January 2012
Excerpt of a conversation between Sean Ward and Magalie Guérin at a kitchen table.

 

M: […] It’s like– you’re doing something and you want to know who you’re going to be in (my favorite word here) conversation with. The work is a meeting point. That’s what’s interesting about art– how it’s possible to communicate, via an object, one’s philosophy, one’s personal modus operandi on how to live this life.

S: Any words you can put to that philosophy?

M: For me it’s engagement, it’s presence, care; a desire to travel through the cracks.

S: Oh what does that mean?

M: Well I remember thinking about romantic relationships in that way, about having someone in your life. The most compelling thing about that for me is that this person is available for you to travel upon– literally travel– physically, emotionally, intellectually. You’re allowed to touch everywhere, to inquire about everything. You have this thing in front of you that gives you permission to go in all these mini rooms, all these cracks and nooks, in the dark corners. That’s what a relationship is– giving a person permission to explore you.
The work is that way for me– I’m constructing it yes but once there’s something there, then I have an obligation to go everywhere within it.

S: So you think of the paintings as an offer of that permission?

M: Yes.

S: Being attentive, giving permission– but you’re also talking about having a conversation with people through your paintings. Are you creating surrogates?

M: No, not really. But they are a vessel and a way of linking us. There’s a kinship I feel when I look at someone else’s art that I like. In the end, I don’t really care about the painting, I care about the painter. I go directly to the person; I’m curious about the mind at play. But the work is not only about the maker, it’s also about the viewer because it won’t exist for him if he can’t recognize it. And if he does recognize it– and I use the word ‘recognition’ purposely here– then that says something about him also, you know what I mean?

S: We’re going back to presence here. It makes sense– there’s always two people that have to be present. Even if the viewer is not there, there has to be two in the painting, two everywhere.

M: Two or more, yes.