Artist Statement 2024
Edie Beaucage works across painting, video, and dance performances to investigate identity, societal norms, inclusion, and the melting tundra. Through a research-based practice engaging art history and the everyday, collecting snapshots spanning centuries and cultures, she engages in autofictive explorations; by inventing imaginative characters, Beaucage challenges societal norms of identity definition, favoring nonstereotypical portrayals to break free from normative codes. This liberation from conformity leads to promoting inclusion and diversity. Beaucage's deliberate choice to infuse her composition with recognizable features juxtaposed against a tumultuous backdrop speaks to the central tenets of figurative abstraction. It is a dialogue on the human condition, a silent conversation that plays out in the space between form and formlessness. Her ensemble of cool, eccentric characters play the protagonists in invented stories. She devises loose-leaf narratives, uses various mediums, and creates fantastical and positive atmospheres with seductive and humorous elements.
Ultra-ninity Project 2024
My new project is a quest to imagine the representation of "ultra-femininity." Raised as a tomboy in a Hardware store owned by my family in Quebec, I was encouraged to act and think like a boy rather than a stereotypical girl. The reason why this happened would be worth another exhibition but for the time being, I wish to explore the effect on my ideation and imagination of being denied growing into my femininity. In short, it distorted my own identity and it pushed me to feel very confused and misshaped in my teenage years. Fortunately, I overcame this dilemma but it is still active in my imagination. I had to counterbalance this state of being by creating an imaginary world where girls are super sweet, mysterious, and cute. That experience connected me to the struggles and questions we socially face on identity today. I work across painting, video, and dance performances to investigate identity, societal norms, and inclusion. I strive to invent imaginative characters in my paintings and challenge these norms, favoring nonstereotypical portrayals to break free from normative codes. I believe this liberation from conformity leads to promoting inclusion and diversity. I wish to feature my work's positive, seductive, and humorous elements.
My project involves developing a body of work to represent and investigate what I call "ultra-femininity." I am compensating for what I missed as a young girl by creating images of extremely selective "girliness."
I observe feminine constructs through time in art history and popular culture. I mainly focus on tropes: vamp, goth, femme fatale, etc. Favoring a soft definition of a woman since I am trying to get away from the firm and tough tomboy persona I had to build growing up; I choose specific aspects and constructs of the feminine that are minimal, light, and delicate in my paintings.
I also use figurative abstraction in my approach. I use abstract color fields to focus on the conversation between defined elements, such as eyes, necklaces, and undefined spaces. Sometimes, the various colors feel like a sky, a lake, or a field.
I plan to create paintings on watercolor paper and wall pieces in ceramics and paper pulp to further develop another material aspect of the works. I wish to create various small-format works that clearly state my desire to be a woman.
Bohemian Resistance May 2023
Edie Beaucage’s art is a celebration of contemporary possibilities. Her interest is in figures who rise above the conventions of their moment, who express a fierce and incandescent individualism that imprints the viewer with the possibilities inherent in a fully realized personality.
Her process involves gathering images and arranging storyboards from a broad array of sources ranging from Venice Beach street life to Egyptian sculptures to the contemporary art scene. What emerges are startling a-historical reminiscences that capture visual and formal thought lines from over three centuries of bohemian resistance to cultural hegemony.
Careful habits of art historical observation, readership, and a lifetime of intense observation take shape in her seemingly spontaneous style of painting. Her process is uninterrupted and immediate in a casualist manner. She styles long, congruous, and sequacious series of brush strokes, confident in the momentary expression of a truth that is based upon hours of premeditation and reflection.
In an era of mass-media thought coercion, Edie’s work is committed to the preservation of intellectual and spiritual independence. She invests her seemingly whimsical subjects with genuine purpose, presence, and the intense assuredness of self-realization. Her vibrant imaginative portraiture of moments and her semi-figurative characters alert the viewer to the urgent need to develop, express, and celebrate the saving force of an indelible personality.
JD Lopez, PhD
Statements for each Exhibition
What is cool? It’s an attitude, social ease, confidence, openness, a sense of style; a fearless flapper with a high-cropped bob, a surfer girl with beachy waves and an easy smile, a self-possessed Egyptian goddess with kohl-rimmed eyes, a Venice Beach barista with a long copper beard. It’s Jean Seberg in Breathless. Coolness reaches across time and place, glancing at its audience with an aloof and indefinable yet enviable expression.
