The Laughing Buddha
194 Elgin Street
Ally Zmijowskyj Carlos
Emma Ducharme is an emerging Toronto-based multidisciplinary artist exploring futurism in abstraction. Working from intuitive graphite sketches to generate dimensional, geometric wall sculptures, Ducharme’s lengthy process and labour-intensive works implore the vitality of awareness; stressing the importance of rest and self-reflection in the dismantling of capitalist, colonial systems that value robotic productivity over human creativity.
Holding a Bachelor of Fine Arts from OCAD University (2021), Ducharme’s work considers the importance of play in art, design, fashion; life. Her work challenges the notion that fulfilling work must always be serious work, and stresses the necessity for self-actualized, joyful work (in conjunction with the serious stuff), in order to forge a brighter future.
Growing up in Sudbury (b. 1999) and spending her early years in rural northern Ontario, Ducharme’s practice is influenced in colour and form by an appreciation of this natural landscape; centering meaningful making and prioritizing an awareness of our environment’s impact on us, and, in turn, our impact on it.
Reflecting on the cruciality of radically joyful, sometimes unproductive art-making in an increasingly commodified world, Ducharme’s work calls into question our relationship with items. It considers the spiritual and personal implications of art-making, while challenging our corporate commodified relationship with objects. Comfort and security (financial or other) are often seen as the basis for success. But what is the true definition of success, outside of these corporatized monetary illusions so few of us ever truly experience?
Ducharme’s work considers the need for purely impractical visuals in our skull-numbingly practical consciousness. The resulting pieces are fun; both in their intuitive design process and in their colourful, geometric appearance.
Her works are by their very nature somewhat impractical. The layering of the heavy wood pieces makes for a seemingly unstable object, toying with our perception of the material’s physicality. This illusionary component hints at the ways in which what we see, what we register as fact, is not always such an honest exactitude; not always a genuine reflection of truth. How it is, in fact, hardly ever such a thing at all. Most all our understandings aren’t tied to anything resembling fact, but are merely reflections of our understanding of the world, our upbringing, our traumas, our desires.
Much in this same vein, the works explore this disruption of what we quantify as truth in our ever-evolving, ever-commercialized contemporary landscape.