Parallel Spaces (Maternity)
Some figures in the Moncton arts community saw the need for alternative art exhibition spaces in order to increase what was on offer and to contribute to contemporary art flourishing in Acadie. Several non-subsidized exhibition venues opened their doors over the years thanks to the initiative of determined individuals, who had a great ability for getting things done. These initiatives include Le Clapet in the 1960s, Galerie Explosion (1975-76), Galerie Trunk (1996-99), Moo Moo Morte in the 1990s, and the mini-gallery of Radio-Canada (1973-1993).
Artists in front of Le Clapet (around 1972-1973). Photo : GALRC archives
The works created by Dominik Robichaud for Images rémanentes propose a reinterpretation of parallel spaces for exhibiting visual art. This project examines the past, or rather the neglect of the past: that of giving a place to maternity as a subject discussed and recognized in the visual arts in Acadie, like many other topics specific to women’s reality. At the same time, Robichaud invites us to consider the future by creating a (conceptual) space that enables and encourages women to speak on the topic of maternity. Art is thus presented as a springboard for reflection, highlighting the potential of an interdisciplinary approach.
Birth Labyrinth I (prenatal) / Birth Labyrinth II (postpartum)
Birth Labyrinth I (prenatal) and Birth Labyrinth II (postpartum) form a diptych. The first component is installed at the Centre de formation médicale du Nouveau-Brunswick while the second is installed in the Georges-Dumont Hospital's Obstetric Clinic. These pieces look at maternity and the medical world around it offer, through the visual arts, a new approach to the question. They address members of the public who are directly concerned by the question—first of all, expecting pregnant women, new mothers and their families, along with the medical personnel involved in their care. This project weaves interdisciplinary links between the artworld and that of medicine, inviting us to reconsider the contribution of each to reflections related to maternity.
Birth Labyrinth II (postpartum) (detail), 2018, Embroidery on hospital gown and acrylic painting on wood
These artworks are inspired by Robichaud’s personal experience, something that is typical of her practice. Rooted in autobiography, they cast an analytical look at the sometimes-harrowing reality of maternity and the various ways it is dealt with medically. The two parts of the diptych demonstrate the in-depth research carried out by the artist into the pre-natal (CFMNB) and post-partum (obstetrics clinic) periods respectively.
Birth Labyrinth II (prénatal) (detail), 2018, embroidery on hospital gown and acrylic painting on wood
They incorporate images belonging to the world of modern medicine juxtaposed with symbols deriving from traditional practices (midwives, doulas, etc.). At the center of each work is a hospital gown embroidered with a “birth labyrinth,” an analog representation of a meditative strategy that can accompany pregnancy, childbirth, and welcoming the baby. The elements surrounding the gown evoke various stages of maternity, illustrating the theme of each of the works.
This project weaves interdisciplinary links between the artworld and that of medicine, inviting us to reconsider the contribution of each to reflections related to maternity.
Dominik Robichaud is primarily a painter. She explores notions of self-representation through material forms of artistic enquiry that combine painting with other mediums such as collage, drawing, ceramics, and installation. Robichaud reflects on memory and its transmission by developing an intimate universe. She highlights the tensions and parallels between dichotomies: well-being and anxiety, silence and turbulence, the masculine and the feminine. The theme of motherhood, a unifying theme of her artistic practice in recent years, is treated from a resolutely autobiographical perspective.
Dominik Robichaud graduated from the Visual Arts Department at the Université de Moncton in 2008. Several solo exhibitions of her work have been shown, including Body Language (Beaverbrook Art Gallery, 2013), The Birds and the Bees (Aberdeen Cultural Centre, 2015), and Relief (Dieppe Arts and Culture Centre, 2017). She also maintains an art therapy practice.