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Doris McCarthy Gallery

Exhibition Detail
Souvenir involontaire
Curated by: Ann MacDonald
University of Toronto Scarborough
1265 Military Trail
Toronto, Ontario M1C 1A4

November 7th, 2012 - January 26th, 2013
Levitation, Mélanie RocanMélanie Rocan, Levitation,
2012, Acrylic and oil on canvas, 50.8 x 50.8 cm.
© Courtesy of the artist and Doris McCarthy Gallery
Secrets , Mélanie RocanMélanie Rocan, Secrets ,
2011, Watercolour and oil on canvas, 152.4 x 213.4 cm.
© Courtesy of the artist and Doris McCarthy Gallery
Fountain of Paint , Mélanie RocanMélanie Rocan, Fountain of Paint ,
2011, Oil on Canvas, 94 x 83.8 cm.
© Courtesy of the artist and Doris McCarthy Gallery
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Mon-Tue,Thu 11-4; Wed 11-8; Sat 12-5

The visual world Mélanie Rocan creates with her paintings is a blended swirl of emotions and objects. Her art historical genealogy traverses many eras, from Surrealism to Expressionism, but perhaps she owes her greatest impulse to the Symbolist outgrowth of Romanticism. Enthralled by the inner material of the self, the Romantics preferred to view emotions as an implicitly valid approach to the world, and not secondary to analytic thought. Rocan’s imagery floats in the realm of the subconscious, with her dream-like, dream-dwelling subjects melding with environments both natural and cultural. The sense of nostalgia evoked by Rocan’s painted images—ferris wheels, gingham tablecloths, tire swings, floral wallpaper—speaks to memory and timelessness. These images are more about fleeting recollections than about the objects that define one’s social status.

Souvenir involontaire is a concept made prominent by Marcel Proust, and refers to ephemeral moments that arouse personal memories without deliberate, conscious effort. Rocan’s paintings offer the viewer opportunity to visit her dreamscapes and for the moment, leave the burden of conscious thought at the door.


Mélanie Rocan recently completed her Masters in Fine Arts, painting program at Concordia University (Montreal). Rocan’s work has been included in exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (Toronto), Leonard & Bina Ellen Gallery (Montreal), La Maison des Artistes Visuels Francophones (Winnipeg), Project Room (Glasgow, Scotland), Winnipeg Art Gallery and Plug-In Institute of Contemporary Art (Winnipeg). Rocan is represented by Paul Petro Contemporary Art (Toronto).

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