Vista Blitz

Melanie Authier

November 14 - December 13, 2008

Vista Blitz

Melanie Authier’s recent paintings function on two wavelengths. They engage painting as an abstract two-dimensional construct, and they also describe vast space. On the other hand, her paintings emphasize the surface of the canvas with sharply defined shape, gestured paint and layered glazes that acknowledge and reinforce its haptic presence. On the other hand, there are contortions of coalescing form, atmospheric gullies, and unmeasurable dips and sweeps that fall away from the participating viewer into deep space - heightening the experience of illusionistic space. This twinned manner of making a painting is deftly, imperceptibly woven together in Authier’s painting process. A variety of her own vocabularies - some of which vaguely reference art historical moments (where biomorphic abstraction meets Futurism, meets Abstract Expressionism, meets the Romantic panorama, to name a few) are utilized in such a way that refers to the type of space often found in landscapes. Loosened from their source, (be it painting’s history or the natural world) the pictorial elements are supercharged into being.

Authier’s forms relate to their context and situation in ways that are unrepeatable from painting to painting. A mark within her visual sampling exists much like a word that cannot be accurately defined, a word whose meaning must be considered in the context of a sentence, the paragraph it is situated within, the speaker, and the moment in time is uttered. The artist’s goal is to push a painting through increasingly unanticipated improvisations within her lexicon. Each painting is a mash-up, a composite of opposites that compete for room within the canvas, a perpetual play between chaos and control, the organic and the synthetic, flatness and depth, the atmospheric and the geologic. A sense of disorientation comes about through the way in which shape, line, form and gesture announce themselves and contextualize themselves against their neighbors. For the artist, the process of a painting occurs as a series of contrasts, each mark attempting to usurp the prominence of the previous idea. The result is a painting that behaves much like a chameleon’s skin. Two functions simultaneously occur in one form: a shape can appear as a surface with depth, and a shard from a hard edge can bend into a pocket of recessive space into the distance. The various zones, whether they move toward or away from us, are layered one on top of another, creating moments of extreme remoteness and improbable proximity. This instability between the haptic and the optic creates an experience that is as sumptuous as it is unnerving, a jolt into the uncanny where the aesthetic verges into the grotesque, and back again.

- Martin Golland, 2008

Melanie Authier was born in 1980 in Montreal. She received a BFA from Concordia University. Montreal in 2002 and completed her MFA at the University of Guelph in 2006. Among numerous scholarships and awards, she recently received the Honourable Mention price for the 9th Annual RBC Painting Competition 2007. Works by the competition’s 15 semi-finalists were exhibited at various public galleries across Canada. Recognition includes a review of her work by Cliff Eyland in the 2007 PAINT issue of Border Crossings Magazine. Recent solo exhibitions include Sneaky Haunt at the Michael Gibson Gallery, London (2008), Karma Kanyon at aceartinc., Winnipeg (2007) and This could be the place at the Michael Gibson Gallery, London (2007). Recent group shows include Look Four at Elissa Cristall Gallery in Vancouver (2008), Cartographies at Elissa Cristall Gallery in Vancouver (2007), and Kolour Your World at the Edward Day Gallery, Toronto (2006). In addition to her Vista Blitz exhibition at TNG, Authier is currently participating in the group show Soft Abs at Modern Fuel Gallery, Kingston.

Melanie Authier is represented by the Michael Gibson Gallery. She currently lives and maintains a studio in Toronto. (2008)

Martin Golland received his MFA from the University of Guelph (2006) and his BFA from Condordia University (1998). Golland was born in Montpeller, France, and lived in Turkey, Puerto Rico and Miami before moving to Ottawa. He now lives and works in Toronto. Golland has exhibited nationally and internationally, including Shapeshift at Birch Libralato in Toronto (2008), DARK TOWN at the Felix Ringel Galerie in Dusseldorf (2007), What is said and what is meant at the MacDonald Stewart Art Center in Guelph (2006), Domestic Bliss at Open Space in Victoria (2006), and HAVEN at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria (2004). He has been a semi-finalist in the 8th and 10th Annual RBC Painting Competition (2006, 2008), which was exhibited across Canada.