Four Ottawa Painters: Authier, Golland, Morrow, Schissel
Curated by Sandra Dyck
22 November 2010 – 30 January 2011
Four Ottawa Painters takes the pulse of regional painting activity, presenting the work of ambitious young artists who are already garnering acclaim in Canada and internationally. The exhibition offers a unique snapshot of one aspect of the city’s artistic scene, featuring paintings made exclusively in 2010 and not yet seen here. It reflects and is shaped by significant developments in the city’s cultural profile, in particular the University of Ottawa’s recent establishment of a Master of Fine Arts degree program (Martin Golland is a professor there, while Amy Schissel and Andrew Morrow are recent MFA graduates). More broadly, Four Ottawa Painters signals a revived interest in contemporary painting, here and abroad.
Melanie Authier is committed to total abstraction: her canvases manifest an intense push-pull between opposing forces of the artificial and the real, chaos and control, the sublime and the ordinary. Martin Golland takes the urban setting as his starting point, distorting real-world sources into imaginary spaces where entropy and enigma are the order of the day. In her densely-layered works, Amy Schissel appropriates dots, pixels, clusters, loops, and linear sequences from networked computing environments, pushing the language of abstraction to encompass contemporary understandings of space. Andrew Morrow’s work is rooted in the past but focused on the present. He revisits the conventions of historic pastoral painting, using graphic sexual imagery to disturb and transform its idealized landscapes while raising questions about contemporary attitudes to sexuality, masculinity, and gender.