Artful Musing

THE ARTFUL BLOGGER: The clever things one can do with roadkill — Marc Nerbonne showcases his work at Galerie St. Laurent + Hill

By Paul Gessell

This image by Marc Nerbonne highlights the artist's ability to seemingly bring animals back to life with his vivid works, while other images "are like some horrible mistakes in Frankenstein’s laboratory." Photo credit: 'Resurected overloaded' , 40 x 30, technique mixte sur panneau, 2012.

You may have seen Marc Nerbonne hunting animals, often just before dawn, on the highway linking Ottawa and Montreal. He carries no gun. He is just armed with a camera. And he’s looking for roadkill.

Nerbonne is a Hull artist transplanted to Montreal. He is a brilliant artist, although there is a creep factor in his work that’s not to everyone’s taste. Basically, he creates paintings seamlessly married to collages of cropped roadkill photographs.

You might say the roadkill images are Nerbonne’s building blocks. Take the mesmerizing six-foot-by-four-foot painting “Afraid of What May Be in the Trees” currently on view at his new solo show at Galerie St. Laurent + Hill on Dalhousie. The central feature of the painting is a woman created from a collage of roadkill photo segments all the way from her black hair (dead crows) to her floor-length skirt (dead raccoons). In between there are fashionable uses of dead ducks and dead wild turkeys.

Don’t even ask what animal died to become her corpse-like face. You would be surprised what dead animals are found on the road. The bellies of overturned turtles are particularly loathsome and human looking. (more…)