MONTREAL — Abstract realism comes to life with two new major exhibitions at Montreal’s Musee d’Art Contemporain.
Currently on display, the museum offers some 70 major works by artist Pierre Dorion as well as a quartet of intriguing videos by Janet Biggs.
The exhibit opens with the works of Quebec-born artist Dorion, specifically a small-scale reconstruction of his “Chambres avec Vues” (“Rooms with a View”) series launched in 1999 in a vacant Montreal luxury apartment. Striped of its contents, Dorion painted the likes of simple hallways and rooms to their respective bare-bones minimum in slightly muted tones of uncanny realism.
Continuing the theme, Dorian’s minimalist architectural ventures during the first decade of the century landed him everywhere from New York to Los Angeles, where Chelsea interiors and storefronts and Signal Hill windows get their proper detailed due — such as the crisp line created from the shadow of the sun peering through a window pane and the peeling paint chip of a shingle in need of a new coat.
Newer works from the past year or so — produced just for the Montreal run — are also included. “The Gates” and the adjacent “Untitled (DB)” offer multiple sparse panels of subdued blue, brown and orange lines. Playing off Dorion’s penchant for wide-open gallery spaces, “Untitled (DB)” comes to life when viewed from afar as a wandering museum visitor passes by adding the punch of a silhouette.
Next, the museum screens four works by video artist Janet Biggs, three of which comprise “The Arctic Trilogy” and her latest, “A Step from the Sun.” The haunting films combine surrealism, starkness and loneliness interspersed with the occasional bizarre razzle-dazzle.
“Biggs is known for her video, photography and performance works that revolve around an exploration of extremes, both geographical and physical,” according to the accompanying press release.