Written by Anya Kowalchuk
Geneviève Dumas is a Montreal-based screen-printing artist whose collage prints recall the playfulness of 1960s postmodernist aesthetics. Trained as an art teacher, Dumas was disillusioned with formal artistic training which she felt taught students to market and manage themselves as brands rather than develop and execute creative vision. She pursued a career in digital marketing, while producing prints on the side, until she lost her job in early spring of this year due to Covid-19. Ultimately, such was the push she needed to immerse herself completely in her own work.
Allan Grant, Wilshire Blvd. 1958, for Life Magazine.
The catalyst to Dumas making art seriously came when a friend was taking a class on screen-printing. Experimenting with the technique, she made a T-shirt of her own design, and promptly received inquiries about who designed it and where to acquire one. Dumas took this as encouragement to expand her experimentation, which quickly became focused on collage, often making use of Allan Grant’s iconic photojournalistic oeuvre. She briefly dabbled in figurative painting, but most often incorporated elements of collage.
I don't even know your name, digital collage - print, 12 x 16". $60
Dumas begins her process by amassing archival images and curating music. These provide the creative parameters of a series. Music deeply guides the development of each piece, informing the arc of the series and its formal contours. Typically, each piece is titled after the lyrics which inspired it, leaving clues for viewers to dig deeper into her cerebral process. She begins a work by choosing base papers, followed by drawing, which is then burned onto silk at a studio external to her own. Once she receives the silk for screening, she prints and produces at her home studio, surrounding herself with the music and images which inspired the piece itself.
Dumas explained that working full-time while simultaneously trying to make art limited her to producing only one or two prints a week. This had very little impact on the formal growth of her practice and left her feeling creatively stunted. In the last six months, Dumas has produced almost everything available on her website today, working each day on new designs and prints. It has only been with such rigorous consistency that she has been able to achieve a cohesive style that satisfies her artistic vision.
Anya Kowalchuk is a writer from Toronto. She obtained her B.A. in Art History from McGill University in Montreal where she currently resides, and works at the Museum of Jewish Montreal as the development and community engagement coordinator.