Posts tagged Canada
Free and Intuitive: Interview with Lauren Mycroft
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Lauren Mycroft is a Canadian painter whose abstract works reference organic shapes using complex layers and staining. Using a contemporary palette and methodical layering technique, Mycroft creates process-driven artwork that feels both fresh and familiar. The compositions are created freely and intuitively, learned through years of practice and formal art training. Inspired by memory of place, Mycroft reflects on our emotional attachment and not specific locales. Through her unique palette and fields of stains, Mycroft offers the viewer a sense of nostalgia and elicits a personal response based on their own experiences with the landscape.

Mycroft studied at Vancouver Island University and Emily Carr University of Art and Design, and now exhibits regularly on the Canadian West Coast.

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In your artist statement, you talk about how your practice is process driven. How did you develop your process?

My process was developed over years of experimentation and working towards the goal of painting without developing an attachment to the end result. I have always enjoyed painting with a fluid medium. However, something clicked for me when I started working with high flow paints. This new medium caused my process to change dramatically, as I started pouring liquid paint over the canvas rather than applying with a brush.

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What is your favorite part about your intuitive practice?

Painting intuitively as opposed to painting with a specific outcome in mind challenges my need to control small details and allows me to problem solve creatively in the moment. Although it can feel overwhelming approaching a canvas in this way, once I overcome the compositional challenges of a painting, I am far more excited by the result than had I approached it with a predetermined outcome.

You also talk in your statement about being inspired by the memory of the place. When and how did this idea become an inspiration in your work?

The process of painting landscapes is something that has allowed me to reflect upon my childhood, as I moved around a lot in my life. Leaving the imagery abstracted and void of representative details allows the viewer to create their attachment to the work. For me, each piece is very personal; however it is not based on a specific locale, it is more representational of time.

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How does the idea of memory drive and come through in your work?

I would say the idea of memory drives the mood of my work and dictates my color palette and the boldness or softness or a painting. That, combined with the indistinct forms, allow viewers to apply their memory and attachment to a piece which creates a connection for the collector.

Can you tell us a little about your color palette? Is the palette premeditated for each piece or do you work intuitively there as well?

I often start with an idea of a palette or a couple of colors; however, it changes as the painting develops.

Can you share a piece of advice you have received that you think our readers would benefit from hearing?

I don’t remember where I read this, however, the simple, yet powerful statement, “walk towards your fear” has greatly impacted how I approach creating such personal work every day and how I navigate this career. I also have a note on my studio wall reminding myself not to allow the work to become precious; this keeps it fun and experimental and will enable me to make my best work.

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What has been the best part of your artistic career thus far?

I keep surprising myself with what I’m able to accomplish as a self-employed person (even the fact that I’m self-employed is a surprise to me) who is also raising two little humans! There’s a sense of pride and newfound confidence that I’ve acquired with each hurdle I overcome.

Ambera Wellmann Exhibition Opening at Projet Pangée

Artist: Ambera Wellmann

Exhibition title: (Wo)man and Beast in the Round of Their Need 

Opening: Thursday, October 11, 2018, 5:30 pm - 8:30 pm

Exhibition: October 11 to November 17, 2018             

Ambera Wellmann is a Canadian artist working in painting, assemblage, photography and video. Wellmann graduated from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (2011) and earned her MFA from the University of Guelph, Ontario (2016). She is the recipient of the Joseph Plaskett award (2016) and the recipient of the RBC Canadian Painting Award (2017). Her works have been exhibited at the Power Plant, Toronto, the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, and the National Gallery of Canada. She currently lives and works in Berlin. Wellmann gratefully acknowledges the support from the Canada Council of the Arts. In this recent series of paintings, Wellmann continues her investigation of porcelain as a bodily substitute and a vehicle for perversion, manipulating the sensuality of painted surfaces to blur the distinctions between material and flesh. Wellmann’s paintings hybridize a range of canonical motifs, transposing the grandiosity of historical figuration into intimately realized, darkly humorous works.

