On this particular morning, d’Entremont and three of his students are at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia’s western branch in Yarmouth. They’re talking about an exhibit at the gallery featuring work by AMCA students.
The theme of the show is music, so all of the pieces are music-related. Pointing to one of them – a photograph – d’Entremont asks a reporter if he can tell what the picture shows.
“It’s hard to tell what it is at first,” d’Entremont says, “until you start looking at it and realize it’s a picture of a CD in a CD player in a car, but taken from the bottom up.”
Captured by student Jeremy Shearer, the image is an example of what d’Entremont likes to see when he encourages his students to approach things in not-so-obvious ways, maybe by getting a unique angle when taking a photo.
“Marcel usually tells us to look at things from a different perspective,” says Rebekah Durkee-Murphy, another of d’Entremont’s students.
Billed as A Musical Collection of Art, the exhibit of AMCA students’ work went up in late April and will be on display until May 26. Each of d’Entremont’s five students has three pieces in the show. They were free to interpret their subject pretty much however they wanted, whether through photos, for instance, or computer illustrations, watercolour or mixed media.
Shearer says the project prompted him to try to look at music – visually, that is – in a different way, a sentiment shared by fellow student Sebastien Comeau-Theriault, whose own pieces in the show include one depicting a dream catcher and some earbuds, blending native culture with the exhibit’s musical theme.
The show also features work by students Jessica Nickerson and Jaylem Jarvis.
The AMCA program at Burridge is an exploratory one that helps prepare students to pursue studies in areas like animation, game development or graphic design.
Referring to his efforts to get his students to tap into their creativity, d’Entremont says, “I put them through exercises that force them to use the right side of their brain.”
As for exhibiting their artwork at the AGNS, he says the experience can inspire students and help them develop self-confidence. The response to the current show, he says, has been positive.
“We’ve had some good feedback.”