VAP2021-Q4 Words and Pictures

Photographic poetry – Charlotte Ghomeshi.

Charlotte Guirestante Ghomeshi is a visual artist based in Montreal who came of age in the Laurentides, an astonishingly beautiful, wilderness area of the Canadian province of Quebec. That early relationship to the wilderness remains integral in here work both in the attention given to the natural world and her use of themes related to the “environment”.

Generally presented in the form of immersive multimedia installations, Charlotte’s projects exude great poetry. Her artistic practice uses photography and video installation to navigate through universes inspired by personal experiences. Through her lens, she makes us feel what she is feeling and question her interrogations. Among other things, we can perceive her incomprehension about the place of humans on Earth, our evolution, our existence, our life after death, and our influence on the environment. Universal questions that all of us ask to ourselves, children or adults, and that remain a source of unknown and uncertainty.  As she states, it is these unanswered questions that lead humans to focus on what they can determine. Faced with the impossibility of understanding or controlling his own purpose, humans tend to dominate other areas where they can act, notably on the natural world, the environment.

Through her purity and innocence, Charlotte understood many things. As many antique philosophers, founders of humanism and initiators of the reflections on macrocosm and microcosm, have expressed it: The whole truth of the Universe is the Universe. The whole truth of humanity is humanity. The message is within us and around us. We only need to observe and listen, to listen to ourselves. Everything repeats itself from the smallest particle to the immensity. Thus, our bodies are the image of the Universe. 

This is exactly what Charlotte’s work evokes for me. Her practice transcends us with truth and gentleness. She succeeds in changing the perception that one could have on the human being, on nature, on life, and understand that we are part of a Whole.

In her works, intimate, we feel her pains and joys, as well as the pains and joys of her subjects. Indeed, by her great sensitivity, Charlotte has the power to read the soul of her subjects and transform them into images. As much by the raw capture of her images as by the treatment of those, she uses a soft visual language, empathic and metaphorical, to communicate these emotions felt.

Finally, when pausing to contemplate her works we perceive that the artist already intuitively understands the answers to the questions she poses both to us the viewer and to herself, the maker. This is the innate wisdom, veiled with innocence and lightness, that makes the experience of Gohmeshi’s work equally so specific and so powerful.

About the writer: Originally from Mont Tremblant, Eve Saint Jean lives and works in Montreal (QC). Since 2017, Eve has had several solo exhibitions, notably at the AVE Gallery (Emerging Visual Arts), at the Letter Bet and more recently at the Maison de la Culture Notre-Dame-de-Grâce. She has also participated in various group exhibitions at Marc Gosselin Gallery, Archive Contemporary Gallery in Montreal and some group shows in New York curated by Slow Burn NYC. In 2018 she received a TELUS bursary for her participation in Festival Soir. 

About the artist: Charlotte Guirestante Ghomeshi is a visual artist from Saint-Sauveur, Canada. Based in Montreal since 2012, she graduated from Concordia University in 2020 with a major in photography. Her artistic practice uses photography and video installation to navigate worlds that are inspired by personal experiences. Of poetic and sensitive nature, her
work speaks of lived experiences and traumas that are linked to themes of death and global destruction. Charlotte was a member of the Vitamine Scout collective and the Tartelette Collective. Her work has been exhibited at Livart, Archive Contemporary, VAV Gallery and will be presented at Skol and Centre SAGAMIE in 2022.