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Stratus Artist Label Series – MELANIE AUTHIER

2019 | Watercolour and Ink on Paper

Melanie Authier’s paintings careen between chroma and form, pulling us into an immersive space where nothing is static, and the only constant is contrariety. Treating the paper as a mnemonic record of movement, Authier stands her perpetual play of painterly oppositions on its head, charging various polarities into action, and illuminating the point of its pivot. The work lurches between synthetic and organic form, technological and natural eruption; meanwhile Authier plumbs geological depths and ascends to heavenly atmospheres. Between these various poles, she wields a masterful agitation, especially among her perspectival planes. She stokes our fathomage of where painting can take us.

Growing out of her past examinations with the dialectical baroque, Authier shifts into a more subdued approach to color. Forever rooting into the brush, each painting “sets up a problem,” with Authier working through the possibility of irresolution as her response. As such, her work churns up art’s freighted histories, as she shifts her weight between chaos and control.

Authier’s works bring viewers into a caterwaul of form, but also of competing histories. Citing High Modernist Abstraction in both her hard-edge and gestural painting, she positions herself at the interstices of a visual contradiction. By taking advantage of the possibilities of paint to function both as surface and space, she assigns marks their own degree of legibility as they get discovered along the spectrum between abstraction and representation. “My work references and, at times, wrestles with the after-burn of painting’s past, art history with a capital ‘A’,” she reflects. “So my preoccupying question is, ‘Where do we go from here?’”

Authier was born in Montreal and received a BFA from Concordia University (2002) and an MFA from University of Guelph (2006). She has had a seven venue national touring solo exhibition curated by Robert Enright (publication); and group shows at Arsenal Contemporary in New York; Ottawa Art Gallery; Galerie de l’UQAM; the National Gallery of Canada; and The Canada Gallery, Canada House, London, UK. Authier currently lives and works in Val-des-Monts, Quebec.

A glass of sparkling wine is best enjoyed in conversation with another in front of a painting, amidst the crowd of an exhibition, in a moment of mutual rapport. So, wine, as with art, is best appreciated in good company and with good friends.

– Melanie Authier


Georgia Scherman Projects, Inc. Toronto, Canada

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