With energetic brush strokes and intense, anti-naturalistic colour combinations, revealing a deep inspiration from German expressionists and French Fauvists, the Canadian artist André Ethier has the recent years given life to an original portrait gallery – or chamber of horrors – of strange creatures. The distorted, at times almost macabre figures indicate the artists’ interest in a universe taken from horror movies and the zombie also appears frequently in the small, powerful oil paintings on masonite. The living dead is the frontline figure in an unsightly, horrendous ’danse macabre’ in which the inherent wild nature of the individual gets to show through and all masks finally fall.
There is a subversive tendency in the works of Ethier, a wish to cut to the bone and show the modern fairytale – in all its bodily ugliness and without a happy ending. The absurd and paradox-filled nature of the existence is stressed by Ethier through a post-modern ‘power-play’ in which he mixes various elements of art’s and civilization’s history whereby among other things genre- and gender identities are being redefined or dissolved. For instance the cave man is mixed with 1970’s British glamrock musicians, van Gogh’s black birds circle over the ruined castle of Dracula. It is shameless – and outrageously entertaining.
The figures are often placed in undefined spaces lacking perspective which underlines the spiritual vacuum of our time – when the landscape finally appears it is of an unnatural, scenery like nature – with rainbows in the dark of night and mountains rising like huge stomachs with exposed viscera. Like character actors in occult dramas Ethier’s remarkable archetypes succeed – in spite of the hopelessness – to burn through the canvas and be able to draw the contour of a relevant myth of our time. A saga without an explanatory title – and with an open ending.
André Ethier graduated from Concordia University in Montreal (Can) in 2001 and today he lives and works in Toronto, Canada. He is represented by Derek Eller Gallery in New York and Greener Pastures Contemporary Art in Toronto.
LISE BLOMBERG (b. 1971/DK)
MOGADISHNI CPH is proud to present the third solo exhibition in the gallery by Danish artist Lise Blomberg: “Paths in the garden”. The exhibition will feature new paintings and drawings all showing landscape- and garden scenarios populated by humans and hybrids. The plants and flowers are in some cases close studies of nature, in other cases stylized landscapes from photographs. The title of the exhibition “Paths in the garden” can be understood as the journey the human being takes through life or the world itself – and in the works small existential dramas are played out.
Lise Blomberg’s painterly narratives can be found in the potential field situated between dream and reality where the nature-romantic scenery is characterized by the Nordic nature and its flora as a framework for a psychological description of the existence. The both romantic and dreamy figurative language of the works indicates a longing for nature, an escapism, which is being transformed into dreamlike sequences. The motives are characterized by a kind of stylization and a linkage of different painterly “languages” and also the incorporation of “foreign elements” in the form of, for example, “bird-people” who contribute to the disappearance of any sense of safety linked to the recognizable representations. Inspiration from both surrealism and from the world of cinema can clearly be traced in Blomberg’s expression, which is not only playing with collage-like breaches or ‘cross-cuts’ in the pictorial space but also with close-ups and distortions of proportion. In front of the works the viewer is placed in a voyeur-like position allowing an insight into universal emotions, natural states of being, existential conditions and relations – communicated through a psychological narration about the paths in the garden.