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Podcast Episode: Art as Ritual, Sourcing Materials from Nature and Artist Residencies with Gillian King

Join us for a special episode of Art and Cocktails Podcast with artist Gillian King as she shares her story, as well as the evolution of her creative process. Gillian talks about how she started using plants and natural materials in her abstract paintings, her experiences in international artist residencies and more.

Gillian King is a painter and art educator from Winnipeg, Manitoba and MFA Graduate from the University of Ottawa. 

Susannah Montague

Susannah Montague was born in Peterborough, England and emigrated to Canada with her family when she was five years old. She graduated from Emily Carr University of Art and Design in 1996. She was also educated at the Ontario University of Art and Design and the Vancouver Film School. 

In 1996 the B.C. Ceramic Gallery awarded the artist studio space and kilns for one year as Top Emerging Ceramic Artist. 

During the next several years Susannah was involved in many Art Installations and design projects for Public spaces, night clubs, and restaurants in Vancouver, such as Shine, Lotus Sound Lounge, Ballantyne's and "C-Level Bar" for Norwegian Cruise Lines to name a few. 

In 1999, Susannah was selected as one of 30 founding artists for the C.O.R.E Artist Live Work Studios and she made this her studio and home. 

That same year Susannah also became a member of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (I.A.T.S.E.) in the departments Sculpture, Prop Building. Susannah maintained this membership until 2009 and this gave the Artist the opportunity to work in sculpture on many major films such as the X-Men series and Night at the Museum

Working in film allowed Susannah to finance work on her personal sculpture projects and in 2005 Susannah was the recipient of a Canada Council Arts Grant. The grant was an honour that allowed her to dive into a series of ceramic sculptures building and studying the sphere. 

In 2007 Susannah and her husband moved to Bowen Island where she works full-time in her studio as a ceramic sculptor. Her and her husband’s life changed significantly in 2009 with the birth of twins. The artist now finds herself drawn to different themes particularly her perceptions of life, death and growth.

Statement

Susannah Montague is a British-Canadian ceramic sculptor who lives on an island off of the wild West Coast of Canada with her husband, two children, and a tutu-wearing terrier. 

Montague’s art is as humorous as it is subversive. Her pieces are a daydream in clay, wryly communicating the intransience of the human condition with a wink and a nudge. Stepping into her studio is like discovering an Eighteenth-Century Cabinet of Curiosity. Her art is a collection of shamanistic characters which imbibe the peculiar, scientific and mythical qualities involved in creation. Rollicking, cherubic figures wearing masks and antlers frolic among symbols of decay, in a world that is equal parts shadowy and lighthearted. Her lively sculptures are an amalgam of animal, human and object. Combined, the images evoke a whimsical narrative of folk tales, childhood fantasies, dreams, and nightmares. 

The artist draws on her deeply personal history to reference fertility and childbirth, using babies, blastocysts, and vanitas symbolism to convey a frenetic celebration of the divine comedy of existence. There is a precarious balance in her work between life and death, creation and destruction, innocence and corruption. The artist states, “These characters know much more than they let on.” Each individual sculpture is an island of ideas, a cluster of creative life-force/death-drive, and a barge of becoming. 

Montague’s medium is also her message. It’s fitting that her raw material is clay, taken from the earth, lovingly molded, fired, and finally made into deliciously delicate porcelain that will—inevitably—return to the earth. Ashes to ashes. This cyclical perception of time is enhanced by her rediscovery of a forgotten art medium, bursting with the floral blooms of a porcelain past and decorated with all the excesses of a lost century. Even as it is born, each piece has somehow curiously already died away. 

Ultimately, viewing a Susannah Montague piece is a bit like falling down a rabbit hole, and feeling in turns terrified and utterly charmed. 

Studio Sundays: Emily Filler

Emily Filler's paintings walk the line between the real and the imaginary.  There is a sense of the familiar but also the feeling that you are falling into a dream - flowers act as a departure point to a world that dissolves into abstraction.

