Guests of Espace Notre-Dame can look forward to being greeted by a warm space filled with exposed brick, dim lights, and a stylish crowd. Magali Rack and her business partner Ariane Careau are recent UQAM graduates who decided to create this organization, which includes Rack Galerie —the stunning gallery space on the main floor of the building.
Rack Galerie opened on September 4th of this year and has already hosted an array of art exhibitions, pop up shops, concerts, launch parties, movie premieres, and even a Halloween party. The pair truly runs the gallery themselves; they have no employees and do all administration, bookings, bartending, and cleaning.
Rack, who graduated only a year ago with a Communications degree and minors in Art History and Museology, decided to propose a new gallery model and start her own project. “I was tired of the high society/arrogant gallery model where visitors don’t feel comfortable around art and could never possibly afford a piece of art,” she told me. “I wanted people to come across art in various types of ways; by attending a special event and finding art that they can actually purchase. I also wanted to provide a space for emerging artists to display their work, because most galleries don’t give new artists a ‘first chance.’ I want people to walk into the place and say, ‘Hey! I like that!’ and ‘Wow! I can actually afford it!'”
The girls found the space somewhat randomly through a friend that saw it on Kijiji, and decided they had to have it. I understand why; the open space is versatile and fits a stage area for performances, a bar, and ample room for a DJ and crowd. As for the decision to locate the gallery in the area, Magali says: “I had always liked the St-Henri neighbourhood and knew it pretty well before establishing the business there. I’m also glad that Rack Galerie is pretty much one of the only galleries in the area.”
“I was tired of the high society/arrogant gallery model.”
Rack Galerie is concerned with exhibiting emerging artists, especially those with an interesting artistic concept and personality. The last exhibition they had included the very unique and extreme performance art of Canadian artist Olicorno. “The artist actually lived in the gallery for 30 hours without eating, seeing or hearing and painted for almost three days in that context,” said Magali. His works were displayed and different performances of his were shown over the course of a month.
As for the future, Magali seems to have big plans. She wants to diversify the types of media exhibited to include more multimedia, photography, and illustration works. “I think the platforms for graphic art and photography are missing in Montreal,” she told us. “I’m planning a project of an online gallery for 2015 and the focus will be on photography, design and illustration. I want the gallery to be able to sell some original works of art worldwide at a reasonable price.”
Images courtesy of Rack Galerie.