Close Listening brings together the works of four painters who are reconsidering the possibilities of abstraction through inventive approaches to paint. Collectively, they explore painting by means of non-traditional techniques, including assemblage, sculpture, video and installation, while challenging the definition of the act of painting. The exhibition was organized and circulated by the Ottawa Art Gallery and curated by OAG’s Curator of Contemporary Art, Ola Wlusek.
Jeremy Hof employs a playful methodology of selecting colours according to his least desirable preferences. This is combined with a patient approach of layering acrylic paint onto multi-dimensional canvas supports, only to grind away and then squeegee the surfaces, revealing the broad spectrum of psychedelic colours beneath. Most recently, the artist introduced bronze to his palette.
Similarly, Jinny Yu focuses on sculptural manifestations within the field of painting. She distributes black ink and oil paint onto manipulated aluminium pieces, while considering the architectural qualities of the space. Expanding her practice into video and sound, Yu surpasses the limits of what qualifies as painting, redefining the act itself by referring to every aesthetic accident and formal gesture within her studio as such.
Working on two-dimensional surfaces, Eli Bornowsky creates oil and gouache paintings within which three-dimensional found objects interact with each other. In others, he explores the formal qualities of the painterly strokes of a brush, or finger, on canvas and board. These works often refer to the hundreds of drawings found in his notebooks. The pages offer a web of untamed m onochromatic squiggly lines that become a new language that resides among the established geometric forms of a colourful circle, a cylinder and a square.
For Monique Mouton, the uneven shapes of the panels which support her oil paints suggest that works exist beyond the confines of the frame. Her compositions appear to undulate from beyond the wall itself, as if they are vistas into a tenuous, representational world. Suggestive of a landscape, a faraway horizon, or an object floating in an imagined space, the paintings contain Mouton’s visual vocabulary waiting to be revealed only to patient eyes.
This exhibition is generously supported by the US Embassy and is funded by the Ontario Art Council.