Jean-François Lauda

Opening reception Friday September 7 from to

Untitled, 2018
Acrylic on canvas
76" x 60"

ANGELL GALLERY is pleased to present the first solo exhibition in Toronto by noted Montreal-based painter Jean-François Lauda. The exhibition runs fromSeptember 7 to 29 with an opening reception with the artist on Friday, Sept. 7 from 7:00 - 9:00 p.m.

Becoming an artist was almost a foregone conclusion for Jean-François Lauda, whose father and grandfather were both well-respected artists in Quebec. "I grew up in my father's studio and had long discussions about art with my grandfather," he says. "The artist's life is what I knew."

A sense of 'organized chaos' informs Lauda's own work. The textures and colours walk a fine line between coherence and collapse, with erased and fleeting gestures, juxtapositions, fragmented forms and concealed elements combining to create tension within the paintings. He is less interested in creating images in which one mark logically builds upon another than in combining elements that feel like they aren't meant to go together. The paintings become accumulations of seemingly disparate but cohabitating forms.

Lauda's paintings don't offer themselves up easily, although they do convey the process of their making. Loose canvas threads, staples and other detritus from the studio floor that 'accidentally' adhere to the surface of a work during production become part of the paintings' making. People have told Lauda that his paintings remind them of rough-hewn old walls that have accumulated layers of paint over years or are pocked with the residue of posters, the coarse textures created by mixing sand or chalk into the pigment, or through the use of tools like brooms or squeegees. "My challenge is to create large scale paintings that have the intimacy of small works," Lauda says. "People should feel like they can enter into them."

Earlier this year, Lauda participated in the prestigious Guido Molinari Foundation residency, in which an established Quebec artist invites a younger artist to collaborate on research and a body of work. Lauda was approached by Serge Murphy, who is well-known for his complex sculptural- and installation-based work. ("Serge has a sharp eye, so it was exciting to work with him," he says.)

For Lauda, the opportunity to discover the many under-recognized styles in which Molinari worked reassured him about the experimental approach he's been adopting with his own recent paintings. By opening up his paintings gesturally and leaving some elements to chance, Lauda feels that he is revealing more and concealing less: "I like being surprised by the images," he says. "And, of not always knowing exactly how a painting ends up the way it does."

- Bill Clarke