Local artist Caro LaFlamme is a recent graduate of the U of M’s school of fine arts who explores many modes of expression while contributing to the arts community in Winnipeg, including photography, mixed media art, music, and writing.
As she travels many artistic avenues, she said she strives to examine “themes of consumer anxiety, ephemerality, and preservation through a contemporary feminist lens.”
LaFlamme’s work challenges the patriarchal structures that dominate Western art from a strong, honest, feminist approach.
LaFlamme said her work “echoes an internal conflict of simultaneous complacency with, and resentment of, performing femininity within the messiness of gender politics, and the complex obstacles to enacting feminist theory into praxis.”
LaFlamme works to confront and subvert the heterosexual male gaze that has persisted throughout the history of western art.
She said her work has benefitted from her education at the U of M, which taught her valuable skills that have transferred across all her artistic work.
“The senior year of my degree consisted mostly of self-driven projects, which was both freeing and daunting,” she said.
“Having my own studio forced me to decide what I truly wanted to work on, manage my time, and acknowledge my limits as a working student, artist, and musician.”
Recently, LaFlamme had the opportunity to travel to Montreal where she sold the first piece of work from her 2014 Nuit Blanche-featured series “Vandals!” which reflected on the aesthetic qualities of vandalism. “It feels very validating for someone to enjoy my work enough to purchase some of it, and in a sense, invest their money into my career by bringing a piece of mine into their home.”
Her latest series, “Afterlife,” explores the relationship between the permanence of the artistic medium and the disposability of the subject matter, and was recently featured at Degrees Restaurant.
“These newer pieces frame stylized replications of disposable facial wipes within a makeshift calendar system,” LaFlamme said.
“The calendars, an accumulation of daily cosmetic waste and facial detritus, read as timelines shaped by (resentful) routine and (muscle) memory,” she said.
“I was drawn to these disposable cloth squares, among other throwaway products, because they read as abstract compositions in and of themselves. The fingermark-shaped trails of foundation, lipstick, and eyeshadow become brush strokes on paper-thin sheets of cotton. With this work, I hope to untangle and examine the contradictions within my everyday actions and routines as a young feminist artist.”
Aside from being a successful visual artist, LaFlamme also spent time writing for the Manitoban. Her editorial piece on celebrating women in music shone a light on the maltreatment of talented musicians and the downfalls of the male-dominated industry.
As keyboardist and back-up vocalist for local indie outfit Sc Mira, she recently toured across Canada. Sc Mira also headlined the NWT Pride Festival in August.