Melissa Doherty Survey / Tour d'horizon

2010-10-07, from Musée des beaux-arts de Sherbrooke

Beginning on Saturday 9 October, the Musée des Beaux-arts de Sherbrooke presents until 16 January 2011, Melissa Doherty’s Survey. The vernissage will take place on Saturday 23 October, at 5:00 p.m., in the presence of the artist.

 

The exhibition: Melissa Doherty’s works challenge the way we perceive landscapes. Instead of looking out at deep, frontier space, largely found in the grand tradition of landscape painting, her paintings look down at very shallow spaces. The aerial view reflects a notion of landscape where we are above it, increasingly unconnected and distanced from it, changing and rearranging what we see. Her landscapes are designed and manipulated like an architectural model and are often seen as still-lives where the viewer is absorbed into the scene or the nature depicted. Melissa Doherty is an artist who trades in images of exceptional beauty and verisimilitude. Her paintings of grand trees and dense woodlots bear the unmistakable influence of a romantic tradition of landscape painting, and yet one might argue that photography, particularly recent developments in digital imaging, have had a more critical influence on Doherty’s recent practice. That influence is revealed in the path Doherty takes to arrive at the compositions for her paintings. In her search for subjects that are at once vague and desirable, Doherty mines online image inventories and supplements them with her own photographs. The resulting work drifts between a lived experience of her surrounding landscape, once‑removed by photographic record, and the seductive anonymity which she observes through aerial imagery collected with the aid of Google Earth. The discrepancy between a sensory‑based subjective experience of landscape and the surveillance‑based absolute cartography afforded by digital technologies is at the crux of Doherty’s work. And not surprisingly, it is also the allure of her paintings. Their unusual combination of realism and impressionability exacts a subtle power over their viewers. Using a variety of strategies such as shifts in scale, vignette compositions and occasional abstraction, her painted woods seem mysterious and ultimately elusive. Their beauty and their anonymity is also their power. That anonymity-that intentional “nowhere” that is also an “anywhere”-is what keeps us returning to them, expecting that one day they will let us inside.

 

Biographical notes: Melissa Doherty graduated with an Honours Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Waterloo. She was on the shortlist of 16 artists in 2002 at the RBC New Canadian Painting Competition. A recipient of grants from the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Ontario Arts Council, her works have been included in exhibitions at Queen’s Park, the University of Toronto, Art Chicago, Scope Miami, and Arte Contemporaneo, Mexico City. Melissa is a former member of the Red Head Collective, Toronto. Her work is represented in many private and public collections in Canada and the U.S., including the Progressive Art Collection, U.S., the Royal Bank of Canada and the University of Toronto. Melissa was born in Chatham, Ontario and is based in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario. The artist wishes to acknowledge the support of the Ontario Council of the Arts.

 


Source:

Lise Boyer
Communications
Phone: 819 821-2115
lboyer@mbas.qc.ca
www.mbas.qc.ca


 
 

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