Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Graham Hall - Secret Work / Travail Secret


In the course of a conversation we once had about the struggle for creative recognition, Billy Mavreas said to me “... why toil in obscurity, when you can work in secret?”. His clever reversal has stuck in my mind ever since.

This exhibition is a selection of work completed since 2016. Over the last two years or so I have squirrelled myself away in a small studio in Little Italy, and it has felt like working in secret. The building in which I have my studio is not one of those classic hives of creative endeavour, and I have often found myself the only person there. It has been isolating but in a good way. It has allowed me to retreat from the noise of the broader world, to focus on free experimentation and larger scales, and to fail from time to time.

The work on show at Monastiraki is somewhat transitional, moving between my previously exhibited paintings and those which I am currently developing. They are concerned largely with formal elements and principles like colour, shape and harmony, leavened with disruptive moves and veiled passages. There is a mystery to them and sometimes they seem to float. Their titles reflect an abiding interest in history and poetics, and through them, the canvases evoke elusive meaning in the hard reality of now.


Lors d’une conversation que Billy Mavreas et moi avons eu à propos de la difficulté de se faire connaitre dans le milieu des arts visuels, Billy m’a dit : « pourquoi œuvrer dans l’obscurité quand on peut travailler en secret? » Son revirement judicieux m'est depuis resté en tête.

Cette exposition présente une sélection d’œuvres réalisées depuis 2016. Au cours des deux dernières années, je me suis enfermé dans un petit atelier de la Petite Italie, où j’ai fréquemment eu l’impression de travailler en secret. L’immeuble dans lequel est situé mon atelier n’est pas un de ces centres bourdonnant d’activité créatrice, et je me suis souvent retrouvé à y travailler seul. Ça a eu un effet isolant, mais de façon positive. Cela m’a permis de me retirer du bruit du monde et de me concentrer sur l’expérimentation libreles grands formats, et la possibilité d’échouer de temps à autre. 

Le travail présenté à Monastiraki est le résultat d’une période de transition entre des œuvres anciennement exposées et celles que je développe actuellement. Ces tableaux explorent principalement des idées plastiquescomme la couleur, les formes et l’harmonie, égayéesd’actions perturbatrices et de passages voilés. Ils sont mystérieux et ils semblent parfois flotter. Leurs titres reflètent un intérêt constant pour l’histoire et la poésie, et à travers eux les tableaux évoquent un sens insaisissable dans la dure réalité d'aujourd'hui.

Expo runs 4 - 27 april, 2018
Vernissage 6 april , 18 - 21hr

Thursday, March 15, 2018


The Empty Bed by Robert Dayton 
Montreal book launch with performance by 
The Canadian Romantic

Robert Dayton will read excerpts from his brand new pen-and-ink heartbreak book The Empty Bed at the official Montreal launch party on Saturday, March 31st at 4 PM at Monastiraki. 

Plus a special performance of The Canadian Romantic! 

Event is free with books available for your signed pleasure. PLUS LIMITED EDITION T SHIRTS PANTIES ETC!

The Empty Bed is a darkly funny pen-and-ink heartbreak book, a self-pitying lonely odyssey taking place after the end of romantic relationships. It is playful and mystical with many one page jokes of heavy truths in a loose narrative flow. As well, the book includes an interview with the author's Mother on divorce and death, an excerpt from the secret files of ghost-hunter Dr. Fourteen, and The Death Wish Guide To Loss. All of it rendered in quill and brush where words and pictures mingle freely revealing relatable yet unspoken content.

Robert Dayton is an interdisciplinary artist and writer. Comedy? Yes! His art and/or writing have appeared in the books Kid Power (Spectacular Optical), Lost in The Grooves (Routledge), Cinema Sewer (Fab) as well as The Onion, music magazine Roctober, international noise magazine Bananafish, and more. He was the host and interviewer for Hazlitt's National Magazine award winning series Pagelicker. As The Canadian Romantic, he manifests in video, performance, a book (Publication Studios), a doll and even a winking photo! His musical projects include song-and-dance duo Canned Hamm and July Fourth Toilet.

“Writer, artist, cartoonist, singer and performer Robert Dayton bluntly and humorously exposes the nerves and feels of a broken heart.” —Fiona Smyth, cartoonist, artist, and co-author of Sex is a Funny Word

“Robert's work on the stage and studio has always been both side-splittingly hilarious and goddamned distressing; working in the book format he offers up an additional, unexpected outcome — pure beauty!”
— Gregg Turkington, comedian

“The Empty Bed is a one-of-a-kind masterpiece! You can't stop yourself from blitzing through this wonder!”
—Guy Maddin, director of The Forbidden Room and My Winnipeg

“A blackly humorous descent into the depths of self-loathing, which emerges on the other end of ‘the wallows’ with a profound message of acceptance and hope.”—Kier-La Janisse, author, House of Psychotic Women

“I love The Empty Bed, it contains all of the best parts of what Robert does – on top of new heart-wrenching parts that I never knew he did!” —Dan Bejar, musician

“A brilliantly original, painfully hilarious, and surprisingly touching ode to love and loss.”
—Jodi Wille, director of The Source Family

THE EMPTY BED is available for order: