Les Cages; Beneath The Skin | reed projects gallery
september 4 - 27, 2014
Reed Projects Gallery presents their second Off Site event of the year – ‘Les Cages; Beneath The Skin’, an exhibition of new works by Sandra Chevrier.
In her series ‘Les Cages’, Sandra Chevrier challenges the false ideals of beauty and perfection that women are forced to face in today’s society, as they are constantly told what they should or shouldn’t be. This pressure acts like a cage, as a prison of identity, and women are often expected to take on the role of superheroes. She expresses this strong inner struggle by covering the faces of her female characters with comics scenes, while highlighting their powerful gaze.
“With the series ‘Les Cages’ I have worked to tell the story of women today and make evident the pressures of the societal demands and expectations laid on our shoulders – from the way we look to the manner in which we perform as human beings. With this new collection of work I look more towards the individual, the pressures that we each willfully pursue, the traps we lay upon ourselves in the belief in what ought and ought not be and our sincerest efforts to adapt therein. Perhaps we take upon ourselves these demands to fit the notion that surrounds us or perhaps such a notion is rendered acceptable by means of our relentless pursuit to adapt. In any case, this body of work explores the existential prisons we build for ourselves, the interior struggle, the civil war within. These are Les Cages, Beneath the skin”.
Sandra currently lives in Montreal, Quebec. She is a gaze collector, an idea chaser and a full time single mom. Her work takes her traveling over a broad range of fluctuating emotional enigmas and concepts that have set the standard of our modern communication. Working in a home studio, Sandra produces her work at a full-time scale, aggressively pursuing a common thread until it is worn away, leaving her to begin on a new path.
Her collaged portraits are quite literally torn between the fantastical heroics and humor of comic books, and the harsher underlying tragedy of oppressed female identity. Chevrier depicts her female figures trapped inside society’s suffocating ‘Cages’ of expectation; held captive by the limitations forced upon them by society and culture, and ultimately revealing how corrupt our perception of beauty has become. The comic book collages, at once anesthetizing and alluring, echo rather entertaining pop-art references that eventually belie the bitter irony that these females have been silenced, smothered, and even blinded by the very mechanisms that seduced us into their existence.
Chevrier’s collage technique, which frequently highlights epic battle scenes ripped from the pages of actual comic books, is applied rather haphazardly; yet it’s precisely this incongruous style of application (whereby fictional characters reach almost theatrical heights) that enhances the message of unrealistic pressures placed upon women in today’s world, and perfectly satirizes the farce of celebrity and the vacuous nature of unattainable expectations and dreams.
Les Cages; Beneath The Skin, Reed Projects Gallery, Stavanger, Norway