Opening Reception: Thursday, October 20, 6-8pm
October 20 - November 26, 2011
Georgia Scherman Projects presents Black October, Tony Scherman’s second solo show with the gallery. Scherman, one of the leading figurative artists of his generation, is known for his arresting cinematic portraits and his finely articulated still lifes. Influenced by the grand narratives of art history, Scherman references the lineage that joins Velázquez to Manet and Manet to Lucian Freud and in so doing attempts a contemporary reading of the tradition. Often deriving inspiration from historical figures such as Napoleon Bonaparte and Abraham Lincoln and from particular events or periods surrounding them, Scherman positions historical facts within an assumed meta-narrative thus providing the viewer with a new—or potentially more complete—understanding of the subject.
In the new series Black October, Scherman looks back at Pierre Elliot Trudeau at the time of the 1970 October Crisis. In response to the intensified violent action of the Front de libération du Québec (FLQ) and the group’s kidnapping of British Trade Commissioner James Cross and murder of Quebec Minister of Labour Pierre Laporte, Prime Minister Trudeau enacted the War Measures Act, which gave the government powers of arrest and detention without trial and provisionally suspended civil liberties.
Scherman imagines a broad historical and social context for Trudeau’s authorization of the War Measures Act. In making his decision on October 16, the Prime Minister was sustained by his cabinet ~ and surrounded by Machiavelli, St. Ignatius Loyola, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Napoleon, Karl Marx, Réne Lévesque, Barbara Streisand and the Goddess Fortuna…
Scherman is drawn to subject matter—moments and episodes—that bear witness to history that continue as open and deep wounds, and imprints on the psyche. But he is neither a history nor a moralistic painter. Scherman paints to understand the contingencies of our world with source material that is extracted from the public domain of film, photography, and magazines—and sometimes from life, although he does not privilege any single source. Curator Ihor Holubizky, 2011
The luminescence of wax, the timelessness of this luminous substance that flows, coats, incorporates, fills, protects but also slips through, insinuates itself, infiltrates, hollows and breaks down and divides colours and humans, separates the living and the dead, good and evil, good from itself, evil from itself. Jacques Henric, Tony Scherman: About 1789
Scherman has exhibited in galleries and museums throughout Canada, Europe and the United States, including the Cleveland Museum of Art; the Hunter Museum of American Art, Tennessee; Fondation d’Art Contemporain d’Ile-de-France and Fondation Guerlain, Paris; Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam, among many others. His work is also featured in collections including The Contemporary Arts Society, London; Royal College of Art, London; the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; Montréal Museum of Fine Art; The High Museum of Art, Atlanta; Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego; Los Angeles County Museum of Art.