Through the Lens of... Montreal Visual Artist GAB BOIS

Images courtesy of the Gab Bois

Born and based in Montreal Canada, Gab Bois (she/her), is a multidisciplinary visual artist whose creative practice focuses on photography. She has participated in several group and solo exhibitions, including the Chromatic Festival in Montreal, The Coming World at the Garage Museum in Moscow, The Mania Exhibition in Manchester and No Commission during Art Basel in Miami.

Her unique style and interpretation reflect the satire of modern life, personal circumstances and environmental awareness of nature, using plants, soil, flowers, fauna, food, people and technology. Her work she says is of a deliberate reflective nature, aimed at mirroring her own experiences and opinions.

"It's very important to me to be and is almost always deliberate. While I've always lived in an urban environment, adventures to the park or weekend hikes with my mom were always so magical for me growing up. I would bring along a large ziplock bag and collect fallen chestnuts (or their spiky shells if I was lucky enough), autumn leaves, and all kinds of little treasures. Ever since I can remember, I've always had an admiration and close relationship with nature, which I try to showcase in my work"

Images courtesy of the Gab Bois

Her work masters the art of blurring the lines between real and simulated. And she stages herself in evocative and powerful visual compositions, where the spectator is exposed to the artist's view of the social signs and symbols used in today’s hyperreal consumer society. So where does she get her ideas from and are they mostly instinctive?

"They can come at any time. Early morning, when I'm in between dreams and reality, is usually a good time for ideas. Sometimes they come unannounced, but I also have to sit myself down and brainstorm. It's more exciting when they appear out of nowhere, but it's not something I can control, so I like to do both. I think brainstorming also puts me in a better disposition to welcome new ideas. I see inspiration as a muscle and brainstorming as the workout it takes to get the reward which, in this case, are spontaneous ideas."

Gab Bois photo book, "New Album" (Antesim Books 2020), comes with framed mirror surface on the cover, highlighting again the artist's self-reflective stance even for its reader, with a rare photo of the artist on the back.

The book showcases the first four years of Bois's photography journey, with image themes from nature, fashion and food to the human body and our relationship and dependence on smartphones and an all too familiar user experience such as 'low battery'. She explains.

"My book is a project that's been so close to my heart. It is an archive of the last four years and a compilation of my personal favourite IRL pieces, favourite online images, and a few book-exclusive ones. For the book design, I wanted to do something that would reflect the relationship between the physical and digital worlds that my imagery plays into. While mainly living online, my photos depict real objects, and I wanted my book to highlight this physical presence."

Extracts from "New Album" by Gab Bois (Anteism Books 2020)

Art certainly gives way to a form of unconscious and conscious expression which is often harder to communicate through words, I asked Bois what her opinion was of this.

" I agree with you on that. I can't tell you how often I've tried explaining what I do to people who asked and having a tough time finding the words for it. Most of the time, showing the work itself instead of trying to explain is easier. You mentioned instinct in a previous question. It plays a massive part in my process, and that's simply not something you can put into words."

Social commentary through is now more popular than ever. We see this in the rise of NFT art and certainly we are not in the same world we were living through two years ago. Our life experiences of climate change, social justice, racism, gender equality and humanity as one entity, artists have a wide canvas to distribute new ideas and opinions. So does Gab Bois see her work reflecting more of societal changes as she progresses forward? "I like to keep my work up open to interpretation. That being said, I position my work in certain ways that reflect my beliefs. That can take the form of raffles, donations through art prints sales, specific partnerships like the one I recently did with Helsinki Fashion Week. Their mission is to create more space for sustainability in the fashion and tech industries. The idea for this was to showcase everyday or discarded objects as materials".

Interview by Caroline S. Asante

New Album by Gab Bois is available for purchase on Amazon and is published by Anteism Books (2020).


Art through the lens of...

Is a Sustainable Diva Mag original series which views art through the lens of climate change, environment, social justice, racism, social commentary and fulfils a diversity of beliefs, outlook, culture, location and visibility.

Our series profiles global artists and makers who push the boundaries of interpretation and sustainability through their artistic excellence. The series was created in 2020 by Sustainable Diva Mag's founding editor-in-chief Caroline S. Asante. All rights reserved.