Through a research-based praxis engaging art history and the everyday, collecting snapshots spanning centuries and cultures, Los Angeles-based artist Edie Beaucage engages in autofictive explorations. She redefines personal histories by creating iconic portraits at a larger-than-life scale that reimagine her Québécois family—her sister Dominique, her brother Michel, and herself– as hip SoCal teenagers with synth-wave daydreams—a correction of an uncomfortable adolescence. Rendered with big bold brushstrokes, Beaucage’s characters ooze effortless and effervescent cool. Her paintings plumb the past and present to convey whispers of truth, declarations of sincerity, and the invented authenticity of reimagined biographies.
Beaucage reinvents memories, imbuing them with the casual coolness she longed for as an awkward teen in her exploration of real and imagined identities. Working from an altermodernist perspective, she interconnects cultures and disregards time. She erases her souvenir du Quebec by redrawing herself and her siblings into her current California life, cross-pollinating and creating her own first-generation hybrid offshoots. By painting, Beaucage materializes les nouveaux Californiaquois heureux.
Site Specific Public Art Project, Harbor Park Garage, Baltimore, April 2019 to March 2023
Look 70 feet up and 29 feet across—Edie Beaucage’s site-specific public art project is boldly suspended on the façade of the Harbor Park Garage located adjacent to the inner harbor of Baltimore. For the inaugural project of what will be a rotating exhibition space, Los Angeles-based painter Beaucage draws from her world of characters that populate non-linear narratives and fantastical spaces as they move through acts of work, passion, romance, and leisure. This vinyl translation of a composite trio of Beaucage’s paintings presents light and friendly characters who are casual and good-looking beacons of camaraderie and openness—a gigantic invitation for the citizens of Baltimore to enjoy being out and about in their town.
Created with large expressive brushstrokes, the figures are attired in bright yellow and magenta, stylish hoodies, pants, and boots—Beaucage’s characters function as shorthand for a range of philosophical concepts that undergird the artist’s production strategies. Drawing inspiration from Jacques Derrida’s “presence,” and Edward Titchener’s "empathy,” Beaucage creates congenial and approachable characters who stand alone and also interact with each other. Beaucage borrows from psychologist Jonathan Haidt’s notion of humans as "ultra-social" beings able to live in very large cooperative groups as they individually struggle with the ways they are perceived by each other.
This installation reflects Beaucage’s recurring interest in social connections in active city crowds. These new characters are musicians, DJs, and dancers—some are even related to previous personalities from Beaucage’s past bodies of work. This time new names for the characters will come from Baltimoreans, since next month will begin a contest to win special prizes at the Harbor Front Parking Garage by naming this friendly trio. Art lives everywhere in Baltimore!
Public Art Project from Orange Barrel Media at the Fox Theater in Hollywood. Video Projection of Charcoal & Carbon May 2022
Carbon & Charcoal video at the marquee of Fox Theater in Hollywood. Public Art Project of Orange Barrel Media. With this video, I bring my concern with melting ice caps and permafrost in our northern hemisphere to Hollywood Boulevard.
I remember trudging through the Tundra of Quebec when I was 19 years old. On my first solo hiking trip, hostel-hopping down le Golf St-Laurent, I reach the end of the road just past the town of Sept-Iles. Beyond that is the tundra. To the north, permafrost and immense glaciers stretch across the land, past the horizon.
Today in Los Angeles, my mind wanders in my studio, and I'm concerned about our unfolding understanding of global warming. With this video project, I am juxtaposing my drawing practice with recordings of melting icebergs and permafrost. In Charcoal & Carbon, my pink character is flying across the melting landscapes to bring us to these far away and almost entirely uninhabited lands, such as Labrador in Northern Quebec, the Arctic, or Iceland. As Timothy Morton points out it is a hyperobject in need of urgent attention.
I've got a good mind to give up living and go shopping instead,
Group exhibition at Luis De Jesus Los Angeles July-August 2019
Featuring works by Jim Adams, Edie Beaucage, Kate Bonner, Liz Collins, Caitlin Cherry, Hugo Crosthwaite, Zackary Drucker & Rhys Ernst, Dennis Koch, Margie Livingston, Erik Olson, Josh Reames, Alexandria Smith, and Peter Williams.
I've Got a Good Mind to Give Up Living and Go Shopping Instead takes its name from the 1968 blues song by B.B. King, which deals with the heartbreak that comes from a broken relationship, that moment of surprise and shock and of finality.
I read your letter this morning that was in your place in bed
And that's when I decided that I would be better off dead.