She weaves together painting, printmaking and photography in her ‘painterly collages’, bringing together panels of color, meticulous patterning and floral elements. Dense mark-making contrasts with airy clouds of transparent color and screen-printed florals reveal themselves from behind cut and torn paper and canvas. As these processes and elements interlace, they create a hybrid between representation and abstraction, the natural and supernatural.

Living in downtown Toronto, Filler is often influenced by her ritual walk to the studio, where she observes the landscape shift from bustling city life to contemplative residential neighborhoods. Exploring this contrast, the works playfully collate the images and textures from both worlds.

Emily Filler lives and works in Toronto, Canada.

b. 1982. Ottawa, Canada.

Sara Khan

Sara Khan was born in Birmingham, England in 1984 and raised in Lahore, Pakistan. She holds a BFA (with honours) from National College of Arts, Lahore (2008). Her works have been featured in several national and international group exhibitions. She was selected as one among 13 international artists for the Bag Art camp, an international art residency in Bergen, Norway (2012). She was also selected to be a part of the 13 Satellites of Lahore, a public art work shop held at the Annemarie Schimmel Haus, Lahore (2006). 

She lives and works in Vancouver, Canada.

Statement

When someone comes from a very different place compared to where you grew up, you find you can still relate to each other on a more basic and human level. This connection comes from elsewhere; it is not common to cultural backgrounds or skin colour. Instead, it comes from the minute details of our personalities. The atmosphere of the home we grew up in, the kind of mother we had, our interests: universal attributes that vary, but share a oneness in their “universal-ness”. 

I make work about the repulsive and beautiful found in ordinary spaces and situations, and question the normalcy of the seemingly mundane matters in life. For example, as a child, the coziness of pretending the bed is a ship on a vast expansive sea belies the notion of it capsizing and drowning us. Or how close relationships between women can be warm and nurturing, but mixed in the flock are those present who want worshipers and followers instead of the honesty of friends and family. Or how a man inside a woman leads to the birth of another human, turning the woman into a mound of soil in which a human germinates like a plant from a seed, and in the process, disfigures the woman to the limits of possibility. 

It is in dealing with these observations that I draw them out, to find a place for things that are neither here nor there. Slowly laying out translucent layers of watercolour, I work toward pronouncing some areas, while covering others entirely, almost decoratively, as if to say, “you didn't belong, but now you do.” I leave some questions to chance, answer others more definitively, hovering somewhere between restraint and complete spontaneity. The idea is to develop a space or landscape with both extremes in it, the abhorrent and the fantastic. Coexisting to form one complete picture; thriving in the gray areas, it’s a subtle dance between “is it” and “is it not”. 

Exploration of Urban Forms: Interview with Zandra Stratford

Zandra Stratford is a West Coast abstract painter known for bold, semiotic works. Her pieces lay a foundation of elemental earth tones; clay and cement greys and soil blacks, laying strata after strata of contrasting and ambitious colour as a counterpoint to industrial textures, and this overlaid with confident horizontal structures.

Preferring large canvases and panoramic birch panels, her work stands as an exploration of urban forms and our experience with the material of cities. Each interaction, point of surface contact or scuff, whether by design or by circumstance, is at once something removed, something revealed, and something left behind.

Her use of maps speaks to a sense of place, but it is at the same time indistinct, a kind of universal geography, the design of space within pre- existing space, and how our interactions – organic and emotional and spontaneous – collapse and become aggregate, integrated into pre- established patterns of traffic, structure, and flow.

Stratford studied printmaking at the Victoria College of Art, after more than a decade’s experience as an advertising Art Director. This informs her work’s cadence, graphic sensibility and declarative confidence.

Her piece “Gorgeous Filth #01” (2017) was selected for the prestigious Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in London, the only resident Canadian to be selected for that show’s 249th year.

Her studio, on Salt Spring Island off the coast of Vancouver, is a bright high-ceilinged space filled with the debris of signal - swatches and typographical elements, vintage textbooks and advertisements, spray- bombs and stencils and the ghosts of what someone, at some point, was trying to convey, like decades-old stray radio signals bouncing off the ionosphere to be captured serendipitously by a car radio at night. 

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Tell us about your creative background. When did you commit to a life in the arts?

