Philip Surrey (1910-1990) is one of the most fascinating of urban painters, and his works verge on cinematographic... the movement, the personages, the scenery. It’s all there, on canvas, and yet in full swing, with hats flying and scarves fluttering in the wind, against the backdrop of a city that is at once instantly familiar yet transposed into a different realm by the magic of art. Surrey’s palette recalls Edward Hopper, but while the American artist’s scenes are exquisitely, painfully, static, his are teeming with life energy, with figures in transit, rather than in repose. Windswept streets of Montreal resemble a film set, re-constructed by the artist’s eye into a magical, colourful landscape, instantly familiar but curiously, wonderfully rendered surreal.

The city is painted with a very different brush, literally, by John Little (b.1928) whose main tool is light, which infuses all of his compositions, be it a snow-covered square or Sherbrooke street in spring. His paintings have the feel of classical art, the paint textured, fluid. Little’s eye follows the buildings and sidewalks, reaching up through tree branches and rooftops into the sky. The viewer is instantly taken aboard this pictorial journey, and the modest format of the paintings belies their scope.

The world of Miyuki Tanobe (b.1987) is one of colour and movement, her treatment verging on folk art, and the joy of painting evident in each and every work. She has made her name painting Montreal, and her oeuvre is at once a visual representation - artistic license notwithstanding - and a social commentary. Her vibrant paintings depict teeming street fairs and garage sales, holiday parades and mural inaugurations, but also the city waking up to spring or bursting with foliage at the height of summer.

Some of the works are for sale, but most come from private collections, making this a unique opportunity to see these three terrific, versatile artists in one space.

 
Surrey, Little, Tanobe: Montreal Streets
1490 Sherbrooke West
Montreal, QC
514.939.0500
www.galerievalentin.com(lien externe)
April 26, 2014 to May 10, 2014

 
Image
Philip Surrey
Passage pour piétons à Westmount, QC, 1949
Oil on canvas
50,8 x 60,96 cm
Private Collection

 

Image
John Little
Poet’s Corner, 2005 (Coin St-Dominique et Vallières)
Oil on canvas
30,48 x 45,72 cm
Private Collection

 

Image
Miyuki Tanobe
Le paradis de la ruelle verte, 2013 (Rue Demers, le Plateau)
Nihonga on panel
50,8 x 60,96 cm
Private Collection