Steve Mennie

 

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steve mennie jen dyck collages

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the drawers headbones gallery contemporary drawing sculpture and works on paper steve mennie handliness may 11 june 22 2013 headbones gallery

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artist catalog steve mennie handliness copyright © 2013 headbones gallery this catalog was created for the exhibition of jen dyck and steve mennie at headbones gallery vernon bc canada may 11 june 22 2013 artwork copyright © 2003 2013 steve mennie mennie s many flips commentary by julie oakes copyright © 2013 julie oakes rich fog micro publishing printed in vernon 2013 layout and design richard fogarty printed on the ricoh spc 811dn all rights reserved no part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic or mechanical including photocopying and recording or by any information storage or retrieval system except as may be expressly permitted by the 1976 copyright act or in writing from headbones gallery requests for permission to use these images should be addressed in writing to steve mennie c/o headbones gallery www.headbonesgallery.com front cover papered over 2012 mixed media on canvas 48x36 inches back cover foreground with background 2012 acrylic on wood panel 24x18 inches isbn 978-1-926605-63-0 rich fog micro publishing vernon canada

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steve mennie handliness commentary by julie oakes

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steve mennie exhibition at headbones gallery 2013

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steve mennie mennie s many flips steve mennie is walking the walk these days he had kept apace with the large format highway signs that showed at headbones gallery in 1995 also incorporating video and an installation format hanging utilising real highway signs these followed on landscapes that picture urban subject matter like an expanse of parking lot or street lights with crows circling before this mennie had produced a series of pointillist silk screens where he had managed to breakdown physical substances into layers of colour so that although they were screened colour by colour the end result was a near super realism mennie has been walking-thewalk for a while mennie has tended to work in series concentrating on a field of study and then expanding upon it and each time he does so he is in for the commitment he doesn t beat the horse he schools the horse so that it works to perfection there is a blending together of opposites like one who thrives in the big city yet appreciates the country his work is both urbane and back-to-the land he stays in touch with the medium he disguises paint and places it in the service of illusion when he wants realism he works paint through scraping dabbing brushing and what-ever-it-needs to grant dimension and colour spectacles the precision of the hard edge work on the shaped canvases of the highway signs or the abstract hard edge of sightlines is as contemporary as it gets both for pure pop message and also for impact he s a master print maker he draws with a da vinci confidence like gerhard richter he seems able to master the nuances of a technique and then dance with aplomb leading in the

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steve mennie exhibition at headbones gallery 1995 latest body of work he marries realism and abstraction the resulting offspring is a new breed because he has produced significant bodies of adept work in both areas the strain from each is strong so that the metaphor of a marriage where each partner has a complimentary voice is apt when mennie brings abstraction and realism together they make music ­ it s a love affair where each style becomes more than in the individual states hand jobs the new realistic series grants the wealth of a deft hand from a gifted artist and lays his fine draftsmanship out for examination by blowing it up to larger than life scale the hands are involved with tasks in some and in others seem to be erotic fixtures rather than doing hands by choosing to focus in on the body part the sense of the depiction becomes peculiar as if endowed through the intense inspection with an elevated status size monumentalises the subject both hand and foot and handliness read curiously for the expanded size deconstructs an accustomed notion of the body parts the originality of shape and form overtake the meaning so that a headier immediate visual impact can be perceived mennie has an able hand and hand jobs is a testament to his own hand the abstracts do the opposite they are primarily modest in size although they usually have no border so they could have extended outwards in any direction there is a temptation ­ evidently for it is oft indulged in contemporary art ­ when working with the abstract to use a great dimension to entice and overwhelm mennie encourages a more intimate confrontation in circumstantial

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evidence he goes even further and presents a grid of miniature paintings each a world unto itself engaging a window onto a unique non-objective space there is an obsessive bent to mennie s art work veering between finely crafted figurative work and painterly psychological abstracts each piece is both created and conceived a product of nature and nurture then just as he could rest safely within his virtuosity mennie whirls like a dervish about face and the next painting is a convoluted abstract that weaves in upon itself in multiple layers of colour figurative work and abstraction are two ends of the line and attempts to meld the two could with less insight appear noncommittal but not in a mennie when the two styles are used within the same frame as in papered over the painting of a giant hand rolling an abstract pattern onto a wall the balance is as exciting as witnessing a tightrope walker negotiate the high wire mennie s visual acrobatics overcome the desire to understand process as he overwhelms any disbelief with a brilliant slight of hand julie oakes 2013 hand and foot 2012 charcoal on canvas 30x40 inches

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handliness 2013 pastel on canvas 40x30 inches

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potluck 2013 collage on panel 16x16 inches

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mixed message 2013 mixed media on panel 20x16 inches

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transubstantiation 2013 mixed media on panel 24x18 inches

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