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Michelle Bellemare, Blowout (detail view in motion), 2002. Party blowout, mechanism, motion sensor, drywall wall. Photography: Isaac Applebaum.


December 12 - December 12, 2018

Michelle Bellemare

A party blower, attached to a motion detector, uncurls to express a frantic celebratory salute until it slows down to an abrupt halt as though it has become self-conscious of its lonely expression of exuberance.

Embedded in the wall is a party blower. Typically used at parties: to welcome in the new year or to cheer a birthday child – they are a vehicle through which to shout consent to the celebration at hand. This one, however, is attached to a motion detector. As you enter its space it begins a frantic, happy salute. But slowly, ever so slowly, the gesture becomes more tentative, the exaltation wanes as if unsure… where are the others? What is the event? It’s as though the party blower has become self-conscious of its lonely expression of exuberance.

There is a gentle pause in this work, a listening to the small and everyday. Something is missing. Its lack fills the space and becomes another presence. A presence that suggests a very human paradox: without hope, there is no disappointment.


Michelle Bellemare is a Toronto based artist who has exhibited nationally and internationally. Her work explores how materials can embody emotional or physical vulnerability. In provoking the body’s inherent reflexes, Bellemare’s approach is relational, experiential and phenomenological.

Bellemare’s sculptural works and installations have been included in numerous group and solo exhibitions, including a solo survey of her work at the Koffler Gallery, Toronto, the Southern Alberta Art Gallery, Lethbridge and as part of the New Territories group exhibition at ARCO, Madrid.

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