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Teeth & Art - Galerie Dentaire!

Posted by Denis / May 8, 2007

Personally, I can’t think of anything that goes better together than the odd root canal and contemporary painting. Ask certain closed-minded Monet-lovers and one pretty much equals the other as far as they’re concerned.
But they haven’t met galeriste Jean Fortin and his partner Dr. Marc Raper, whose mandate, with their intriguing combo-space Galerie Dentaire , centers around respect for the artists they deal with and a self-effacing attitude towards anyone who’d like to pop in – not for a cleaning or a crown – but for a look around at the latest exhibition.

Having lived in London for a time, the duo saw that, due to the insane rents our British brethren are saddled with, business was often merged with pleasure, and art with commerce. Hence the inspiration for Galerie D on Amherst in the village.
Walk in and you’ll notice that the reception area is almost larger than the dental practice’s workspaces, and art adorns each wall, fully and completely. It doesn’t stop there, though. Continue on through and lively abstracts by veteran painter Jean-Guy Laplante line the walls of corridors and examination rooms! Laplante, who describes his work as ‘…a study of the expressionism of the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s…’, claims influences such as DeKooning and Hoffmann. After having been showed through the space and seen the works, I’d have to say that’s pretty accurate.
But abstraction isn’t necessarily Galerie D’s niche. Art and artists are. The dental practice at the back and the massage therapy clinic (better than novocaine, if you ask me!) in the basement may pay the bills, but that doesn’t mean the gallery is a hobby for Fortin, who programs the gallery’s eight to nine solo shows each year. And when an artist is awarded a show, all expenses are paid by the commercial enterprise. Sure, there’s the standard fifty percent commission on works sold, but when you think that the artist doesn’t pay a cent for swank invitation cards or copious vernissage vino, regardless of whether anything sells… well, it’s a testament to their love and respect for art.
And that love extends to you, dear reader/art lover. Popping into a dentist’s office just to look at the art may not seem obvious, but the men and women down there go out of their way to make visitors comfortable to come in and just poke around. So fret not, no appointment or cavity needed!
Now, before you artists run down there with your portfolio, know this: they’re booked until the end of 2008… and even the artist currently showing, Laplante, was refused when he first submitted. But Fortin saw something the second time around that led him to grant Laplante an exhibition. It all came down to depth of colour. “Before it was all flat surface and no point of entry for the viewer. Now it’s accessible,” says Fortin.
With such a keen eye, maybe they should have opened a Galerie Optométriste…
Jean-Guy Laplante’s Les Trous Noirs runs until June 6th at Galerie D(entaire), 1239, rue Amherst.



OJ / May 9, 2007 at 08:33 pm
Nice. This seems slightly more appealing then staring at US magazine while waiting to have my gums prodded.
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