I’ve always hand my hand in the arts. I worked as an Art Director in ad agencies for more than a decade before picking up a paint brush again. My kids were small were so I didn’t have a lot of time to move my work forward, but I was dabbling and experimenting. It wasn’t until 2012 that I really dedicated the majority of my time to making art.

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What inspires your current work and the color palette you choose?

I’m interested in the stories of urban spaces–the layers of built up debris, dirt, graffiti, and weathered structures, the convergence of the elements with what people have placed there and how that changes over time, the echos of what is left over and how the story changes. That’s reflected in my work. There is as much paint applied as there is removed and somewhere there is a balance that hopefully tells a compelling story. Because these areas are so worn, dirty, and aged, as a modernist I try to juxtapose a soft palette of neutrals and pastels to make something contemporary.

You mention that you live on an artist-colony island. Tell us a little bit about that and what the experience has been like for you.

I’ve lived on Salt Spring Island for the past 9 years. It’s a small rural community off the coast of Vancouver and is magically filled with people doing cool things. It’s a great place to focus because there isn’t really much else to do. I’ve met the most amazing people here, most of my best friends are creatives so while our work may be different there is a similar vein of experience so we really seem to get each other. There’s a shared understanding that you may be locked away in your studio for weeks on end but you’ll emerge eventually and it will be easy to catch up.

We’re about to change things up and are moving to London in the summer to explore opportunities there.

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What motivates you and helps you to prevent burnout?

I feel like making art is how I make sense of the world and it’s really not an option to not do it. It’s very bad for my mental health if I’m not actively working. I go through periods when I have too much on the go and usually have periods where burnout is inevitable. I haven’t figure out how to prevent it just yet but after it’s happened, my favourite thing to do is to go the city to recharge. It’s very quite here and spending too much time with yourself can feel isolating.

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Describe a typical day in the studio.

My usual practice has me going to studio around 12:30 so I have the morning to work on business stuff, but because I’ve got a couple of shows coming up I’m getting in there earlier. I’ve been trying to incorporate meditation into my routine so have recently started each studio session trying to clear my mind and invite focus and curiosity into my work. Then I’ll usually paint for about 5 hours. My studio is in my home so I take lots of little breaks to drink tea and contemplate what’s happening on the boards.

What are some challenges you face in your studio practice?

I’m always chasing the light. I live in the Pacific Northwest so its grey here more than half the year which can lead to some frustration. I’ve been in this studio for almost four years and I still haven’t figured out how to light it properly. Isolation can be challenging when I get caught up in my own head and can’t see where I need to go. Fortunately I am part of a large online artist community and can bounce challenges off to other artists.

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Name a few artists that inspire you.

I really love the #5womanartists campaign so I want to focus on women for this answer.

Jillian Evelyn
Katy Ann Gilmore
Carla Tak
Bonnie and Clyde (Steph Burnley) Tracy Emin
Guerilla Girls

Oops, that’s 6!

Studio Sundays: Vanessa Lam

Mixed media painter Vanessa Lam creates dialogue between collage and expressive gestural painting. While pursuing a career in health care, she maintained an interest in art that began with studies at the University of British Columbia. Progressing this interest, Lam entered into Continuing Studies at Emily Carr University of Art and Design. For the past five years, Vanessa has sold and exhibited her work at artist-run and public galleries both locally and internationally.  She was awarded the Vancouver Regional Award and Grand Prize Award for the 2017 Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series. Her work was also featured in Create Magazine and Uppercase Magazine. Vanessa Lam was recently an artist-in-residence at Takt Projektraum in Berlin, Germany. She currently lives and works in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Fun Fact: “Rock climbing gave me the foundation to start and sustain my art practice. It helped me develop discipline, persistence and the confidence to push through self-limiting beliefs.”
— Vanessa Lam
The Flowering Songs by Darby Milbrath

Montreal, February 21, 2018PROJET PANGÉE is pleased to present The Flowering Songs, the first solo exhibition of Darby Milbrath in Montreal.

