The layers beneath the surface of a painting must move. Wood, glue, fibers, pigment and binders are breathing, drying and aging in close proximity to one another. When built in layers, paints create relationships, strong connective bonds interlaced with microscopic holes where off-gasses can escape. When a painting dries, it changes colour—the surface cures, hardens and darkens. Paintings will collect layers of dust and slowly bleach in the available light. The touch of fingers will accumulate on their surfaces over time, both wearing away and adding buildup. Regardless of preparations, whites can yellow, colours can shift, and paint can crack, flake and delaminate.
In painting, losses are formed when parts of a picture’s surface begin to break away. As its support is revealed, it becomes both image and surface. The frayed edges of missing paint alter the ‘face’ of the painting, creating new and charged shapes. Its narrative is doubled because these holes push the composition into the present, and into a space for action.
In breaking apart the picture plane, losses expose the possibility for alternate pathways, undoing the finished quality of an artwork. With this loss, the work opens up again, entering a conversation with those who treat and care for art. It becomes a space for more work to be done, more treatments to be applied. For reintegration, the holes need to be stabilized, filled with gesso, leveled or textured to the surrounding topography, and colour matched.
Working across painting, sculpture and assemblage, the artists featured in The Living Picture employ practices of remaking, responding to losses, holes and patches as sites of inquiry. They each suggest change, destruction and obliteration as studio processes that can nudge and push towards something generative. How can change, decay and uncertainty be brought into an artwork successfully? What does the shape of the loss create?
The title The Living Picture is borrowed from Isabelle Graw’s book The Love of Painting. Graw elaborates on the idea of the living picture from the discipline of visual studies to describe a uniquely special and complex relationship between painter and painting - Katie Lyle, 2023
Zoe Cire is a visual artist born and raised on Treaty 6 territory of central Alberta, where her works talk with her culture that raised her: her kokom’s lineage of Beaver Lake Cree Nation and moshom’s Métis lineage. These conversations oscillate between the terrains of paint, beads and textiles, focusing on place and enlivening material associations. Here, relations speak about language and memory, where it can be found, and what it says when it reaches. Cire completed a Bachelor of Visual Arts with a minor in Curatorial Studies from Emily Carr University. Cire is now at Yale University working on her MFA in Painting and Printmaking.
Maggy Hamel-Metsos (b. 1997) is an artist living and working in Montréal. Through sculpture, installation, photography, video and drawing, her practice invests in the history and symbolism of objects and images to create new semantic constructions by establishing connections between narratives. Metsos work has been shown at Parc Offsite (Montreal), Pumice Raft (Toronto), Baader-Meinhof (Omaha) and NADA New York. She is the recipient of the BMO 1st Art! Prize and is a laureate of the Fonderie Darling’s 2023-2026 Montréal Studio Program.
Gérald Lajoie-Restrepo is a multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary artist of Canadian-Mexican nationality (French settler and second generation indigenous Mexican immigrant) currently living and practicing on the unceded Kanien’keha:ka territory of Tohti:áke also known as Montréal. Mainly using textile and wood, they create abstract, semi-functional works. Their recent exhibitions include Appairage, Peering, Pairing at Anexé07, Gatineau (2022); Douce Ouverature at Espace Loulou, Montreal (2022) and Joe Project, Montréal (2022).
Katie Lyle (b. 1982 Victoria, CA) is an artist working across painting, drawing and performance. Selected presentations include, Franz Kaka, Toronto; NADA House, Governors Island, New York presented by Franz Kaka; Chris Andrews, Montreal;The School of Art Gallery at the University of Manitoba; La Datcha, Berlin; Susan Hobbs Gallery, Toronto; Erin Stump Projects, Toronto; Daniel Faria Gallery, Toronto; Projet Pangée, Montreal; The MacIntosh Gallery, London, ON; 67 Steps, Los Angeles; Oakville Galleries; the Nanaimo Art Gallery. Lyle lives and works in Toronto.
Sophie Stone (b. 1987 Massachusetts, US) received her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design (2009). She has recently been featured in exhibitions with Halsey McKay Gallery (East Hampton), Safe Gallery (Brooklyn), NADA House (Governor’s Island), The Whitney Museum of Art (New York), Nina Johnson (Miami), M+B (Los Angeles), Redling Fine Art (Los Angeles), Romeo (New York), James Fuentes (New York). Stone’s work has been written about in Art News, Artforum, Artsy, Frieze Magazine, and Hyperallergic. She lives and works in New York.