Does the idea of ​​walking into an art gallery intimidate you? Do you think you have to be a connoisseur of art or have the means to buy a work? Think again.

“Creating a context where people are comfortable entering a gallery” is at the heart of Galeries Weekend Montréal, which begins this Thursday. Through four circuits, the public is invited to visit 23 galleries which offer special programming and which are especially open on Sundays. “We take the visitor by the hand,” says Julie Lacroix, general director of the Association of Contemporary Art Galleries (AGAC), to whom we also owe the Plural contemporary art fair.

We decided to tour the three most out-of-the-way galleries: that of Chris Andrews which has just opened in a quiet corner of Villeray, the Galerie TAP in Saint-Michel (in the Ateliers 3333 building, project by Marc Séguin ), then that of Yves Laroche in Chabanel.

The exhibitions that the public will be able to see at the end of the week were in preparation, but we were able to speak to the gallery owners.

No longer able to pay the rent on his old premises in Mile End, Chris Andrews decided to set up shop last March in a corner of rue Villeray Est where you wouldn’t expect to come across an art gallery. Every day, and this was the case during our visit, passers-by stop in front of the window out of curiosity.

“I love the neighborhood and there are a lot of artists living in the area,” says Chris Andrews.

This weekend he will present another exhibition of drawings entitled Public Life. Included will be works by three New York artists (Miguel Bendaña, Justin Chance and Sojourner Truth Parsons), as well as Toronto-based Connie Wilson and Montreal-based Connor Bokovay. “Drawing tells the story of life,” argues Chris Andrews. It is a mode of communication that can have a lot of impact. »

A reception in the presence of the artists is also planned for Saturday at the gallery.

Chris Andrews grew up in Woodstock, Ontario. He studied and lived in Toronto before settling in Montreal. Is 29 young to be a gallerist? Yes, he agrees. “It’s more feasible in Montreal than elsewhere,” adds the man who also does sculpture.

1660 Villeray was formerly occupied by a tailor who remains the owner of the building and who still lives upstairs. What would Chris Andrews say to someone who is shy about entering a gallery? “I understand that someone might feel like it’s unattainable, but that’s just having an experience with art. »

You can even not like the works and not talk to the gallery owner, he adds, deadpan.

“All reactions are good in a gallery,” says Marx Ruiz-Wilson, director of the TAP Gallery.

This is not a gallery where you stop by chance as you pass by since it is located on Crémazie Boulevard overlooking Highway 40. However, unlike the exhibition halls which are in Old Montreal or the Mile End, the gallery is surrounded by artists’ studios.

In fact, TAP is in the Ateliers 333 building, a project set up two years ago by Marc Séguin.

The gallery has had many lives: it was born in Montreal, moved to Toronto and finally returned home to Saint-Michel. “It’s a question of price and survival,” jokes Marx Ruiz-Wilson. Here, the lease is long term. »

Why did you go into curation work rather than creation? It all started in 2016 with a podcast show called Into This, where he spoke with artists. Then he created a first exhibition in the basement of his “McGill ghetto” building. “I like to highlight artists from different backgrounds,” says the man who is originally from Mexico and has a second job in the pharmaceutical field.

This weekend, Marx Ruiz-Wilson is proud to present the exhibition Reality Sucks 3 by Mathieu Cardin, an artist who questions what oscillates between true and false, or reality and fiction.

“It asks the question: What do you believe and why? », says Marx Ruiz-Wilson.

Notice to those interested: the opening takes place this Thursday at 5 p.m.

Unlike the TAP Gallery and that of Chris Andrews, the Yves Laroche gallery is no longer emerging. In his office, there are works by Riopelle and Serge Lemoyne, but also by Shepard Fairey and Ron English.

However, the renowned Montreal gallery owner still proclaims himself a lover of the “underground”. As soon as we arrived, he told us he regretted not having been able to complete the major project he had undertaken with the cartoonist Henriette Valium who died in 2021.

Yves Laroche was a gallery owner for a long time in Old Montreal, then in Little Italy. Here he is in Chabanel where he also created artists’ studios. “Everyone told me not to come here, but the demand is so high that I’m going to take another floor. »

With leases over several years, the artists at 99 Chabanel have peace of mind. “I’m a guy who refuses to gentrify,” says Yves Laroche, who works closely with Alexis Paradis-Lemieux as assistant director.

Alexis is the curator of Zoltan Veevaete’s exhibition Various personas presented during Galeries Weekend Montréal. The public will be able to see a digital installation and paintings by the Montreal artist. “It reconciles my two personalities,” says the man who is interested in the duality between digital and real images. As a painter who felt a little lost in his practice, a leap into digital art allowed him to experience a rebirth, he explains.

You want to know more ? Zoltan Veevaete will be at the Yves Laroche gallery this Thursday evening during the opening from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Don’t be intimidated. It is the goal of Galeries Weekend Montréal to create a link between the public, gallery owners and artists.