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Gab Bois and Cognitive Dissonance

Words:

Edd Norval
August 11, 2020

Art often sets the path for truth. Ideas and concepts usually come before their proof, precluding their becoming theory or fact. Gab Bois’ playful visual art builds up a language that should be gobbledegook but instead reads as eloquent prose. The ideas are often wild, but that’s how the future is written. We've seen these things many times, just never like this.

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Amongst the Montreal-based artist’s followers on Instagram are many fashion designers and artists. It isn’t difficult to imagine why. Her often surreal compositions are precursors to more mainstream ideas - a relationship akin to that of a fashion designer’s sketches to what makes it to the runway and eventually the most diluted version available for purchase. 


Uninhibited by any particular sensibility, her work is able to think freely, using real flowers where one day we might see a floral pattern, or barbed wire instead of braces. Not everything is practical, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s halfway between fascinating insight on design - from fashion to interior - and an examination of hype-culture, where she’s able to mix self-expression with flexing.


A lot of the artist's works are created by her own hand, in the truest sense of the pioneering mind. Preferring to work alone at home, using the comfort as a space to act most freely, Gab Bois has that rare ability to draw lines where others wouldn’t even see dots. There isn’t really a name as such for what she does, but idea-driven conceptual art is what it essentially is. Underlining everything is the sense that each creation is thought-provoking - urging us to try to understand the multiple components individually and as a whole. 

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On the surface, these things she creates may just seem ‘cool’. They are, but they’re more than that too. The objects are driving a conversation - accessibility, influence, budget, ideas - and building bridges -high/low brow, cultural agendas set from the ground up versus high-powered and influential brands.


That’s because Gab Bois is so immersed in the culture herself. She knows what she is saying and who she is saying it to. Reappropriating objects offers up a fresh outlook on old things. It reminds us that amongst the rubbish, there are great ideas - all it requires is imagination. Objects that look like other things, often then become a part of that thing. It’s how cultural cross-pollination works. With media becoming a term more in flux than ever, the boundaries between various types are porous.


Osmosis is the process for new ideas, with interior design borrowing from industrial materials and fashion from environmentally sustainable projects. It's all too often that we hear of something being designed with a purpose or audience in mind, yet taking on a life of its own with something else completely. Gab Bois' work embodies this notion of unrestrained thought, that in the right hands, nothing is bound.

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