The sentiment begins as an irreverent proclamation but turns darker as King reveals he would be shopping "to pick up me a tombstone and be pronounced dead." Desperation, of course, has a way of distorting things and making them appear in extreme terms, yet the reality is often quite different. The artists in this exhibition explore ideas about relationships that aren't necessarily what they appear to be. Where does the line between truth and reality lie? Interpretation, much like break-ups, can be a constantly negotiated battle between parties. Some things can be read one way and understood in a completely different manner, or perhaps the fluidity of a thing—gender, for example—makes expansive truths and multiple realities possible. Interpretations that seem to embody opposing or contradictory positions often inspire a level of empathy, communication, and creativity that may transform a situation, making it ultimately more relatable and moving.
Fast Reverse Polychromatic Liquid Lines Modulator (FRPLLM)
Toronto Art Fair 2017, Luis De Jesus Los Angeles, Canada
Los Angeles-based Edie Beaucage created a series of paintings specifically for the Toronto Art Fair. In Fast Reverse Polychromatic Liquid Lines Modulator Beaucage's characters enact relationships exclusively "via" technology. In the painting You Know Dax Too? (2017) we find three mustached men chatting on FaceTime; in What's Ur Snap (2017) a group of friends in the woods exchange Snap Chat information; in Scotch and Sofa (2017) a
computer streaming Netflix is set on a living room table beside a pair
of boots for movie night at home.
Beaucage’s characters act out our
lives today and her paintings feel as if we were looking through a pair
of quantum-multicolor-night-vision-goggles. Dark impasto grounds
support amalgams of fine strings of paint that pile up to create images.
Akin to an analog 3D printer, these tangles of paint strings are
extruded from syringes to make fancy pants, funky boots, background
horses, inhabited cell phones, pink rocks, and pale blue trees, in
keeping with Beaucage signature affective paint style: buoyant,
confident, and vibrating with social energy.
Sequencer-Spectrum-Reverb 2016, Solo Exhibition, Luis De Jesus Los Angeles.
...A techno music festival, surrounded by pulsing music and flashing strobe lights. Piper is trying to figure out who the guy running by in front of her is and suddenly realizes it's Dax, from Berlin. He's the producer of the show and he's with that girl from Iceland, Svava. Why is he hanging out with her?
Transposing the idea of surround sound to the visual realm, Beaucage's new paintings introduce us to a music production crew: American, British, and German electronic musicians and producers, along with ravers, partygoers, and vape smokers. The exhibition consists of portraits on paper -- head and shoulder shots and figures in landscapes. Are these presumed impostors, pseudo-portraits, or counterfeit eccentrics?
Beaucage's loosely painted characters straddle representation and abstraction and oscillate between sincerity and parody. Specks, drips, and drops of paint animate hoodies, long coats, eyes, hair, and mustaches. Large expressive brushstrokes aroused by carbon black and phtalo turquoise energize the atmosphere. Although the work appears lighthearted it has a foothold in critical approach and philosophy. The characters function as shorthand for a range of philosophical concepts that undergird her strategies: "being with" (Heidegger's mitsein), "presence" and "trace" (Derrida), and "empathy" (Titchener's einfühlung). They are quite congenial and approachable -- if they were real; they're "ultrasocial" (Haidt) and free.
Beaucage notes that these theories are alive or active when a person is trying to figure out what they are looking at, as when the viewer fabricates stories about the characters and finds the characters to be simpatico, they (you, the viewer) empathize and make up meaning from abstraction. "That is where these theories break down into a process -- 'trace', making the image; 'presence', a sense of a person being the character... then the viewer discovers a 'being with', the viewer is with the character and some characters are in groups; therefore, the viewer projects himself into that group in 'empathy'. The whole exhibition becomes a social space, a scene that you look at and that you can put yourself in." In this respect, Sequencer-Spectrum-Reverb explores the concept of relationship as the waveform through different degrees of definition of abstraction and figuration.
Skipper: Volta Art Fair 2016, Solo Exhibition, Luis De Jesus Los Angeles, New York
Beaucage’s Skipper paintings invite you to follow a young swashbuckler couple on a topside adventure. Petula is a sailor, she sold all her belongings in New York and now navigates the South Pacific with her lover and shipmate; a philosopher from Denmark called Gudbjorn. He is a scholar and an activist. His most famous publications are: How To Give Up Oil For Electric Cars, How to Stop Polar Caps from Melting, and How to Create Justice and Equality for Everyone. Gud loves cutting wood. Making wood ornaments while thinking about how the world's population is exponentially growing. What will happen to the food production in Micronesia he wonders; Gud wonders a lot and then he writes books with solutions about it; from his own experience on the ground. A femme of high spirits, Petula enjoys great conversations with aged tequila in her sailboat boudoir. She loves to be top-free on the island, surrounding herself with quiet plants. Every afternoon Petula swims. Gud takes pictures of Petula day and night. They plumb the depths together.
