“Off the Wall”: Peinture Extrême – Cadrer le tout at Galerie Trois Points

cadrer le tout

Galerie Trois Point, one of twenty contemporary art galleries participating in the second edition of AGAC’s Peinture Extrême, presents the exhibition Cadrer le tout, which brings together four creative voices on the theme of the wall. Talented, young curator Maude P. Hénaire selected the work of Nicolas Fleming, Mathieu Grenier, Guillaume La Brie, and Mathieu Lévesque who, each in their own way, challenge the long-standing supremacy of the gallery space as a neutral “white cube.”

The works of Mathieu Lévesque – such as his Losange blanc (2012) and Death Metal Painting (2013) – use the wall as their very extensions. The concave sides of the wooden boards mirror their bright colors on the white surface of the gallery, giving away the latter’s mute presence. Interestingly enough, this extension from the wall is just as constitutive of the work as it makes it hardly classifiable as painting, sculpture, or installation. In a similar way, Mathieu Grenier’s series Au-delà des signes (2013), consisting of fragments from the walls of the Musée d’art de Joliette, displays the white support in all its coldness, but also in all its handling and preparation, thus revealing some of the importance that it bears.

Nicolas Fleming’s Slicings I and II (2013) and Shavings (2013), placed on an oblique wall, test the neutrality of the gallery space. In addition to displaying how the wall might interfere with our perception of a work, Fleming’s work highlights the very space that it, the wall and the viewer occupy, making us aware of and troubling the ways in which we might or might not move in relation to them.

Guillaume La Brie’s Les entre-deux (2013) is, potentially, the most interesting work of the exhibition. A piece of canvas cut out of a landscape painting is folded into a paper plane, and rests upon a checkerboard assembled using square pieces of wall. The painting becomes subordinated to the whole – its status, one might say, desacralized and made playful like a paper plane –, and the purity of the wall is quite plainly destroyed. La Brie inventively questions the status of the latter by taking it literally off itself and into the “space of the spectator” – a nodal space permeated by viewing expectations and curatorial assumptions.

The value of this exhibition cannot be over overemphasized. The artists exhibited at Trois Points drive us away from our aesthetic comfort zone – as I witnessed in a handful of visitors during the half hour I spent in the gallery – and prompt us to rethink not only the limits (if any) of painting, but also to become aware of the space we inhabit, its presence and its potential. This is essential in an artworld which – even after all the challenges unleashed since O’Doherty’s Inside the White Cube – perseveres in the concealment of its assumptions and biases.

Galerie Trois Points, space 520
Nicolas Fleming, Mathieu Grenier, Guillaume La Brie, Mathieu Lévesque
Peinture Extrême – Cadrer le tout
July 4 – August 17, 2013

Photo credit: Guy L’Heureux

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