From bedazzled ukuleles to whimsical paintings, and even to a pair of shorts made out of a tree stump, Usine 106U is definitely one of Montreal’s most fantastical and bizarre art galleries.
Located at 160 Rue Roy E. just off Saint-Laurent, the gallery features over thirty different local artists, each with their own unique style and medium of choice. The museum specializes in “la figuration hors-normes” (art that is out of the ordinary). All artists contribute to the management of the gallery, each paying a small fee every month that goes towards a portion of the wall space as well as the cost of the building’s rent. The gallery has one particular goal in mind: to abolish barriers between artists and the public, which will bring out the artist and art historian in everyone regardless of their background or past experience. A quick trip into this unique space clearly displays this goal in fruition. Art truly exists in all forms at Usine 106U!
Usine 106U was originally founded in 2006 by Eric Braün, Karine Fournier, and Mimi Traillette as a week-long exhibition sale. The original one-time exhibition became a smashing success, and five more temporary exhibitions opened following it. By 2007, the founders were able to start renting their first studio and gallery space. Since then, the gallery has continued to curate art and fuel local artists’ creativity.
At the start of each month, Usine 106U usually holds a public art exhibition to display its artists’ new creations for the upcoming month. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the gallery was unable to do this at the start of October, but they are hoping to be able to hold exhibitions once more when Montréal is out of the red zone. Although no opening exhibition will be held this November, the gallery remains open throughout the month, and art can always be viewed and purchased, making it an appealing place to check out for both art lovers and casual viewers. The price range varies greatly from item to item, but everything in the store is generally affordable (and a great way to support local artists!) Usine 106U also provides free magazines each month featuring the work of some of the gallery’s current artists along with their contact information.
Usine 106U boasts a truly fantastic collection of art, including sculptures, paintings, dolls, and even comic books! One of the gallery’s main artists and original founder, Eric Braün, creates what he calls “chimera art” based on the idea of ancient Greek mythological monsters composed of different animal parts. Braün uses paints as well as other various materials to create his unique chimera dolls…some of them even play music!
I had the opportunity to visit Usine 106U a couple of times this month, and I bought my first piece of art from the gallery this past Saturday. The artist, Mjal, has an absolutely beautiful collection of framed watercolor paintings. There are still a couple left, so get them before they sell out!
Usine 106U is an art studio in Montreal truly worth visiting. It takes whimsical to the extreme, and I mean that in the best way possible. The studio is always on the lookout for new patrons and new artists. If you’re interested in submitting work, buying local art, or just browsing a cool new spot in the city, Usine 106U is definitely the place to go.
Feel free to contact them or visit the gallery at any time. You can reach them at 160 Rue Roy E. or check out their website for more information here.