Mélanie Rocan

Mélanie Rocan completed her MFA in the painting program at Concordia University, in Montreal (2008). In 2003, she graduated from the University of Manitoba with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Honours Degree, thesis in painting.

Artist Statement

"My recent paintings speak of the fragility of human beings and the reality of the subconscious state. I want to capture a distressed beauty, which suggests an inner emotional condition of highs and lows and psychological unease. There is a dichotomy between the difficulty of comprehending the reality of the internal world and a reaction to the outside world’s fragility and the present state of the earth. I rely on an intuitive process to create my paintings, which gives me freedom to explore and make discoveries. I find the struggle of creating work by intuition and memory produces a constant search to re-invent and build the work within the internal domain of my subconscious. This process also allows room for balance between my hand and the medium itself to communicate. Relying on an intuitive process to make paintings brings forth thoughts that are weighing upon me, because of a constant bombardment and awareness of the reality of the state of the earth and the world. In some of my work I attempt to show unity between humanity and nature, working together, existing as one without overpowering the other. Two worlds intertwined working collectively, agreeing and abiding by a natural contract.

I am interested in illustrating opposing forces in my work, and by unifying and combining these dualities, they can exist together as one entity, one cannot exist without the other. I want to evoke an inconsistency of emotions, making the work linger in-between a darkness and a playfulness, with the ability to affect and give sensations. For example in Caught In Hula-Hoops, there is a conflict in deciphering what is happening to the figures. They could be seen as either vulnerable beings who are caught by the mass of evocations that whirl around them or are playing in this maze of disparate objects. The contrast between the loss of control in the debris and turmoil, with a rather quiet and serene figures and setting, creates tension between calm and chaos and targets dimensions of the unconsciousness. The mass or fragments floating around them, reveal the inside and outside state of the figures, like a mirror, window or multiplication of mirrors. It explores external and personal sources and the dichotomy between symbols of the self and the environment, divided by psychological turmoil.

I often focus on gothic elements of familiar places, in finding horror or feelings of foreboding in our existence, in our memory and in living. I also merge autobiographical themes, dreams and reality. In combining nostalgic elements or familiars within the paintings, I want to convey a sense of security, which brings balance to the work. I am interested in creating a unity by combining dualities existing within the difficulties of life and nostalgic elements, which are evidence of our humanity. Nostalgia represents an uncanny timelessness, an anchor that provides us with a sense of stability, bringing us to another moment in our lives and allowing us to lose ourselves in the innocence.

I have recently found inspiration in my earlier works, combining large abstract painting with a miniaturization and an attention to detail. By bringing these techniques together on one surface, I am not only concerned with the process of painting but the balance between paint and content, and want to leave room for interpretation and suggestion. By combining these two ways of working, abstract planes and particular details, I want to create two opposing forces in the work, an indeterminacy and an over-determination of space. I often use prairie landscapes as backdrops or fields for composition in creating a painting. The environment is often overcrowded with information, not only in the elements in the painting but in the psychoanalytic sense, by emphasizing the dichotomy between reality and inner life and the psychological borders that are evoked.

The Ferris wheel is often present in my work, as is the repetition of the circle in the representations and composition of the work, which represents a structure of life. This circular composition also refers to the way our eyes and our mind sees the world. Fragments and isolation are the raw material furnished by memory, allowing the painting to be assembled and organized into larger and more substantial dramatic structures. By excluding certain elements of the outer world, such as space, time, and causality, and by adjusting the events to the forms of the inner world, I bring attention to memory, imagination and emotion. I want to focus on the complex interaction between the real and the fantastic by blurring the distinction between these elements."

