Michael Dumontier & Neil Farber Background Love
Works in the exhibition
Division Gallery is pleased to present a new exhibition by Winnipeg-based artists Michael Dumontier and Neil Farber.
If this exhibition achieves a greater economy and more devastating depth than did past bodies of work, the artists attribute it to their attention to the writing, which, unlike in the extemporized approach of their past texts, underwent several revisions and drafts for this show. Emblematic of the written word’s increasing importance are several new pieces comprised almost exclusively of text. Become The Beholder and You Will Have Beauty In Your Eye is a phrase appropriated from one of the thousands of books in their Library series, a sprawling mosaic of coaster-sized paintings, each bearing its own invented title. Perhaps emboldened by its own message, the phrase has flown away to be a painting of its own, naked of imagery and accordingly direct.
The duo’s new Flowers series continues in the vein of their Animals With Sharpies and Library work, exploring within a simple framework the oft-dysfunctional, occasionally beautiful striving of the human condition. In She’s Still Our Sister three roses grow in one direction, while a fourth has strayed. In 3 or 4 more days a lone white flower lives on borrowed time. The bleak humour is equal parts parody and pathos, a balance the artists strike with uncanny consistency.
Compellingly ambiguous, Dumontier and Farber’s work resonates long beyond first readings. An alloy of painting and language, it defies both to become a genre unto itself, showing us our humanity through the oblique but penetrating lens of their shared absurdism.