Michael Dumontier Clocks
Works in the exhibition
Galerie Division is pleased to present Clocks, an exhibition by Winnipeg-based artist Michael Dumontier. Dumontier pushes objects and images to their reductive extremes, recomposing them into whimsical, poetic assemblages. Stripped to their bare elements, these reductions reveal more than their subjects might suggest, their new vestment in rudimentary forms exposing the poetics of the everyday. This precise practice, for all its reliance on the fundamental concepts of Modernism--from material to reduction and abstraction--is full of play, encouraging multiple registers of meaning and interpretation. Thus the fundamental vocabulary of mark making is explored to its unbounded end--a line becomes an opening, a dot a portal, allowing three-dimensionality to exist in otherwise two-dimensional surfaces.
For his first solo exhibition at the gallery the artist blurs boundaries between painting and sculpture, art and theatre. Whereas painting sanctifies the canvas' surface as an arena for the artist to explore, Dumontier drives through it, exposing it as a permeable barrier. In the series Twos, illuminated circles beneath the surface of the canvas perform a choreography of slow rotations; moving at the same speed, their relationship is asymptomic, while veering towards one another they never meet. Removing the artist's hand and replacing it with the steady mechanical hands of clocks, Dumontier suggests an invisible realm buried beneath the surface of things. We are never entirely removed from this world, with the clocks' orbits mirroring the action of the ambulating viewer.
The language of painting is saturated here by time, pushing it into the field of theatricality and into a perceptual model that calls for sustained attentiveness rather than fixity and at-once-ness. While employing the mechanics of clocks, Dumontier defies the forward thrust of time, instead engaging continuous and overlapping passages that resist marking any particular moment with significance. The perceptual illusions that arise recall pre-cinematic technologies of attractions, from shadow puppet shows to zoetropes and other apparatuses that enabled optical trickery through circular gyrations. Looking back to these early technologies of perceptions, Dumontier resists the frenetic speed of our digitally saturated age and compels us to steady ourselves in a meditative constant present.
Michael Dumontier is an original member of the Royal Art Lodge and continued to be a member until 2008 with Marcel Dzama and Neil Farber. Solo presentations for the Royal Art Lodge have been held at the Liverpool Biennial (2008); the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2004); The Drawing Center, New York (2003); and The Power Plant, Toronto (2003). Dumontier maintains a collaborative practice with Neil Farber, and the duo was a finalist for last year’s Sobey Art Awards. Michael Dumontier & Neil Farber have exhibited at the Plug In ICA, Winnipeg (2001); Salon du Dessin Contemporain, Paris (2010); Galerie de l’UQAM, Montreal (2013), and the Hole, New York (2013). Work by Michael Dumontier can be found in numerous prestigious collections including the Vancouver Art Gallery and the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa and solo exhibitions for the artist have been held at Elizabeth Dee Gallery, New York (2004); Perugi Artecontemporanea, Padua, Italy (2006); Plug In ICA, Winnipeg (2012), and MKG127, Toronto (2015).