Peinture Extrême/Extreme Painting II at Laroche/Joncas Gallery

Laroche Joncas

Extreme Painting II presented at the Laroche/Joncas Gallery is part of the city-wide event of the same name created by l’Association des Galeries d’art Comtemporain (AGAC). A total of 20 Montréal galleries have participated in the second edition of Extreme Painting over the three summer months. Each gallery has mounted a unique exhibition with a common interest in painting, showcasing overall more then 70 Canadian artists.

The exhibition by Laroche/Joncas focuses on the medium of paint itself. The five artists we are offered to concentrate on have a different approach to paint yet all underline it as a material in its own right. In the works of Sean Montgomery, Manuel Ocampo and Jayson Oliveria we can find an emphasis on the three-dimensional aspect of paint and its materiality. They explore paint through different expressionist styles that sharpens the viewer’s awareness of the material instead of the subject represented on the canvas. For example in Again (2011) by Jason Oliveria the word “again” seems to be written with the tube of paint, using no intermediary utensil to apply the oil paint on the canvas. The lettres appear more to be placed on the canvas then painted. In addition each canvas represents a movement in Modern Art history, thus emphasizing on the presence of paint in each.

Other artists such a Adam Bergeron and Jean-Philippe Harvey create a dialogue between paint (old medium) and new mediums through the technique of collage. Within these canvases paint shares the space with popular culture (cut outs of Kate Moss and Amy Winehouse) or overcomes it completely (Jean-Philippe Harvey). I interpreted such canvases as an illustration of the relationship between old and new mediums in the visual arts. The artists are making it clear that paint has not yet drawn its final breath. Indeed they oppose the idea that paint has been dethroned by new mediums and argue that paint still has many aspects to be researched and discovered.

Bergeron’s Daubing (2013) fits perfectly into this discussion on paint for its brute use of the material. As the title suggests it seems we are looking at the draft canvas the artist used to test his paint before applying it. Drafts are usually not shown even less in a gallery setting, yet Bergeron makes us focus on the medium he is using rather than the final product (at which we can only guess). We are guided to see and appreciate the paint itself more than a whole canvas.

Paint definitely is the focal point of this show. The open dialogue in this exhibition space is palpable and leads the viewer into revisiting pre-made (and common) ideas on the dead-end future of paint. This exhibition certainly is worth visiting, in addition to fuel your love for paint it will swell your pride in Canadian visual artists!

Galerie Laroche/Joncas, space 410
Adam Bergeron, Jean-Philippe Harvey, Sean Montgomery, Manuel Ocampo, Jayson Olivera
Peinture extrème
June 19 – August 31, 2013

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