Chill Bivouac Rhymes 2015, Solo Exhibition, CB1 Gallery, Los Angeles
Beaucage’s Chill Bivouac Rhymes paintings and mixed media exhibition invites you to follow a small group of teens at a rave concert. A young Bolshoi ballerina; Ekaterina becomes a rave bunny and escapes her Russian lover to venture in cutting shapes with a young surfer from Bora Bora.
In parallel to S/Z’s Roland Barthe's search for openness of interpretation in literature; Beaucage organized her current exhibition to allow for a looseleaf narrative. Barthes had concluded that "an ideal text is one that is reversible, or open to the greatest variety of independent interpretations and not restrictive in meaning; avoiding strict timelines and exact definitions of events." Beaucage brings about this reversibility in the exhibition by choosing a series of paintings that mixes the plot in a non-linear fashion, including molly-induced moments and cinematic tropes in 3D.
All the images visually rhyme with one another around a central bivouac; a campsite in the woods where the Rave is happening. The rhymes are geometric elements that are both color and sound.
The viewer will discover the paintings by looking through sculptures and painting installations. Multicolor trees, an octagon geometric shape, and freestanding painted campers are installed on the gallery floor to produce a deep focus space. The inclusion of the three levels of foreground, middle ground, and extreme background objects (a large painting 9 x 12 feet) will create for the viewer a similar effect to a depth of field composition in cinematography; allowing the viewer to focus both close and distant planes.
Beaucage created enamel on Iron pieces that were fired at 1450° F; fusing glass to metal. Influenced by Limoges enamelings from the mid-1600s, her ravers are encapsulated in a deep glossy tranced-out space.
Bidibidiba 2012, Solo Exhibition, CB1 Gallery, Los Angeles
Bidibidiba is a figure of speech for love, pleasure, sentimentality, and fun...Bidibidiba is where characters are built with painting activation in mind. Multicolored brush strokes are used to build abstractions that are part of the figure. The imagery is built with paint that reverts the figure/ground conversation to a figure/figure construction by building what used to be "ground" onto the same plane as the figure so they can interact.
The exhibition consists of “idealistically” bound portraits of diverse characters including girls and philosophers, art students (both fictional and real), hipsters with mustaches, Egyptian girls, princesses, knights, dragons, musketeers, wigged women, bearded men, and dandies. They are sometimes in conversations or simply doing their jobs of being portraits and holding the paint together.
Bidibidiba is the title song of the 1970 movie “L’ Homme Orchestre” (“The Orchestra Men”) with French comedian Louis De Funes. Specifically, the Bidibidiba dance within this comedy had the effect of molding a desire in Beaucage for a modern and colorful life. Bidibidiba is light, entertaining, new, and full of sentimentality. Also influencing the artist is Roland Barthes who wrote Le Plaisir Du Texte (The Pleasure of the Text), a book he was hoping would influence other thinkers, philosophers, and researchers to consider pleasure within the critical discourse. In a 1973 interview, Roland Barthes talks about his book and explains very simply that the notion of pleasure is on “the right”, attempting to convince his friends on “the left” that pleasure should not be dismissed and actually included in criticality. He later took on the subject of love in the same manner in 1977 with his book Fragments d’un Discours Amoureux (A Lovers Discourse).
.hurluberlu 2011, Solo Exhibition, CB1 Gallery, Los Angeles
The exhibition continues the artist’s exploration of painted images that investigate relationships between signs of abstraction and figuration and how we derive meaning by simple juxtaposition of these signs. Beaucage invents characters and places them side by side with an abstracted form into a scenario that mimics what happens in a social space. The emotional thread woven into the paintings, the social spaces, is meant to stimulate discourse with the audience.
In the artist’s native Quebec, a “hurluberlu” is one who is a little crazy, sweet, and original in his way of thinking, and how he dresses and behaves. Physical applications of volatile multicolor brush strokes to the canvas, are the basis for the hurluberlu–like characters, while the abstractions are an investigation of improvised construction based on the shape of a lozenge (diamond shape) and Catalan solids (geometric). Relationships between the figures and the abstractions are associated with modal logic theorems in which a lozenge represents a possibility and the figure is an agent (player). We are therefore in the domain of .hurluberlu.