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Mathieu Lefevre: From the Studio to the Skatepark

Galerie Division, Montreal Jun 25 to Jul 30 2011
Mathieu Lefevre <em>Awesome</em> 2011 Mathieu Lefevre Awesome 2011

Mathieu Lefevre <em>Awesome</em> 2011

Mathieu Lefevre’s exhibition “Showing Stuff in a Big Room” has a title indicative of the kind of humour that permeates this young Montreal artist’s work: obstinately cynical, self-consciously literal and obvious to the point of parody.

Physically, the show consists of Lefevre’s painting/sculpture hybrids—works that confuse easier categories of two- and three-dimensionality. While maintaining the conventional components of painting (oil and canvas) and, less conventionally, adding materials that more or less amount to a number of gag props, Lefevre redesigns these media to create paint-based sculptural objects riffing on garbage bags, sandwiches and other icons of contemporary art.

Also on display are a number of items from Lefevre’s Lessons from Art History series. Each piece uses as its base a prototypically bland museum gift-shop poster of a work by a celebrated painter. Over this, Lefevre spray-paints enthusiastic platitudes and bro-slogans: “AWESOME” on Pollock, “LOL” on Watteau, “SKATE OR DIE” on Malevich and so on.

Malevich is a repeated reference point, as in Lefevre’s Happy Birthday Malevich. A large white plaster rectangle hung slightly askew and off-centre on canvas, topped with a circle of sparse white candle-like protrusions, it actualizes Malevich’s two-dimensional White on White into a three-dimensional birthday cake. The work’s historical allusions bridge reference and irreverence to unsettle assumptions around both making and viewing art.

This article was first published online on July 21, 2011.


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