Luis De Jesus Los Angeles is very pleased to announce Nicolas Grenier: Eyes Adjusting Slowly, the artist’s third solo exhibition with the gallery. The exhibition will be on view from November 13 through December 22, 2021.
We are familiar with the pressing questions of today: climate change, socio-economic and racial inequity, information echo chambers and political polarization, the development of transformative AI technologies by unscrupulous corporations and rogue actors, and even more pressing, our growing inability to govern ourselves in an era of such global challenges. This context is not the subject per se but rather the backdrop for Grenier’s new body of work, whose main subject and focus is how we navigate such difficult questions.
Eyes Adjusting Slowly is comprised of a new series of paintings presented in a site-specific installation. From one work to the next, the paintings propose different means for addressing these issues, ranging from informal manifesto to experimental economics to ideological inquiries, placing the viewer in a discursive visual space that hovers between the didactic and the lyrical. The paintings combine hard edge graphics with vaporous gradients, diagrammatic schema and symbols, landscapes, and color fields. They convey speculative visions for the future while also referencing art history.
Grenier creates an unlikely balance between content and form by combining the old-fashioned qualities of oil painting — slowness, sensuality, richness — with a pictorial language inspired by design, datavisualization, architecture, and other organizational disciplines that form the infrastructure of the largescale information systems governing our neoliberal society.
The labyrinth-like installation unfolds as a series of pathways and color-filled rooms. In this environment, paintings cannot be seen all together in one sweeping glance as may occur in a traditional white cube setting but are instead discovered by moving through the spaces. This fragmentation of the gallery into varying sizes, colors and shapes mirrors the overarching theme of the exhibition, as if casual discussions about the current state of the world and how to move forward were spatialized into a tentative architecture, with openings, vistas and pockets of dense content here and there. The installation creates a space for meditative contemplation where individual works earnestly propose a subject for discussion and unfold in painting time, not digital time.
A questionnaire completes the new body of work and includes the viewers as active participants in the exhibition by positioning them in relation to the same existential issues that are addressed in Grenier’s work. Taking or declaring a position involves choosing this over that, which is to say, it implies a form of measurement and deliberation. A quantitative framework, however, is often inadequate to ponder qualitative notions such as morality or progress. By playing with the possibilities and limitations of the questionnaire format, Grenier’ goal is to concretize, however modestly, the structure within which we consider these existential questions.
Nicolas Grenier (b. 1982, Montréal, Canada) received his MFA from California Institute of the Arts in 2010 and BFA from Concordia University in 2004. He has presented solo exhibitions at The Luminary, St. Louis, MO (2016); and Centre CLARK, Montreal (2017), and has participated in group exhibitions at the Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art (2021); The Musée Nationale des Beaux-Arts du Québec (2018- 2020); The Power Plant, Toronto (2018); the Brugges Triennale of Art and Architecture (Belgium, 2015); and the Montreal Biennale (2014). Grenier was a fellow at ZK/U, Center for Arts and Urbanistics, Berlin (2020), and an international resident at NAVEL, Los Angeles (2018-2020). He was awarded residencies at the Banff Center, Canada (2019); Fundación Botín, Santander, Spain (2017); Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, ME (2016); and the Luminary, St. Louis, MO (2016).
In 2019, Grenier was a finalist for the Sobey Art Award, Canada’s top prize for artists under 40 years old. He received the Pierre-Ayot Award (2016) from the City of Montréal, and grants from the Canada Arts Council and the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec (2010-2021). His work is included in the collections of the Musée Nationale des Beaux-Arts du Québec; the Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art; Concordia University; Caisse de Dépôt du Québec; the City of Montreal; the Royal Bank of Canada, the National Bank of Canada, as well as numerous private and corporate collections. Grenier lives and works in Montréal and Los Angeles.