We are excited to share this Behind the Canvas feature this week on Rachel Bouchard. Rachel is the dealer and creative force behind the Front Gallery in Edmonton, AB. She is constantly exploring new artists, and works and isn't afraid to take risks in her programming, which makes her someone you will want to watch! We recently caught up with Rachel, and here is what she had to say.
AP. Where did you grow up? What or who inspired you? What are some of your proudest achievements?
RB. I grew up on a farm in northern Alberta, and I would say that my time on the farm was what inspired me. I was always exploring and I have a deep appreciation for nature which developed in me a longing for introspection while also appreciating the sense of being interconnected. I have always felt that curating is mostly intuitive, and my hope is that I provide an atmosphere that allows the viewer to get lost in a painting/show. I studied at Medicine Hat College, Red Deer College, Mount Royal College, and Sotheby’s Institute. My proudest moment was when I travelled to Italy to study ‘Reggio Children’ which is a program that focuses on discovery learning through art. It was a pivotal moment for me, being a mother of four, because it really validated my life long passion for discovery learning, and the effort that I put in to instilling the value of art, the importance of introspection and connecting while preserving our own interpretation.
AP. How would you describe the type of art and artists you represent?
RB. I have to give credit to the previous owner (Gregorie Barber) for having a solid group when I took over the gallery four years ago. That being said, I have added to the group, and a few have moved on. My curatorial philosophy: Without words, the artist provides a language that can soothe, excite, and even challenge the viewer. My job is to ensure that the transitions are seamless, so that the overall message is invigorating and unforgettable. Edmonton is a fabulous city with such artistic diversity. Many of my artists are local and I’m so proud of the way that they represent this city. I have every aspect of Edmonton featured here at The Front Gallery. Beautiful landscapes, back alleys, figures, sculpture, as well as abstract expressionists.
AP. What upcoming project(s) are you currently really excited about?
RB. I have been working on an estate that includes work from several well-known international artists. It has been a wonderful experience to see some of this work outside of a gallery/museum setting.
AP. Where can people find your gallery? How can they purchase a work?
RB. I am located at 12323 104th Avenue, in Edmonton, Alberta. They can purchase work by visiting the gallery or they can also contact us through our website.
AP. Who is your favourite creative person? Why?
RB. That is a really difficult question, but I have to say Vincent van Gogh. I love his work, and I also appreciate his struggle. I have used his perseverance as an example to students while teaching a six week art class in Medicine Hat in 2004. Each lesson had an art history component to it, and I would always touch on how dramatically his work improved over a ten year period and that he firmly believed that learning to draw was like learning how to write, anyone could do it with practice. It really encouraged the students who loved art but lacked the confidence to explore their creativity.
AP. What is your favourite album of all time?
RB. Jan and Dean because it was the first album that I bought and I felt pretty cool.
AP. If you didn’t have to work what would you do with your time?
RB. Exactly what I am doing now, with a little more free time for family and to travel.
AP. What is your favourite journey?
RB. When I lose myself in art, whether I am producing or viewing someone else’s work.
AP. What is your favourite work of art in your personal collection?
RB. A painting that my daughter Janice painted for Mother’s day when she was in grade 7. It is a moody little painting.
AP. What are your thoughts on the influence of fashion and music on visual arts?
RB. I love the vibe that comes from all of the above. When they are cohesive, it intensifies the mood, and helps to create a beautiful experience.
AP. Who is your favourite author?
RB. It is a toss up between Walt Whitman and Maya Angelou.
AP. How do you decide which artists to work with?
RB. If I connect with their work, I usually connect with them too.
AP. What is your greatest achievement in life so far?
RB. My family.
AP. What is your favourite colour?
RB. I love them all!
AP. What is the one thing you want to share with everyone reading this?
RB. Take the time to enjoy art and always have a good book on the go.
For more information about Rachel or the Front Gallery you can visit their website at www.thefrontgallery.com