Solo Exhibitions
2016
2016
  • Lumière, Paul Petro Contemporary Art, Toronto
2014
  • Moonlighting, Paul Petro Contemporary Art, Toronto
  • Souvenir Involontaire, Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art, Winnipeg
2013
  • Hold On, Paul Petro Contemporary Art, Toronto
  • Souvenir Involontaire, The Kenderdine Art Gallery, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon
2012
  • Souvenir Involontaire, Doris McCarthy Gallery, University of Toronto
2011
  • Pleine de Peinture, La Maison Des Artistes Visuels Francophones, Saint-Boniface, MB
2010
  • In Limbo, Paul Petro Contemporary Art, Toronto
  • New Works, Lower East Side Gallery, Vancouver
  • Solo-exhibition, Northern State University, Aberdeen, South-Dakota, USA
2009
2008
2007
  • Les Murs sont Tombés, Solo-Exhibition at La Maison des Artistes, Artist run center, Saint-Boniface, Manitoba
2006
2005
2004
  • New Works, Adelaide McDermot Gallery, Winnipeg
2002
  • Little Dream, Franco-Manitoban Cultural Center Gallery, Winnipeg
  • Out of the Box, Off-Ice Gallery, Fitzgerald Building, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg
Group Exhibitions
2016
2012
  • My Winnipeg, Winter Kept Us, Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art, Winnipeg
2011
  • Crossing Natures, Paul Petro Contemporary Art, Toronto
  • My Winnipeg, Winter Kept Us Warm, Prairie Art Scene, Ottawa
  • My Winnipeg, Winter Kept Us Warm, MIM, Sete, France
  • My Winnipeg, Winter Kept Us Warm, La Maison Rouge, Paris, France
2010
  • Making Scenes, Paul Petro Contemporary Art, Toronto
  • New Works, Lower East Side Gallery, Vancouver
  • RBC painting competition, Power Plant, Toronto
  • Drowning Ophelia, Gallery Stratford, Stratford, ON
2009
  • Slipstream, Paul Petro Contemporary Art, Toronto
  • The Phoenix Art: Young Canadian Painters, Simon Blais, Montreal
  • Too-Sicks Collective group show, Harvey Levine Gallery, Los Angeles, USA
2008
  • Magenta Foundation Carte Blanche painting exhibition, MOCCA, Toronto
  • A good summer to stay inside, LES Gallery, Vancouver
  • North South East West, Paul Petro Contemporary Art, Toronto
  • Alluvial Plain, Paul Petro Contemporary Art, Toronto
  • If you go out in the woods today…, Gladstone Hotel, Toronto
2007
  • Too-Sicks Collective group show, Harvey Levine Gallery, Los Angeles, USA
  • Two person show with Erica Eyres, Project Room, Glasgow, Scotland, UK
  • Two person show with Sadko Hadzihasanovic, Paul Petro Contemporary Art, Toronto
  • Compression, Concordia MFA exhibition, Art Mur, Quebec, Montreal
  • Little Dude, Paul Petro Contemporary Art Gallery, Toronto
  • Art Auction, North Dakota Museum of Art, Grand Forks, North Dakota
2006
  • Royal Bank (RBC) painting competition finalists touring exhibition, Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, Toronto, Ontario – Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery, Kitchener, Ontario – Musee d’Art Contemporain de Montreal, Quebec – Art Gallery of Calgary, Calgary – Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver, Canada
  • Supernovas, Winnipeg Art Gallery, Winnipeg, Manitoba
  • Young and the Restless, 2 person show with Shaun Morin, Cream Gallery, Winnipeg, Manitoba
  • Too-Sicks exhibition, Gallery 1.1.1., University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba
  • Another Other,The OtherGallery at the Cooper Gallery, Dundee, Scotland UK
2005
  • Décalage,Concordia Group Exhibition, Parisian Laundry, Montréal, Québec
2003
  • Reservation For All, Ace Art Gallery, Winnipeg
  • A La Planche, two-six collective show, The Annex Gallery, Winnipeg
  • Nine Harts, Adelaide Gallery, Winnipeg
  • Miss Ing_nue, Graffiti Gallery, Winnipeg
