Melanie Authier’s canvases bring viewers into a caterwaul of form, but also of competing histories. Citing High Modernist Abstraction in both her hard-edge and gestural painting, Authier positions herself at the interstices of a visual contradiction. But other binaries figure in, as well: the synthetic and the organic, the technological and the natural, flatness and depth, the atmospheric and the geological. Dynamisms mingle and co-exist in an exchange that stretches the limits of their allusions.
“I believe 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?’” With a dialectical approach that roots down into the brush, each work “sets up a problem,” with Authier working through the possibility of irresolution as her response. As such, her paintings churn up art’s freighted histories, with Authier shifting her weight between chaos and control.
In accompaniment to Authier’s seven-gallery touring exhibition Contrarities and Counterpoints (2016-18), a catalogue essay by Sky Goodden describes the painter as baroque for her conversation between exterior and interior, and for her paintings’ roiling sympathies, elasticities, and their “willing loss of form.” Goodden writes, “She produces romantic gesture, unlikely light, allaying cimmerian weight, and then crashing forms, sinking comment into vortex, erupting color from the deep.”
Melanie Authier (Canadian, b. Montreal, 1980) received a BFA from Concordia University (2002) and an MFA from University of Guelph (2006). Her works has been featured in public group exhibitions including Builders: Canadian Biennial at The National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, ON, 2012 (catalogue) and The Painting Project at Gallery UQAM, Montreal, QC, 2013 (catalogue). Significant solo exhibitions include: Melanie Authier: Grisailles, Rodman Hall Art Centre, Brock University, St. Catharines, ON (2014) (publication forthcoming 2019) and Contrarieties & Counterpoints: Recent Paintings by Melanie Authier, a seven-venue touring exhibition curated by Robert Enright (2016-2018) (publication). Authier’s work is in numerous national collections, including the National Gallery of Canada, Carleton University Art Gallery, Art Gallery of Guelph and the ARBZ-Visual Art Collection-Global Affairs. Authier currently lives and works in Quebec.