Canadian Art

See It

Max Wyse: Naïve no More

Galerie Simon Blais, Montreal Apr 2 to May 3 2008
Max Wyse  <i>Untitled</i>  2008 Max Wyse Untitled 2008

Max Wyse <i>Untitled</i> 2008

The BC-bred and Montreal-based artist Max Wyse has made his way onto a few best-of art lists in his adopted city lately—and looking at this exhibition of paintings on Plexiglas, it’s easy to see why. Wyse captures the naïve-drawing zeitgeist popular with younger artists and twists it into an even darker, stranger, more psychedelic place.

His latest series, titled Jardin dans la peau, has eyeballs growing out of cacti, and irises out of nostrils; similarly, calf muscles yield mushrooms and seed-puffed dandelions. Sidestepping the horror that these emblems of death’s decay might yield, Wyse simply says, “Like an archaeologist, I search, collect and compile the emblems and visual signs that hold my gaze, and I graph these symbols onto the central theme of the human figure.”

Ultimately, Wyse’s sticky implications of bodily degeneration repel, even as his pastel palette keeps you looking. This generates a tension of attractive abjection that may just encapsulate a naïve-no-more next wave. (5420 boul St-Laurent, Montreal QC)

This article was first published online on April 24, 2008.


  • A China Portal

    The Canadian artist Ken Lum remembers an inspiring encounter in Paris with the late Chinese artist Chen Zhen

  • A China Portal: Ken Lum meets Chen Zhen

    The installation artist Chen Zhen thrived on creative contradiction, fusing classical Chinese philosophy with the fractured energy of contemporary commodity culture. Now, Ken Lum sheds light on Zhen’s enigmatic work and life as he recalls meetings with him in Paris during the 1990s.

  • Eric Cameron: Thick, Thicker, Thickest

    Eric Cameron has created a remarkable body of process-determined conceptual art. The veteran Canadian artist is best known for his Thick Paintings in which everyday objects—an alarm clock, a beer bottle, a book of matches, a head of lettuce—are subjected to repeated layerings of gesso (some up to 10,000).



[an error occurred while processing this directive]


  • Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller: Black Birds

    New York critic Joseph R. Wolin heads to the Park Avenue Armory where Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller are creating a buzz (and other sounds) at the US premiere of a dark, nightmarish installation originally created for the 2008 Biennale of Sydney.

  • Grange Prize 2012: Hot Shots

    One of Canada’s largest cash-value art prizes—$65,000 in total with $50,000 going to the winner, $5,000 to three runners-up—announced its finalists this week. Take in their wide-ranging works in this slideshow.

  • Wanda Koop: Into the Woods

    A visit to Wanda Koop’s cabin near Riding Mountain National Park in southern Manitoba proves intriguing for Vancouver critic Robin Laurence. There, Laurence writes, Koop bridges old Grey Owl myths with a new series of paintings on our increasingly digital culture.

  • Brad Tinmouth: Survival Strategies

    The basement of an art gallery may seem an unlikely place to create an emergency shelter. However, Xpace's lower gallery is an ideal setting for Brad Tinmouth's “If Times Get Tough or Even If They Don't,” which evokes a cold-war bunker.

  • Wim Delvoye: Blame it on Paris

    Silk-covered pigs, lattice-cut car tires and a tattooed man are just a few of the works that Belgian artist Wim Delvoye has shuttled into the old, Gothic wing of the Louvre this summer. Jill Glessing reviews, finding a terrific amalgam of high and low.

More Online

Report a problem