  • YWA, Young Winnipeg Artists, Plug-In Gallery, Winnipeg
  • Gallery 1.1.1. Thesis exhibition, Fitzgerald Building, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg
2002
  • 26 Presents, New Material, Gallery 138, University Center, University of Manitoba
Grants & Awards
2012
  • Winnipeg Arts Council, Individual Artist Grant, Mid Career A Grant
2011
  • Winnipeg Arts Council Professional Development- Travel Grant, Crossing Natures, PPCA, Toronto
  • Canada Arts Council Travel Grant to attend My Winnipeg, La Maison Rouge, Paris, France
2010
  • Winnipeg Arts Council, Mayor’s Luncheon “On the Rise Award”
2008
  • Manitoba Arts Council Grant, Creation/Production in the Visual Arts ‘B’
  • Winnipeg Arts Council Production Grant in the Visual Arts
  • Canada Council for the arts travel grant
2006-07
  • Winnipeg Arts Council, Professional development grant, for solo-exhibition
2006
  • Winnipeg Arts Council Production Grant in the Visual Arts- emerging artist
2005-06
  • Manitoba Arts Council Student Bursary
2005
  • Francofonds Saint-Boniface, Bourse d’étude hors province
    2004
    • Manitoba Arts Council Grant, Creation/Production in the Visual Arts
    • Francofonds Saint-Boniface, Bourse d’étude hors province
    • Millennium Scholarship Award, Canadian Millennium Scholarship Foundation
    2003
    • Millennium Scholarship Award, Canadian Millennium Scholarship Foundation
    • Lynne Sissons Memorial Scholarship (watercolor), University of Manitoba
    • UmSu Bursary, University of Manitoba
    2002
    • Heinz Jordan Prize in Painting, University of Manitoba
    • Millennium Scholarship Award, Canadian Millennium Scholarship Foundation
    2001
    • Millennium Scholarship Award, Canadian Millennium Scholarship Foundation
    Publications
    • 2008, Magenta Foundation, Carte Blanche Vol. 2, painting, Emerging artist, 328 pages
    • 2008, The Winnipeg Alpha bestiary, letter Y, 104 pages
    • 2008, RBC painting book, featuring works in the competition over 10 years, 91 pages
    • 2007, RBC painting competition catalogue, 40 pages
    • 2006, Supernovas catalogue, group exhibition at the Winnipeg Art Gallery, 88 pages
    • 2006, RBC painting competition catalogue, 40 pages
    Selected Bibliography
    • Jordan, Betty-Ann - Fashion Magazine Winter 2010, Where the Art is. Culture Art, p. 30, 122
    • Callaghan, Lori Rising from the ashes, Rover, Montreal Arts Uncovered
    • Canadian Art On-line, The Phoenix Art: Viewing Painting’s Renewed Power
    • Dault, Gary Michael Globe and Mail, Saturday, July 11, 2009
    • Schechter, Fran Now Toronto, Art reviews, July 16 - 22, 2009
    • Review Carte Blanche Vol. 2, painting exhibition at the MOCCA Eye Weekly, November 19, 2008
    • Dault, Gary Michael A Cacophony of Meaning, Globe and Mail, Jan 19, 2008
    • David Balzer, Toronto’s Eye Weekly Magazine, 2008
    • Interview with Radio-Canada Ontario’s daily art show, 2008
    • Review BorderCrossings Magazine, painting issue #103, 2008
    • Enright, Robert Border Views, Pleasurable Unease, p.28-29, 2008
    • Living Winnipeg, CBC special, September 2007
    • Les Murs Sont Tombés, La Maison des Artistes Visuels Francophones Inc. , Artist Run Center, Saint-Boniface
    • Gignac, Anne-Marie   Interview Radio Canada Télévision, Emission Culturel Varietés Téléjournal,      Cultural Programming, Manitoba
    • Ousset, Jean-Marc   CKSB, Radio-Canada Manitoba, interview for Western Canada
    • Dureault, Vincent   CKSB, Radio-Canada Manitoba, interview in Winnipeg  
    • CBC Artspots Too-sicks collective, 2006
    • Regan, Kate Mike Bayne and Melanie Rocan, Toronto Life, September, 2006
    • Balzer, David  An artful year, Eye Weekly Toronto - Arts Week -December 21, 2006 
