Canadian artist Yechel Gagnon has created a distinctive visual language using wood to create carved custom-made plywood bas-reliefs with tinted and natural veneers. Her process consists of carving the surfaces, revealing an imagery that oscillates between abstraction and representation with those intrinsic to the material. This effect evokes a fictional landscape where land and sea appear before us, where cavernous spaces are excavated and sweeping valleys emerge. One perceives the work as an aerial perspective and then all of sudden the viewer is plunged into a terrestrial realm. An oscillation between the macro and the micro fluctuates before our eyes like fractals. It is the viewer’s interpretation that dictates the scale of what is being seen. These different viewpoints are similar to traditional Chinese painting where one can see many different perspectives intertwine all into one image. Much to many people’s surprise, Gagnon does not use any paint in her work; only wood, obtaining a personal language of mark making that is both sculptural and painterly.
Gagnon’s works have been exhibited in museums’ and galleries across the world. Her works have also been commissioned for diverse institutions such as universities, cultural and medical centres, places of worship and corporate milieu’s. Her inspirations include Abstract Expressionism, Chinese Classical painting, Japanese garden and architecture and the works of Lynda Benglis, Tara Donovan, Nancy Holt, Jean-Paul Riopelle, Pat Steir and Fabienne Verdier. She holds a Master of Fine Arts Degree (Studio Arts) from Concordia University in Montreal and an AOCAD with Honours in Drawing and Painting from the Ontario College of Art and Design in Toronto. Her public artworks and exhibitions have attracted frequent reviews by noted critics and curators. She is recipient of numerous grants from the Canada Council for the Arts, Conseil des arts de Longueuil and the Conseil des Arts et des Lettres du Québec who awarded her the prestigious CALQ Creator of the Year award. Gagnon’s works are represented in public, corporate and private collections. They include the National Art Museum of China (Beijing), 4 World Trade Center (New York), Art Gallery of Nova Scotia (Halifax), BMO Art Collection (Toronto), City of Montreal, Osler Hoskin & Harcour