We had the pleasure of talking to Toronto’s own visual artist Camille Jodoin-Eng about her upcoming exhibition at the Gladstone Hotel’s Art Hut, PLAZA. An ancient city containing a stone courtyard, filled with echoing archways and a mirrored staircase, physical and psychological space are fluid at the Plaza. Its sturdy architecture houses an imagined visual language of symbols. A wordless language born from intuition, emotion, and instinct. Check out some highlights from our conversation below.
What are some of the sources of inspiration for your works?
I draw inspiration from every aspect of my life. From my everyday surroundings (I was born and raised in the city), to film, especially sci-fi, books, poetry, nature, my dual heritage (Canadian/Chinese), calligraphy, architecture, light, space, memory, museums, and my friends. Being visually inclined has led to intense fascination with light my entire life.
What about the space of the Art Hut has informed how you are displaying PLAZA?
The Art Hut is located inside the Queen Village Plaza, I found this very amusing. I want the exhibition to be mixture of all sorts of public spaces. From a run down parking lot strip mall plaza, to an ancient stone plaza, to a major city square with flashing lights and bill boards, all these types of public spaces have similar architectural elements, I’m trying to distill these elements. The location of the Art Hut had me considering how we maneuver around public space and how the architecture of these spaces affects us.
Where did the idea of Electri-City, the nerve core of PLAZA, come from?
Electri-City is a metaphor for the body and mind, by representing them through a familiar framework it helps me to see them from another perspective and better understand them. The architectural components becomes the skeleton while the forms and symbols represent psychic space.
There is an element of sci-fi in your work, how has this aesthetic influenced you?
I love sci-fi, it takes incredible creativity to imagine a new world and invent the systems and textures of that space/time. While working on PLAZA I was reading Neuromancer and watched Akira. Some of my favourite sic-fi movies are Alien, Moon, 5th Element, Blade Runner, and Brazil. City architecture and elements are a part of my visual vocabulary because this is where I have always lived.
How do you want your audience to feel when experiencing PLAZA?
I want people to feel calm and that this is a space for reflection. A sort of chapel of lights. There are so few public spaces separate from religion that are dedicated to stillness and quietness.
Check out Camille Jodoin-Eng’s work on at the Gladstone Art Hut-1181 Queen Street W
Opening Reception Thursday Feb 23rd 2017, 7pm-10pm
Friday Feb 24th – 12PM to 5PM
Saturday Feb 25th – 12PM to 5PM