    • Jager, David                   Bank on this NOW Magazine - The Arts in Toronto, September 14 - 20, 2006
    • Csanady, Ashley    Banking on the future of Canadian art, Imprint, The University of Waterloo    newspaper, September 29, 2006, Volume 29, Issue 11
    • Roberts, Lorne  Local Artists make splash on Toronto Scene, Winnipeg Free Press,     Entertainment, Saturday, September 30, 2006
    • Gignac, Anne-Marie Interview, Emission Culturel Varietés, Téléjournal, Cultural Programming,    Manitoba 
    • Wiebe, Christabel    Crossovers, BorderCrossings, Magazine, Review on Dualite exhibition, p.82-                            83, issue 100, Winter 2006
    • Roberts, Lorne    Show offers fresh take on urban art, Entertainement, Winnipeg Free Press, Thursday          July 13, 2006
    • Leveille Roger    Review on Dualite exhibition, Liaison Western Art Magazine, summer 2006
    • # BorderCrossings Magazine YOUNG, issue 92, Winter 2004
    • Enright, Robert    Dear Diarist, page 11
    • Eyland, Cliff        Too-Sicks Collective, page 16 – 27
    • Enright, Robert “Winnipeg singular collective raises a ruckus”, Globe and Mail, November 12, 2003
    • Enright, Robert  Globe and Mail, Visual Arts, p. V2-V3 May 10, 2003
    • Cameron, Amy   Hey we’re from Winnipeg too... Maclean’s magazine, March 24, 2003
    • Enright, Robert  Nouveau Winnipeg, Border Crossings Magazine, p.15-16, issue No. 86, 2003
    • Work from YWA featured on ZED, CBC March 13, 2003
    • BorderCrossings Magazine YOUNG, issue 92, Winter 2004
    • Enright, Robert Dear Diarist, page 11
    • Eyland, Cliff Too-Six Collective, page 16 - 27
    • Art News, mentions « Two-Six » collective
    • Pollack, Barbara “The New Visionaries”, Art news, December 2003
    • Enright, Robert “Winnipeg singular collective raises a ruckus”, Globe and Mail, November 12, 2003
    • Walker, Morley “Annex Host Two-Six”, Winnipeg Free Press, October 22, 2003
    • Enright, Robert Globe and Mail, Visual Arts, p. V2-V3 May 10, 2003
    • Walker, Morley “Art Attack”, Winnipeg Free Press, (vol.89 n.47) March 13-19, 2003
    • Cr_te, Myl_ne “De nouveau talents en _vidence”, La Libert_, March 13, 2003
    • Karlinsky, Amy Art Review, Young Winnipeg Artist Exhibition, March 20, 2003
    • Cameron, Amy “Hey we’re from Winnipeg too...”, Maclean’s magazine, March 24, 2003
    • Enright, Robert “Nouveau Winnipeg”, Border Crossings Magazine, p.15-16, issue No. 86, 2003
    • Work from YWA featured on A-Channel Wired, March 13, 2003
    • Work from YWA featured on ZED, CBC, March 20, 2003
    • Philibert, Dominique “Le R_ve devenue r_alit_”, La Libert_, (vol 89 n. 19) August 22 – 28, 2002
    • Cr_te, Myl_ne “Peintre aux desseins lumineux”, La Libert_, (vol 88 n. 42) February 15 – 21, 2002 interview featured on “Manitoba Ce Soir” News, August 19, 2002, Winnipeg, Manitoba
    • Interview featured on “Wired” A-Channel News, September 5, 2002, Winnipeg, Manitoba
    • Dub_, Gabrielle interview on CKXL radio, Saint-Boniface, Manitoba, 2002
    • Ousset, Jean-Marc CKSB Radio-Canada, Saint-Bonitace, Manitoba, 2002
    Education
    2008
    • Masters in Fine Arts Concordia University, Montréal, Québec
    2005
    • MFA program, exchange Glasgow School of Art, Glasgow, UK
    2003
    • BFA Honours Degree, Painting Thesis, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba

    1999
    • First year Visual Arts, University of Ottawa, Ontario

    Selected Collections
    • Royal Bank of Canada, Toronto, Ottawa, Winnipeg
    • Femmarte, Canada
    • Doris McCarthy Gallery, University of Toronto, Scarborough, Ontario
    • Winnipeg Art Gallery, Winnipeg, Manitoba
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