Local artist not “Beaton” by gathering restrictions

By Gordon Lambie

Former Record photographer Perry Beaton was the subject of a portrait of his own this past weekend in an open-air art exhibition by Sherbrooke artist Pierre “Pino” Noël. Set up on a lawn at the corner of Firmin-Campbell road off the northern end of Dufferin Street, the multimedia exhibition included a series of portraits of local personalities as well as some of the artist’s sculpture work and benefitted strongly from both the lovely spring weather and the easing of outdoor gathering restrictions that happened on Friday.
“That was a great coincidence,” Noël said on Sunday afternoon, explaining that he had put a great deal of effort into making sure that the exhibition was done “by the book.”
According to Beaton, Noël is originally from Sherbrooke, but moved for a part of his life to Germany. It was on his return to the Eastern Townships that the two met and became friends.
The former photographer noted that this outdoor exhibit also benefitted from a surprise turn of good fortune in the recent closing of the La Fabrique co-working space, where Noël had previously kept a workshop space. Pushed out by the closure, the artist was forced to move his work to his living room which, although initially challenging, put him in the perfect set up when the pandemic arrived.
“COVID arrived and he wouldn’t have been able to go (to La Fabrique) anyway,” Beaton said.
Although some of the sculpture work dates back further, Noël said that the portraiture has been his main focus since February, and he explained that it is composed almost entirely of found or recycled objects.
“What I bought for this was the hardware and the glue,” he said with a chuckle.
Beaton’s portrait features an image of him scaled to the body of a real violin that has been built onto the canvas to look like a double bass, and other works feature items like pieces of bicycles or antlers. Beaton underlined his friend’s recycling ways by pointing out one sculpture that includes a burnt piece of wood recovered from the fire that destroyed the iconic Magog House building in late 2017.
Although his weekend exhibition is now at an end, Noël noted that the event was very successful, having drawn more than 50 people to the otherwise quiet street on Saturday alone.

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