Introduction by Joe Becker
Throughout the entire duration of what was a long hot summer here in Montreal, I had the unique position of being one of only a handful of people granted access to Aidan Pontarini’s studio to witness the evolution of drawings and paintings that will be exhibited as Hairy Larry Harakiri. Each time I visited Aidan for our bi weekly pho lunches I was always stunned with the amount of work he had created since I last visited and also how great his work was getting. Two years ago I walked into the VAV gallery – a student run gallery at Concordia that showcases the work of undergrads. At the time I was in my first year in the MFA program. Normally, us self-absorbed, snobby MFA artists never bother to look into the undergrad gallery unless it’s for a chuckle, but then here was this little shit who was blowing us all away. Aidan and I bonded quickly over our shared love of artists Paul McCarthy, Jakub Julian Zilolkowski and Neo Rauch. Nowadays Aidan no longer makes great student paintings; he now makes great paintings that can compete in a global arena. The newer work is a departure from the cleaner children’s coloring book from hell paintings he made during his time at Concordia. Gone is the bizarre French Canadian artists’ obsession with using masking tape to produce crisp painted hard-edged lines—known in Quebec as “ard edge”—that Aidan would use to create interior walls or perspective lines. Instead the new work remains in a state of development hell. Some areas resolved, some left purposefully unfinished allowing the paint to remain lush, seductive and delicious. Which is not an easy feat when you paint worms, rotting still lifes, gaping wounds or bones popping out of limbs. The sky is the limit for Aidan, to see how far he has come in two short years is truly inspiring. I guarantee this will be the gutsiest show you will see this year in Montreal, both literally and figuratively. See some work from the show below!
Hairy Larry Harakiri opens November 8th until November 20th
Curated by Réal Lussier
Galerie Lilian Rodriguez
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