Inkjet print on Hahnemühle fine art photo rag
Edition of 5
Dimensions: 76cm (H) x 61cm (W) / 29.9" (H) x 24" (W)
Note: Actual colours may vary due to photography & computer settings.
In his photographic process, Monteith begins by layering one hundred identical photographs together, one hundred sequential moments photographed over a particular time span, each layer reduced in opacity to virtual invisibility. In building these composites, a single image emerges, while a surplus of data composed of the sum of its layers is digitally stored within each file. Monteith considers these composite photographs as documents in a process of becoming, rather than as image-objects whose meaning is fixed by their content. His digitalized layering process renders each "original" photograph, each layer, auratic. When compressed, these large digital filesshed information. This act of discard, which parallels everyday forgetting, is consciously and subconsciously carried out by each of us. "Remembering," as stated by Freud, "is an act that always belongs in the present, and is always accompanied by an act of forgetting, and forgetting is a form of hiding memory." What we remember or forget about a place, a relationship, or an event is dependent upon the conditions of our socialization, our biology, our education, our politics, and our nature. Personal memories structure our reality, and individual and collective narratives structure the personal, political, local, national, and global.
Corresponding to the interiors represented in his photographs, Monteith created responsive drawings, reductive expressions of his spatial subjectivity added as a final layer to the image document. Introduced within the photographic picture plane, these drawings construct an experience that embodies a way of looking simultaneously at two different kinds of visual and intellectual organization. On the surface of the photograph, a condition of exchange is created that actively flips between two-dimensionality and three-dimensionality. As the eye moves over the surface of each photograph, certain geographies repel while others draw one's view in and around.
These represented spaces, despite their emptiness, are lived spaces, sites of spatial and social narratives. Frequented by stories that took place over the course of time, they bear traces of the past and are travelled through, not only physically and subjectivity, but imaginatively.
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Based in: Canada
Canadian multi-disciplinary artist John Monteith works across photography, video, sculpture, drawing, painting, textiles, performance, collaboration, and curatorial initiatives, encompassing an interdisciplinary approach in his practice. Across these media and throughout his career he has developed a familiar aesthetic with rigorous conceptual underpinnings employing processes that include layering, distorting, cropping, rearranging, flattening, and reducing. Taken as a whole, Monteith's art practice considers new ways of understanding our urban fabric as a constantly evolving lived space, one which continues to shape our collective imagination.
Born in Newmarket, Ontario he studied at the Ontario College of Art and Design before receiving an MFA from Parsons the New School for Design, New York, in 2008. He has exhibited internationally at the Tate Modern, London, the 7th Beijing Biennale, Beijing, the Schinkel Pavilon, Berlin, the Taipei Contemporary Art Center, Taipei, X Initiative, New York, the DUMBO Art Center, New York, and Sàn Art, Ho Chi Minh City. Monteith has held residencies at CAT Cologne, Germany (2011), Kunsthalle Roveredo, Switzerland (2014) and I Project Space, Beijing (2018).
Reviews and essays dedicated to his work have been included in Mousse Magazine, Canadian Art, Art in America (print and online), Charley, C Magazine, October, The Huffington Post, K-48, The New Yorker, www.disorientations.com, and others.
Monteith has been awarded grants from The Canada Council for the Arts, The Ontario Arts Council, and The Toronto Arts Council. He currently lives and works in Toronto where he is a member of the University of Toronto, John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design.
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