MONTREAL.- Parisian Laundry
announces represented artist Justin Stephens first solo exhibition at the gallery. Method Acting Today features a selection of the artists most recent paintings.
"People ask me what I mean precisely. I must remind them that I mean, but not precisely." Jean-Luc Godard
In the work of Justin Stephens things are often exactly as they appear, yet never quite what they seem. Existing in states of quantum indeterminacy, the precise meaning of his paintings resists pinning down: like the details on a fluttering moth's wing, or the Ace's location in a game of Three-card Monte. Stephens' sleight of hand insures we're simultaneously mesmerized and misdirected transcending even while we're placing our wagers. Like the insides of pockets, almost anything can be found on his painting's surfaces: coins, bits of plastic, felt, holes. Even more is crammed into their ideology: every other movement from the past fifty years of painting's history has found its way into his method (carefully refined over two decades of art-making, Quixotic travel, studio residencies abroad, and a recent Masters degree from the Glasgow School of Art). His recent paintings are diminutive in scale but telescopic in reach and function similarly to how airplane windows work: small portholes that provide expansive views. This careful combination of the noble and the humble seems to be everywhere one looks in Stephens' work. In some of his canvases, there are felt pads (the type affixed to the bottom of furniture to prevent floors from being scraped) glued atop his fluid brushwork. In one moment, a viewer might flash on a sly reference to the underside of things (the soles of Philip Guston's troubled sleepers, perhaps?) and witness the painting vibrate with the same intensity as the Modernist masters' whom Stephens reveres, while in the next, they might grin to themselves imagining his painting as a support wedge beneath a wobbly fridge pluralistic qualities which make the work surprisingly close to Nature, itself. Utility as object, philosophic vehicle, or conduit for sublimity. Either. Neither. Or All. These days one practically has to stare at a tree to find the same degree of versatility. Wyatt Boyd
Justin Stephens holds a Master's degree from the Glasgow School of Art. His work has recently been featured in a group exhibition at the Royal Scottish Academy and will be presented in an exhibition of the 2014 Glasgow International. The work of Justin Stephens has been exhibited in the Québec Triennial of 2011 at the Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art and Stephens has presented solo exhibitions at Torontos Mercer Union and the Darling Foundry in Montreal. His work has been selected twice consecutively by the annual Royal Bank of Canada painting competition and is found in public collections of the National Museum of Québec, the Royal Scottish Academy, corporate collections such as RBC Investor Services United Kingdom, and the Caisse de dépôt et de placements, Québec, as well private collections throughout Canada, France, Australia and the United States.