A recent example would be Into the Wild, a 1996 book by Jon Krakauer documenting the ill-fated wilderness quest by Christopher McCandless, who died of starvation in Alaska after surviving more than 100 days. The rusting bus in which he sought refuge is the site of pilgrimage to this day, and the book was made into a film in 2007, directed by Sean Penn. But long before the story of McCandless grabbed the headlines, another man sought to immerse himself in nature, documenting his experience in a seminal book Walden (first published as Walden; or, Life in the Woods). Henry David Thoreau (1817 –1862) was an American author, poet, philosopher, tax resister, abolitionist, leading transcendentalist... the list is long. Published in 1854, it opens with: "I do not propose to write an ode to dejection, but to brag as lustily as chanticleer in the morning, standing on his roost, if only to wake my neighbors up." That he has done, and now his book, which John Burroughs called "the most delicious piece of brag in literature" has become the source of inspiration for Canadian artist Sean Montgomery and his solo exhibition at Galerie Laroche/Joncas titled Wilder Walden. Imagining himself in the wood shack that Thoreau built, the Alberta-born artist attempts to illustrate this experiment in self-reliance and survival in acrylic on canvas paintings that seem excised from the natural setting as much as from inward reflection. Personal introspection, the key to Thoreau's endeavour, combined with visual experimentation, is at the root of this exhibition, and Montgomery's paintings give justice to both.

 
SEAN MONTGOMERY
Wilder Walden

18 January - 1 March 2014

Galerie Laroche/Joncas
410-372 Ste-Catherine Ouest
Montréal, Qc
T.514-570-9130
www.larochejoncas.com(lien externe)

 

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Black Cabin

 
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Lone Star

 
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Night Bark

 
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Spring Thaw