Valérie Blass

For over twenty-five years, Valérie Blass (b. 1967, Montreal; lives/works: Montreal) has honed a sculptural language that plays with traditional and contemporary materials, techniques, and tropes. Found objects, photographs, marble, wood, spray paint, and plaster are examples of media that Blass has incorporated into her set-like installations, assemblages, and free-standing objects; these works sit along various points of a long spectrum between figuration and abstraction. Running through Blass’s practice is a concern for the proportions, scale, and shape of the human body. In some works, such as Surtout ne pas consulter les ingénieurs! (2014), an abstract plaster form echoes the bends and folds of a bipedal skeleton. In other works, such as She’s a Nympho, I’m a Therapist (2013), a recognizable body part juts out of an otherwise abstract tower of materials that tests sculpture’s historic concerns with weight, volume, and mass. Through this ever-evolving language, Blass is creating a world just-removed from our own, filled with imaginative creatures, personas, failures and aspirations. Following her inclusion in the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal’s Triennale du Québec in 2008, Blass received international commissions and regular inclusion in biennials and group exhibitions.

Blass studied at the Université du Québec à Montréal, receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1998, and a Master of Fine Arts in 2006. She was the 2017 recipient of the Gershon Iskowitz Prize, presented with the Art Gallery of Ontario, where her prize exhibition was held in 2019. She has presented notable solo exhibitions at Catriona Jeffries, Vancouver (2020); Oakville Galleries, Canada (2019); Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin (2019); Artspeak, Vancouver (2015); Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (2012); and MOCA Toronto (2009). In 2013, she presented a new commission for the Public Art Fund in New York. Blass’s work has been included in numerous group exhibitions including at Musée Zadkine, Paris (2021); Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, University of California (2021); Centre d'art contemporain d'Ivry – le Crédac, France (2019); National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa (2017, 2011); La Biennale de Montréal (2016); Vancouver Art Gallery (2016); Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland (2016); Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, Quebec City (2016, 2011); Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal (2014, 2010).