John Drew Munro's latest exhibition of works has its vernissage tonight at the Gésu, at 1200 rue de Bleury (514-861-4378) in Montreal.
If you ever admired the images of circles and dots you see as you scroll down the entries on my blog, you have been quietly paying tribute to the work of John Drew Munro. Over two years ago, I asked John if on these web pages I could upload and display his art (which in my mind is somehow so suggestive of the analysis of wine) and then redirect visitors to more information about him and his work by hyperlinking to it. He said yes. As a result, clicking on any of his images you see here will eventually lead you to details about his last exhibition, which was in Westmount in 2005.
But now, I am more than happy to point to his recent works. The image above is from his new series of encaustic paintings entitled Brightness Falls From the Air. It seems to maintain his emphasis on pattern-based abstraction and the fascinating reductive techniques he uses to practically carve reliefs from his canvasses.
But other people can probably describe better it than me -- I just want to make sure I check it out in person, sometime before April 16, when the exhibits are taken down. (But why risk missing it by waiting that long when you could meet the artist by attending the unveiling tonight?)
The works in this exhibition are the culmination of 18 months of productive labour, concerned with the manipulation of a few elements… dots, circles and lines. It is not the elements in their singularity that piqued my interest; but rather the systematic repetition and the production of constellations and their association with both science and nature. I would hope that my paintings are an intimate dialogue concerned with the transference of visual sensations. The manipulation of the elements can be used in myriad ways. It is my intent to deploy a range and distribute each motif according to my response to each particular work in progress…
I paint with encaustic (a mixture of beeswax, pigment and resin): it dries very quickly, and therefore must be worked in an expeditious manner. It is quite difficult but holds rewards inherent in its qualities such as luminosity and transparency. Depth can be achieved through layering. The paint is not brushed on; instead it is poured over the surface and the markings are incised with small tools and later filled and scraped back. The layers and markings can be numerous or few… this is dependent on the needs of the individual work… colours are minimal in order to empower the work through limitation.
The title was appropriated from James Joyce's novel "Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man." It is his descriptive power that so enticed me… and stimulated the development of this work.
- John Drew Munro