December 13, 2011 – Montréal would never have become the cultural and innovative art centre that it is today without the work of its gallery owners who have brought works by artists from around the world to the city's art lovers.
The great masters
Many galleries, located on Sherbrooke Street West as well as on nearby perpendicular streets, feature paintings, drawings, etchings and sculptures from renowned European and North American artists, and are evidence of the profound influence Modern Art has had. Artists who brought modern perspectives to this part of the world are well represented. They include Miro, Picasso, Chagall, as well as Québec artists like Lemieux, Borduas, Riopelle and Pellan. Other galleries specialize in older examples of art from Québec, Europe and Asia.
Painting, sculpture, engraving...
Aside from the business of art sales, gallery owners are often very involved in the actual work of their artists. Many galleries include permanent selections of works from the many foreign and Québec-based artists who make up their stable of talent. Other owners prefer to focus on one style of art only, such as glass work, or Inuit carving. These galleries are found in the downtown sector, specifically on Crescent Street, de la Montagne Street and Sherbrooke Street West, as well as in Old Montréal, primarily on Saint-Paul Street. From traditional and classical styles to abstract or mixed-media techniques, art lovers will find a wealth of superb diversity on display.
If the immediately topical and contemporary is more to your taste, the Belgo building is a great place to get a feel for current art trends. Located at 372 Sainte-Catherine Street West, this old factory-warehouse now houses many of the city's hottest galleries on the contemporary art scene. Studios are located in vast lofts where each gallery features special exhibits, including photography, sculpture, mixed media, print and digital creations.
Art is constantly evolving — never more so than today. A new breed of artist has emerged in the last 15 years — one who uses the gamut of digital technologies. Montréal has rapidly become a world player and prime showcase for emerging technologies, so it's not surprising to see the birth of a centre for the production and presentation of digital art forms. The Society for Arts and Technology (SAT) reflects that aspect of the world that it is dedicated to promote and, to that end, presents seminars, video presentations, electronic music performances, and other happenings that feature the works of artists using the latest technologies.
We must not forget the intimate galleries that are inside the Université de Montréal, Concordia and UQAM. These all offer rich programs that include works by art students, their professors, as well as mature and established artists.