Isa B, who says she finds beauty in the least beautiful material things, creates intricate scenes of miniature piles of garbage, such as Dumping Ground 4.
Photograph by: Galerie Dominique Bouffard
MONTREAL - The paintings may be more extreme at Galerie de l?UQAM?s Painting Project than the Extreme Painting exhibitions taking place in 20 of Montreal?s private galleries this summer, but time will tell where the most challenging art will be seen.
Part 2 of UQAM?s Painting Project has opened and the exhibition of single works by 31 artists from across Canada is the closing chapter of a research project meant to catalogue the diversity of concerns and issues that painters are dealing with right now.
The resulting exhibition is didactic and sometimes arid, especially the works grouped under the heading Painting as Subject. Some viewers might wonder why they must endure Justin Stephens?s investigations into the material reality of the painting medium ? a canvas with holes and little more than a scrubbed-paint surface with some bits of debris attached.
But this is what happens when an artist has only one work to represent a lifetime of inquiry. It would help both the artist and the viewer to have some of the information that?s available in the excellent catalogue to be posted near the painting. A private gallery has an eager owner or assistant to discuss the artwork, but visitors to public galleries of contemporary art are usually left on their own.
Curators often say that the contemporary artist wants to elicit an immediate and unfiltered reaction from the viewer, but why handicap the visitor who isn?t educated in the issues and theories of contemporary art?
This is not to denigrate the Painting Project. There is much to enjoy, including Pierre Durette?s fine ink drawing encased in acrylic and fellow Quebecer Anthony Burnham?s trompe l?oeil painting of crumpled sheets of black paper.
Under the heading Figures of Reality, Jack Bishop creates the ambience of coming off a highway at dusk and seeing the familiar gas stations and fast-food restaurants. A Tim Hortons beckons in the twilight.
Hybrid Practices includes an acrylic and resin painting with a long title by DaveandJenn (David Foy and Jennifer Saleik, of Calgary). They painted trees, objects and figures on separate layers of resin, creating an 11-cm-thick painting with 3D depth.
Jeremy Hof applies multiple layers of acrylic paint, then sands through the layers to discover an abstract image multicoloured within a sculptural object.
Hof?s sculpted paintings would fit the Painting as Object theme at Galerie Dominique Bouffard, where seven artists are exhibiting as part of the Extreme Painting series of exhibitions organized by the Contemporary Art Galleries Association.
Nicolas Ranellucci?s canvas sandwiches ooze paint, while Louis Bouvier fills real ice cream cones with swirls of paint straight from the tube.
Pascal Caputo?s portraits contain no figures. Bare canvas represents a figure in its lushly painted environment. Gallery owner Dominique Bouffard said Caputo develops the image on a computer, leaving evidence of his process in the impossibly long file numbers he uses as titles.
The computer also figures in S?bastian Maltais?s portrait Dpi (Dots Per Inch). Half of his subject?s head is rendered as large pixels that resolve themselves at a distance into the other half of the face.
The most intriguing Painting as Object is the agglomeration of sculptural wall pieces created from found objects and paint by Isa B (Isabelle Beaupr?). She uses recycled bits of building materials like concrete, wood and metal ?as an individual builds a house? to construct her sculptural paintings, she writes in her artist?s statement.
In a wall full of Dumping Grounds ? where objects regain some of their value ? she creates the most intricate scenes of miniature piles of garbage, with recognizable objects like a tiny bottle of Prestone antifreeze.
Isa B writes on her blog (isa-b-art.blogspot.com) that she finds beauty in the least beautiful material things.
The Painting Project: A Snapshot of Painting in Canada, Part 2, continues until July 6 at Galerie de l?UQAM, 1400 Berri St. Visit galerie.uqam.ca.
The Painting as Object continues to July 21 at Galerie Dominique Bouffard, 1000 Amherst St., Suite 101. Visit galeriedominiquebouffard.com.
Extreme Painting is a series of exhibitions at 20 private galleries this summer. Information: peintureextreme.com. Extreme Painting vernissages take place Saturday, June 22?at Galerie Laroche/Joncas (larochejoncas.com) and Galerie Lilian Rodriguez (galerielilianrodriguez.com). Exhibitions opened this week at Galerie Simon Blais (galeriesimonblais.com), Beaux-arts des Am?riques (beauxartsdesameriques.com) and Galerie Donald Browne (galeriedonaldbrowne.com).
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Two Concordia winners: Meghan Myres, a student at Concordia University, has won the Albert-Dumouchel prize for printmaking.
The Albert-Dumouchel prize is worth $2,000 in cash and includes a production residency at the Engramme printmaking studio in Quebec City.
?tienne Lafrance, who graduated from Concordia University in 2007 and who is represented by Galerie Dominique Bouffard, has won the Bourse Plein Sud. The $3,000 award, given to an artist with fewer than eight years as a professional, includes an exhibition. Lafrance?s prize was announced at the vernissage for the exhibition of the work of Simon Bilodeau, the 2012 winner.
Simon Bilodeau: Ce qu?il reste du monde continues until July 6 at Plein Sud, 150 de Gentilly St. E., Suite D-0626, Longueuil. Visit plein-sud.org.
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The Montreal Art Centre has created the Global Art League International Exhibition, which opens with a gala dinner on July 19. Artists who join the art league will have two works in the exhibition and a listing on the league?s online gallery. Five artists will share $2,000 in prizes.
The Global Art League International Exhibition runs July 20 to Aug. 20 at the Montreal Art Centre, 1844 William St. Visit globalartleague.com.
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