Darby Milbrath's expressionist paintings are informed by her memories of innocence and her experience. Darby’s past life in the theatre as a dancer, the nostalgia for her imaginative childhood, the landscape of the West Coast Gulf Islands whereon she was raised, as well as her visions and mysticism that began as a young girl there, are recurring motifs embedded in Darby’s paintings.

The significance of the theatre in Darby’s art practice began in childhood and later into a profession as a contemporary dancer. Her commitment was primarily to the technique of the late pioneer, José Limón, which is based on the falling and recovering of a human body. It explores the adaptability of a body in space, indulging and resisting the polarities of high and low, swinging from one extreme to another like a pendulum. The tension and duality of these echoes in the complexities, miseries and beauties of human life as a trope by Melpomene and Thalia, the theatrical masks of tragedy and comedy. In this dance, bodies are instruments in an orchestra, working alone or in solidarity, suspending and releasing, giving and taking, descending and ascending. The cyclical nature of ebb and flow, death and rebirth are ongoing themes explored in Darby’s paintings which express empathy, sensuality, sorcery, womanhood and ceremony. Her paintings are intimate and confessional self-portraits of her life as a young woman. A mystic, Darby believes her work is a collaborative process with the spirits and a parting of the veils between the realms.

In The Flowering Songs, fragments of her imaginative and haunted childhood, her home, her blue bedroom, the rich overgrown gardens and orchards laden with ripe fruit, the courtyard in which she played, her memories of the theatre, the draperies, the scent of frankincense backstage, phantoms and veils, all come together, half submerged, in a watery, Prussian blue lagoon of memories, dreams and visions.

Biography

Darby Milbrath was born in 1985 in Victoria, she currently lives and works in Toronto. She holds a diploma from the School of Contemporary Dancers in affiliation with The University of Winnipeg. Her work is somehow confessional, revealing cryptically the details of her childhood, dreams, memories, failed love affairs and private life. Her work as a professional dancer largely inform her visual art practice, lending her paintings a sense of movement and intrepidity while handling her figurative subjects who often tend to be a medley of self-portraits, sisters and dancers. Her recent exhibitions include The Morning Shines With The Lights Of Love at Clint Roenisch Gallery (Toronto), Domestic Tranquility at 0-0 LA (Los Angeles), The Garden at Projet Pangée (Montreal) and Blue Hyacinth at Erin Stump Projects (Toronto). Her work was also presented by Projet Pangée at Papier17 (Montreal) and Material Art Fair (Mexico) in 2017.

About

Projet Pangée is located in the Belgo Building in downtown Montreal. The gallery presents emerging and mid-career artists from the local and international scene, in a playful, contemporary setting.

For further information contact Projet Pangée via email at galerieprojetpangee@gmail.com

Meghan Hildebrand

Meghan Hildebrand’s paintings are constant exercises in innovation and improvisation. With a unique vocabulary of symbols, she translates her northern coastal landscape into electrifying dreamscape scenarios, each image often alluding to a larger narrative. 

Despite frequent reinvention, her works often return to familiar themes - the childhood dream, a sense of journey over land, and the ‘personality’ of place. Defined points of interest, doorways and inlets, invite the viewer to enter the image and join the narrative.

Originally from Whitehorse, Yukon, Meghan studied art at the Kootenay School of the Arts and Nova Scotia College of Art & Design. She is now based in Powell River, BC, Canada.

Studio Sundays: Heather Kocsis

Captivating architectural scenes from life, acclaimed Canadian Artist Heather Kocsis builds stunning dimensional wall sculptures using layers of wood. Kocsis’s awe-inspiring work exemplifies originality, artistic innovation and excellent craftsmanship, appealing to the art collector, designer, architect and lovers of buildings. Her work adorns public spaces, corporate offices, private dwellings, hospitals and museums. Using photographic references, Heather Kocsis is capable of creating a work from anywhere around the world and ships internationally. 

Outstanding commissions include: ONYX Chelsea, NY, NY, The City Reliquary Museum, Brooklyn, NY, The Sony Centre for the Performing Arts, Toronto, ON, St. Mary’sHospital, Kitchener, ON; The Castle, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA.

