John K. Grande

  • Kevin Kelly

    Since 1988, Kevin Kelly’s dioramas have incorporated large-scale paintings, videotapes, and photographs of virginal arctic landscapes, open pit-mines, and sequentially ordered, rectilinear Dutch forests. Constructed in a 180-degree, semicircular fashion, like the wilderness scenes one might see in a museum of natural history, at first sight these installations are strikingly beautiful. They internalize the kernel of the Romantic ethos that considers the act of representation a sublime ideal that somehow surpasses nature. The harsh resource elements, such as water, mine tailings, oil, rocks, and

  • Betty Goodwin

    This tightly orchestrated exhibition of Betty Goodwin’s sculptures, working drawings, multimedia constructions, and prints made between 1965 and 1991 is an addendum and update to her 1987 retrospective at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. Virtually none of the figurative references (dark, partially obscured images of the human form) from Goodwin’s Swimmer, 1982–85, and “Carbon” series, 1986—the large-scale drawings on vellum, Transpagra, and Geofilm, for which she is best known, are present here. Those depictions of implied tragedy, reminiscent of Goya, seemed the products of an unwavering eye

  • Mark Lewis

    Mark Lewis’ irreverent large-scale black and white photographs printed on color paper poke fun at official public monuments. His intention is to underscore the universal propagandistic function of the commemorative statue. Cast in a realist mold, these generic icons police our collective, historic memory. Their purpose is seldom questioned; it is largely ignored. In times of great social change or revolution, they suddenly become poignant symbols of past political orthodoxies and are torn down, destroyed, or dismantled as their hidden meaning shifts.

    In order to expose the stylistic similitude

  • Lisette Model

    By arranging Lisette Model’s photographic output into a series of neat, digestible categories—photoessays, portraits, and subject themes—this retrospective mistakenly encourages us to see her photographic output wholly within the context of the Photo League’s “social documentary” tradition. Model, however, often admitted she didn’t really know the meaning of the term. Using small, lightweight portable 35mm cameras, she experimented with a straight-on “shoot from the gut” snapshot esthetic to produce sardonic exposés of the American dream. Less calculating than her colleagues in the Photo League,

  • André Fournelle

    Born of the quixotic context that begot the ’60s happening, André Fournelle’s antagonistic approach has evolved to include an iconoclastic personalized vocabulary of materials: neon, aluminum, glass, fire, and stone. In Fire in Your Cities, 1982, a large neon X was placed on the side of a building targeted for demolition. Later Fournelle lit a bonfire in the vacant lot, again in the shape of an X, and videotaped the event. Other documents included a blowup of a press clipping citing a member of Charles Manson’s clan commenting on construction activities in the immediate vicinity of their dwelling

  • Paul Hunter

    Paul Hunter’s vision bears the indelible yet ephemeral stamp of an urban explorer. Hunter assembles slices of life, Lilliputian atelier interiors, dormant parking lots, and night views of Manhattan in narrow, wooden boxes that we look into through viewing holes. Like photography in reverse, Hunter’s “pièges a lumière” (light traps) transform the effects of light back into three dimensions.

    In “Homeless,” 1986, groupings of white plastic figures have been arranged as in a maquette for a theatre set. In a second section additional figures are shown moving along a series of empty passageways at

  • Michel Goulet

    Michel Goulet’s random assemblages strip the readymade bare, relieving the tradition of the found object of a century’s worth of theoretical baggage and reinvesting it with a folkloric, populist dimension. As with all his recent works, “Leçons d’époque” (Lessons of the epoch, 1990) groups several assemblages together under a single theme. A variety of materials arranged on metal shelves in neat vertical tiers include nails, a length of chain, a roll of wire, and kitchen utensils. In another piece a pile of dollar bills becomes a physical tool supporting a right angle, which in turn is supported

  • Carbon 14

    Founded by Gilles Maheu, Carbon 14 evolved out of street theater into a laboratory of hard-hitting social commentary. Their latest production Rivage à l’Abandon (Abandoned shoreline, 1990), occupies the entire museum. Based on the hermetic writings of East German playwright Heiner Müller, Maheu’s production constitutes a form of theatrical anthropology, with a neo-Brechtian flair. Wandering through the smoke-filled installation that serves as a preamble to the central theater piece, we come upon a cellist playing beside train tracks on which stand an illuminated set of balances full of crumpled

  • Sandra Meigs

    Sandra Meigs paints the social masks of popular culture, using kitsch idioms to penetrate the thin veneer of popular folklore. At first her installation of 21 paintings seems to be simply a stereotypical parody of the heroic Western novel: this moody imbroglio of laconic passion offers up a pantheon of macho cowboys and forlorn cowgirls, set amidst a high chaparral landscape littered with wagon wheels, gigantesque horses, sage brush, and campfires. It soon becomes apparent that these figures culled from the cult of the Western melodrama are homesteading on strangely psychoanalytic feminist

  • Paterson Ewen

    This traveling show of Paterson Ewen’s works begins with several of his paintings from the early ’70s. At this time he made a sharp break from his formal abstract works of the ’50s and ’60s, seeking a new, less didactic form of expression. The earliest works are Thunderchain, 1971, an assemblage piece made of metal, wood, and linoleum, and Rocks Moving in the Current of a Stream, 1971, whose backdrop of metal and plywood marks a move away from working on canvas. The latter uses diagrammatic symbols—arrows and readable, abstract signs—to represent natural phenomena, a growing source of inspiration

  • Richard Purdy

    Winding its way through the space here like some kind of neomythical snake, Richard Purdy’s Progeria Longaevus, 1989, comprises a 365-foot scroll of handmade paper whose copious illustrations in gouache form a metaphorical chain of being. Purdy’s creation, through meticulous documentation, manipulates real history, both Asian and Western. Looking at the details, the cartoonlike drawings, we sometimes sense a greater authenticity in Purdy’s ephemeral reproductions of cultural artifacts than in actual historic documents, so persuasive are his visual fictions. There are long passages depicting the

  • Gregoire Ferland

    Essentially disquieting and strangely foreign, Gregoire Ferland’s welded assemblage pieces explore the core of our being, our biological essence, through animating form. These are obtuse creatures, whose primordial gestures mimic the incantations of our daily routines; they move hesitantly, with an implied anxiety that mirrors the anxiety of our progress in a post-industrial world. They seem like distant cousins who have adapted to another specific environment. Mouvement Primitif (Primitive movement, 1988) consists of an elongated metal screen supported by a sequence of rods; some of these rods