Irma de Visser
Nicole Leclair uses her camera to catch shapes, colours, and motion. She has developed a passion for crafting delicate and dreamlike aesthetics. Rather than merely being still images, her artworks are carefully curated, exploratory experiences that go beyond a singular moment in time.
Domazlice, Czechia-born; Kimberley, BC-based photographer Nicole immigrated to Canada with her mother as an infant to join her Canadian father. Growing up in Southern Alberta while doing her best to succeed at all of the conventional “Canadian” things, Nicole always felt, as she puts it, like she was just on the fringe of an inner circle; not fully unaccepted, but never feeling as if she understood the makings of the culture. Growing up feeling “that other people were normal and that I was a bit of an oddball” kept her looking for a way to express her inner feelings accurately. Nicole feels lucky to have found photography.
Nicole enjoys non-photographic looking results in her photography, and she achieves these through a variety of in-camera and post-production techniques. Nicole says: “My art tiptoes around what one conventionally might consider a “proper photo”. I often layer photos or create stacks to achieve a dreamlike or painterly result. The importance of our surroundings and the fogginess of memories are exploited when photographs overlap or aren’t completely clear.”
Nicole’s photographs are not meant to present a polished, perfect reality but rather a raw, authentic representation of our world. Nicole says she doesn’t plan out a piece. She simply keeps showing up with her camera and when a gem reveals itself to her she honours it.
As a self-taught photographer, Nicole’s education is based on workshops and online videos. Years of running a successful commercial photography business have made her well-versed in the use of her camera. “It’s Only Temporary” • Exploring the Ephemeral is Nicole’s first foray into the world of fine art and her first solo art exhibition is a culmination of work that seeks out beauty in the transitory nature of life.
“This body of work is an exploration into the ephemerality of our existence – the idea that nothing lasts forever, that memories are muddled, and that all things pass and change”, Nicole explains. She continues, “My photographs attempt to capture the beauty and reliability in these temporary moments and to remind us that some of the most meaningful experiences in life are shared experiences that we have with other humans. Through my lens, I observe the transience of youth, ever-changing nature, and the fleeting expressions of emotion to name a few.”
Nicole hopes to encourage viewers to embrace the beauty of the temporary, and to find joy in the shared moments that make life so meaningful.
When asked what her biggest challenge was when creating this exhibition, Nicole says: “It’s the uncertainty of whether a moment will present itself or not. What I’m sharing isn’t an on-demand approach; it’s very much a revelation of what fits within this narrative. Whether it was a long re-visit in the galleries of already complete photoshoots or a purposeful jaunt with unexpected surprises; the process became easier when I simply allowed the photos to present themselves to me”.
What Nicole enjoyed the most about the creation of this exhibition is the exploration of finding her own favourites within her body of work and seeing how the consistencies did emerge. As this is the first showing of Nicole’s fine art photography, it’s also worth noting that Nicole enjoyed the loaded feeling of being both excited and vulnerable; of having high expectations and letting go of them altogether. Nicole says: “It’s been a growing test of character”.
Nicole’s solo art exhibition will be on display at Art Gallery Kimberley in Kimberley’s Platzl from Wednesday, May 3rd through Sunday, May 28th. Opening hours are: Wednesday through Friday 11 am – 6 pm, Saturday 11 am – 5 pm, and Sunday noon to 4 pm. The opening reception will be held on Friday, May 12th from 7-9 pm. Everyone is welcome to join this celebration of visual art and the local art community.