About

Biography

Gigi Retzo is a self-taught Montreal-based artist.

Although originally born in the same city she currently practices in, most of her life was spent abroad. Three continents, six countries, more than a dozen cities and over twenty-five moves after her birth, Gigi finally settled back into the first haven she was uprooted from.

Symptomatic of her innate curiosity about the inner workings of the world and its people, or as a direct consequence of coping with her lifelong volatile environment, she has always been attracted to philosophy and psychology. This led her to studying literature and linguistics in Stockholm, Sweden, which introduced her to countless great thinkers who helped shape her evolving artistic direction.

After obtaining a French BAC in Literature in 2006, she pursued her thirst for knowledge about the human psyche through further reading, additional training and taking on a variety of assistant positions in several fields of work, including but not limited to hospitality, teaching, real estate, optometry, law, mental health and the visual arts.

With an unusual and eclectic set of experiences, as well as an impressive ability to adjust and discern patterns around her, Gigi now uses painting, drawing and writing mediums to explore and illuminate that which defines, unites and divides us in this day and age

Artist Statement

Born and raised in a world of chronic departures, in an age when the internet and social media were either inexistent or yet to become mainstream, and when cell phones were the size of toy trucks, goodbyes usually meant forever. Accepting short-lived relationships and taking on a chameleon-like skin in order to adapt rapidly to new cultural contexts was a way of life seemingly bereft of choices and freedom. The key to surviving was to develop the ability to discern patterns and adjust- observe, learn, evolve, repeat. An exhausting exercise that proved both detrimental and fruitful.

Consequently, along the way, I underwent an ongoing exploration on what it meant to be an individual and a member of society. What influences us. How we perceive ourselves and each other. Why that came to be. As well, as wonder how to break away from the walls we’ve built around ourselves in a desperate attempt to feel safer and to make sense of our world; walls that ironically keep us apart and at chronic risk of collapse.

I use mixed media to explore and express concepts and interrogations that feel universal; representative of the struggles many of us undergo these days, regardless of where our roots lie.

My practice focuses on our internalized contradictions and poorly understood multiplicity. My artwork often alludes to a long-lost innocence and sheds light on psychological and philosophical dilemmas that envelop us. It encourages people to question what defines them, to open their minds to differing plights and perspectives that surround them, and to become more pro-active about breaking down barriers that stifle psychogenic progress.

Curriculum Vitae

Education

2006

BAC in Literature, Lycée Français St-Louis, Stockholm, Sweden

2003

Grade 9 & 10, Western High School, Fort-Lauderdale, FL, USA

Group Exhibitions

2020

(upcoming) Festival des arts, 13th Edition, Maison culturelle et communautaire de Montréal-Nord, Montreal, QC – Jun 21st-Jul 4th

6th Edition, Le Showfrette: Weekend en lumière, Beloeil, QC

2019

12th Edition, Les fenêtres qui parlent, Montreal, QC

What the Pop!, YES | Marché Bonsecours, Montreal, QC

Festival des arts, 12th Edition, Maison culturelle et communautaire de Montréal-Nord, Montreal, QC

Expo Pop-Up: March, Art Cible | Atelier Galerie 2112, Montreal, QC

Expo Pop-Up: February, Art Cible | Atelier Galerie 2112, Montreal, QC

Art Fairs, Markets & Symposiums

2021

(upcoming) 25th Edition, Symposium Artiste sur le Champ, Chambly, QC – date TBD

2020

(upcoming) 23rd Edition, On aura tout vu, Prévost, QC – Sept 11-12-13

(upcoming) Salon du disque et des arts underground, 11th Edition, Under the Snow Festival, Montreal, QC – date TBD

2019

22nd Edition, Symposium de peinture de Prévost, Prévost, QC

Salon du disque et des arts underground, 10th Edition, Under the Snow Festival, Montreal, QC

Cultural Mediations

2020

(ongoing) Art Workshops, Clef d’arc, Montreal, QC

(upcoming) Regard sur l’équipe | workshop, Festival des arts, Maison culturelle et communautaire de Montréal-Nord, Montreal, QC – date TBD

Media, Press & Publications

2019

15th Anniversary Collector’s Booklet, ELAN Quebec, p.30, Aug. 26th

« La peinture pour se sentir bien », by Emma Guerrero Dufour, Journal des citoyens, p.3, Aug.

Continuing Education

2020

Négocier son contrat: un art qui s’apprend et qui rapporte, RAAV, Montreal, QC

2019

Archives et inventaire de l’artiste, RAAV, Montreal, QC

Mental Health First Aid Training, Mental Health Commission of Canada, Montreal, QC

Building a Project around Oral History, COHDS | Concordia University, Montreal, QC

Emotional Resilience While Performing Traumatic Narratives: Part II, COHDS | Concordia University, Montreal, QC

2017

Miser sur son intelligence émotionnelle, Groupe MP-Plus, Montreal, QC

2013

The Social Context of Mental Health and Illness, Coursera | University of Toronto, Toronto, ON

Activities Inspiring My Practice

2019 –present

Attendant & Animator, Clef d’arc, Montreal, QC

2020

Volunteer, Face-à-Face, Montreal, QC

2018-20

Secretary/Vice-President, School Committee, École primaire Sainte-Gertrude, Montreal, QC

2016-18

Paralegal, Manon Dion Avocate, Montreal, QC

2006-07

English Teacher & Teacher’s Assistant, Torre Alta Montessori School, Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

Arts & Culture Volunteering Experience

2019

Harmonies, Museum Ball, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Montreal, QC

Mtl en Arts Festival, Montreal, QC

Halte-Femmes Montréal-Nord, Montreal, QC

MURAL Festival, Montreal, QC

Comité de mobilisation citoyenne, Fête des voisins | Un Itinéraire pour tous, Montreal, QC

Papier 19 | Art Fair, Montreal, QC

2016

Papier 16 | Art Fair, Montreal, QC

Memberships

Member, RAAV, Montreal, QC

Member, ELAN Quebec, Montreal, QC

Member, CARFAC National, Montreal, QC

Collections

Private collection, Quebec, QC

Private collection, Montreal, QC

Private collection, Windsor, ON

Upcoming Events…

 

Press