Studio Sundays: Jean Smith

"The thirty years’ worth of characters I’ve created in song lyrics, novels and paint intend to instill or arouse empathy.

I studied painting at the Vancouver School of Art before forming the underground rock duo Mecca Normal in 1984. I am a published novelist represented by the Carolyn Swayze Literary Agency, and a two-time recipient of Canada Council for the Arts awards."

Jean Smith

Studio Sundays: Susannah Montague

On this week's Studio Sundays feature we explore the intricate ceramic work of Canadian artist Susannah Montague.

Susannah received her BFA from Emily Carr University of Art and Design in the sculpture department. She also attended the Ontario University of Art and Design where she specialized in figurative work and anatomy and studied at the Vancouver Film School.

In 1996 the BC Ceramic Gallery recognized Susannah as the Top Emerging Ceramic Artist in British Columbia and awarded her studio space for the year.

Susannah developed her sculptural work and exhibited and sold her work in Vancouver and Los Angeles. Susannah was also involved in many Interior Design and Art Installations for major night clubs  and restaurants in Vancouver.

The Far Off Blue Places at Projet Pangée

Artists: Anjuli Rathod (New York) and Vanessa Brown (Vancouver)

Exhibition title: The Far Off Blue Places

Opening: Thursday, October 5, 2017, 5h30 to 8h30 pm

Exhibition: From October 5 to November 11, 2017      

Exhibition text: Xan Shian            

Vanessa Brown 

Vanessa Brown 

Montreal, September 26, 2017PROJET PANGÉE is pleased to present The Far Off Blue Places by Anjuli Rathod (New York) and Vanessa Brown (Vancouver). This exhibition brings together two artists who manifest different versions of a disembodied dream narrative. Evolving from the surreal, their works pry at the abstraction of the everyday through phantasmagoric mythologies of lived experience. Rathod through painting, and Brown through sculpture, create pieces that delve between the material worlds, drawing on the physical nature of gesture to elucidate the intimacy of creation.

Rathod’s paintings result from the surrealist process of automatic drawing, which allows her to link directly to her unconscious through memory and self-examination. Coarse, uneven, stylized brushstrokes pull us into a dream narrative, carving distance from realism. Her particular combination of animate subject (even where the inanimate is concerned), brushstroke and colour palette refers us, as the viewer, elsewhere: somewhere which is, as of yet, undefined, and which, more definitely, does not exist solely in the plane of the conscious. Such intentional disconnect roots in Rathod’s interest in diasporic identities, something she tackles through a use of elliptic imagery and animism of space when language is rendered ineffectual.

Brown’s sculptures move between the familiar and the abstract, finding liminal space in the everyday. Using metal, she works with multiple flat iron pieces that begin on a singular plane and move to a third dimension as they are assembled. She recreates objects and forms that frequent her subconscious to set the stage for dramatic narratives of things that have just occurred. In her own words, she contradicts the machinery (both literal and figurative) of metalwork, finding herself “oppositely drawn” to ways in which she can think through her hands. The resulting pieces become amorphous; perspectives that shift significantly as we move between them, each object a fragment of an unknown history.

Both series activate planes across all possible narratives; each artist’s work takes on new conversational tropes in context of the other. Brown’s sculptures evolve from their origins to occupy new and perhaps even unintentional paradigms by the time they are complete, while Rathod’s paintings draw narrative loops between characters that are initially unconnected, allowing a story to emerge from the process. For both artists, such processes imbue their works with aspects of the surreal, categorically shifting through time as they become tangible in space.

Together the paintings and sculptures hint at intertwining stories: the wine bottle, orange and cigarette of Brown’s sculpture draft a scene that might be as dark as it is light; the spider, snake, keys, and question marks in Rathod’s painting accumulate symbols of nightmarish experience which present in contrast to the metallic reflections of the sculptures. Feelings equally sinister and emancipatory are conjured by formal elements evoking beauty. It is these exploratory shapes, the curved, reflective surface of worked metal, colour, and the childlike, which move together in an intimate convergence of impressionistic dream referential.

