The new “Painting Nature With a Mirror” exhibition at the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal (MACM) features the works of several Concordia grads and professors. The exhibition focuses on 1980s painting in Canada, showcasing more than 20 paintings and drawings from the museum’s permanent collection, some on display at the MAC for the very first time.
According to the MACM, “the 1980s saw the return of a style of painting that, rather than attempting to follow the course of modernist abstraction inherited from the mid-century avant-gardes, adopted a sometimes disconcerting heterogeneity: figuration and abstraction were employed simultaneously and aesthetic explorations were marked by diversity, but above all by a desire to be free of the previous generation of artists’ conceptual rigour.”
The exhibition includes works by Concordia alumni Sylvie Bouchard (BA 83) and Carol Wainio (MFA 85), as well as professors (Studio Arts) Lynn Hughes, Francois Morelli, Susan G. Scott and Leopold Plotek.
Plotek sat down recently for a brief Q&A about the exhibition, and the art scene and studies in Montreal and Concordia.
You and other Concordians have pieces in the “Painting Nature With a Mirror” show.
Leopold Plotek: I’m glad the MAC has taken one of my pieces out of storage and put it on view. My painting dates back to 1980, is called The Song of the Shirt, inspired by a labour union anthem of the early part of the 20th century. My painting is part of a show of pictures from the 1980s, so there is a huge variety of things. The sixties and seventies were a time of abstract modernism, particularly in Quebec, and was dominated by hard-edged abstraction which looks rather sweet and decorative when we look back on it now. But the eighties represented a kind of turning away from that and opening up to different kinds of figuration, wall painting, graffiti, informal things, pop – it was an opening out rather than a closing in.