CURRENT ISSUE | FALL 2017: THE IDEA OF HISTORY
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Sean Montgomery: Dude, Where’s My Canvas?

Though meteorologists tell us the number of cold days is dropping dramatically across the nation, winter—the time for double-diamond skiing, avalanche-tempting snowmobiling and bone-chilling ice fishing—remains a prime component of the more macho side of Canada’s image and identity. Thus, it’s a fitting season to take a look at the work of emerging artist Sean Montgomery, an Edmonton-born, Ithaca-based painter who recently completed an MFA at Concordia University. In his arrays of smallish, faux-naif paintings, currently on view at Laroche/Joncas in Montreal as part of his exhibition “Building Bildung,” Montgomery not only focuses on items associated with classic North American masculinity, like bowling balls and pipes. He also aims his brush at some particularly Canadian icons of manhood, like hockey nets and Molson beer labels. Through these, Montgomery also attempts to bridge into another subculture sometimes identified as a bit of a boys’ club—modernist abstraction. His renderings of lumberjack plaid patterns, for instance, could double as classic grid formations, while a close-up of a baseball’s stitching might read as curving arc of chevrons. He even includes a Styrofoam sculpture of a hockey puck that suggests it as a minimalist form fit for Donald Judd as much as for Jacques Plante. Though contemporary gender roles are anything but fixed, Montgomery’s new-school take on old-school dudehood (and old-school Canadiana, for that matter) promises some fun while taking on a few fundamental (if flawed) assumptions. (372 Ste-Catherine O, Montreal QC)

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