint in ceramics, installation and land art. However, a certain constant has always prevailed: the need to build and assemble images and spaces using an accumulation of materials and processes, each chosen for their specific expressive qualities. In a way all these explorations were the precursors to my present work in collage.
The ENCYCLOPEDIA project: Over the past 12 years, I have been working on the appropriation and the transformation of the two volume Encyclopédie Universelle Française (Montreal: Société Leland, 1960). To this end, I have chosen to use printed matter as my principal medium (integrating painting, drawing, etc.). This is a corpus of flat and bas-relief pages (to date of some 1600 units) produced on the matrix of an encyclopedia whose texts, illustrations, maps and charts are reconstructed with the superimposition of new information (questions, remarks, perspectives, etc.). Inspiration is drawn from the text itself, all the while making room for personal interpretation (hopes, desires, imaginings).
My work comes to fruition through the joy of exploration and is supported by a continuous questioning of the human condition and the organization of the structures, thoughts and prejudices that guide us.
Ann Bilodeau grew up in Stanstead, Quebec, a border town in the Eastern Townships. Many hours of solace and discovery at the Haskell Free Library, an institution that physically straddles the Canada-US border, led her to value curiosity and introspection. Dualities have always held a strong presence in her work, be it via geography (Québec/Vermont), language (French/English) or perspective (world views).
She later studied at l’École des Beaux-Arts and at l’Université du Québec in Montreal progressing towards a career in textile arts, branching out into painting, print-making and collage. She lived, worked and taught fine-arts in Northern Quebec and again in the Eastern Townships. These very different landscapes (mining/agriculture) still impact her personal approach to the artistic process.
Her work has been featured in both solo and group exhibitions, notably: Musée en quarantaine at the Musée d’art de Joliette, Quebec; Maison des arts et de la culture de Brompton, Quebec; Biennale internationale d’art miniature de Ville-Marie at Le Rift, Ville-Marie, Quebec; PANZI Foundation/Graffiti Gallery, Winnipeg, Manitoba; The Florida Holocaust Museum, St. Petersburg, Florida; NYWAF 4th New York World Art Festival at the Korea Art Center.24 Gallery; Open Space Gallery, Flushing, New York; Sinsang Gallery, Seoul, South Korea; Level 2 Art Gallery, Centennial Park, 1996 Summer Olympic Games, Atlanta, Georgia; Musée des Beaux-arts de Sherbrooke, Quebec; Spheris Gallery, Walpole, New Hampshire; and Kogeimura Paper School Gallery, Kochi, Japan.