Biographies 

Vanessa Brown is based in Vancouver on unceded Coast Salish Territories. She received a BFA from Emily Carr University in 2013 and was the recipient of the Chancellor’s Award. She has exhibited in Canada, Germany, the USA, and Mexico, notably with solo and two-person exhibitions at Wil Aballe Art Projects (Vancouver), Erin Stump Projects (Toronto) and group exhibitions at the Nanaimo Art Gallery (Nanaimo), Künstlerhaus Bethanien (Berlin) and King Street Station (Seattle).

Anjuli Rathod lives and works in Queens, New York. She received a BFA from School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and attended the AICAD/New York Studio Residency Program. She has participated in residencies at The Millay Colony of the Arts, the Studios at MASS MoCA and the Shandanken Project. Her work has been published in Lumina Journal and Hyperallergic. She also co-founded Selena, an artist-run space in Brooklyn. She has an upcoming exhibition at the Knockdown Center (Queens). 

About

Projet Pangée is located in the Belgo Building in downtown Montreal. The gallery presents emerging artists from the local and international scene, in a youthful, contemporary setting.

For further information contact Projet Pangée via email at galerieprojetpangee@gmail.com

"Of Centaurs and Men" at Galerie Youn

Montreal, August 30, 2017 – Galerie Youn will open an exhibition featuring Canadian artist Mark Liam Smith on Thursday, September 21, on view until October 21, 2017. Of Centaurs and Men will showcase 24 oil paintings by Smith.

The England-born, Toronto-based artist has been a rising star since he began painting full time in 2015. His background in linguistics has heavily influenced his paintings in that he likens painting to a visual language. In the show Of Centaurs and Men, he uses centaurs, the human-horse hybrids from mythology, to symbolize liminality, a transitional state or conceptual space between dichotomies.

“My paintings aim to expose dichotomies as incomplete by focusing on the liminal position between them. With this body of work, I call into question commonly held dichotomies, such as beautiful or ugly and good or bad. This space in middle of the continuum is where I believe much of our experience is held,” explains Smith.

Smith’s application of paint complements the concept of liminality: the centaurs are represented realistically, whereas the forest settings painterly, making the paintings themselves both realistic and painterly. “I’ve tried to create a place that both exists and does not exist. This superposition of ‘both and neither’ shows the necessity for acknowledging liminality and its rejection of traditional dichotomous thinking,” says Smith.

Gallery owner Juno Youn began representing Smith earlier this year, after several successful group exhibitions. “I was pleased to add Mark Liam Smith to my roster of artists,” says Youn. “His surreal narratives draw the viewer into a world of magical realism. His highly saturated palette, which stems from his colour-blindness, coupled with his themes create fertile ground for discussion—not just about his art, but, more broadly, about the world around us.”

Since 2015, Smith has exhibited at numerous international exhibitions, including SCOPE art fair in Basel, Switzerland, and garnered international recognition by International Confederation of Art Critics and, closer to home, by the Ontario Arts Council and the Federation of Canadian Artists. His paintings have been featured on Hi-Fructose, Boooooom, Bizarre Beyond Belief, among others.

Smith acknowledges the generous support of the Ontario Arts Council in funding this project.

ABOUT GALERIE YOUN

Galerie Youn focuses on building bridges between local, national and international emerging to mid-career contemporary artists. The gallery participates in gallery exhibitions and international art fairs, including, recently, Volta New York and the Seattle Art Fair, and represents more than twenty artists from around the world. Originally founded in 2012 as online gallery Flying Rooster Contemporary Projects, Galerie Youn opened as a brick-and-mortar space in May 2013. Located in the heart of the dynamic and creative Mile End district of Montreal, the gallery hosts a range of group and solo exhibitions throughout the year. Since its opening, Galerie Youn has established itself within the diverse milieu of galleries and art centres in Montreal.

For more images and more information, contact:

Juno Youn
Gallery Owner
Galerie Youn 514-270-8588 juno@galerieyoun.com