Tommy Bourque: Marvelous Monsters


Tommy Bourque, Self Portrait (Son of Tom), 2021, projection/animation. 6-minute loop.

Marvelous Monsters, 2021
Tommy Bourque

Artlab Gallery
Department of Visual Arts, Western University
MFA Thesis Exhibition
June 25 – July 16, 2021

Marvelous Monsters presents speculative worlds and speculative figures. This immersive exhibition of installation works by Tommy Bourque evokes physically and psychologically visceral feelings of tension through dynamic, antithetical and aesthetical relationships. Constructed scenarios present subtle and extreme opposites. Sculptural objects and bodies are complemented or animated by digital technology to explore aspects of the (post)human and provoke emotional responses in viewers to contrasting effects, inspiring ambivalence or confusion.


Appearance of the Simplest Truth, 2020-21, mixed media progressive sculptural installation. Loop.

To what extent can we relate to experiences that purposefully elicit adverse and emotional continuums of sensations? Bourque’s scenes are investigations for considering the viewer’s reactions when faced with familiar—yet deconstructed—vessels in which they, too, reside. Visitors are presented with a dilemma of contrasting signifiers and must consciously negotiate the works while discerning their relationships with their own bodies. The fragmented body is the foundational core of Bourque’s practice, and the synecdoche is central, even (or especially) when it is overtly abstracted: (re)enforced by teeth, hair, heads, spines, and/or limbs. Viewers encountering these scenes may succumb to their individual physical reflexes, natural bodily reactions, and unconscious drives.

André Breton asserts in the Manifesto of Surrealism (1927), “[T]he marvelous is always beautiful, anything marvelous is beautiful, in fact only the marvelous is beautiful.” In this regard, Bourque views his sculptural creations as both monstrous and marvelous, as wonderfully frightening. Each piece exemplifies the same overall goal of his practice: Bourque wants his work to mirror what it is like to be alive. He wants viewers to connect and engage with his work to confront their understanding of their own embodiment and of their own lived experiences as bodies and in bodies.



The Marvelous Merfolk, 2021, digital projection/sculptural installation. Loop.

Due to COVID-19 safety measures, the Artlab Gallery and Cohen Commons will be operating virtually. In-person visits are not permitted at this time.

Exhibition Walk-Through Video: View on Vimeo
Artlab Gallery:


Artlab Gallery
Department of Visual Arts
Western University
John Labatt Visual Arts Centre
London, ON, Canada
Twitter: @westernuVisArts
Instagram: @westernuVisArts