Paul Collins

Paul Collins

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Recent Exhibition: Marginalia

View list of images here Review

Marginalia are marks made in the margins of a book or other document. They may be scribbles, comments, glosses, critiques, doodles, or illuminations.

In looking at Paul Collins’ recent paintings one is immediately aware of their relationship to the ongoing history of abstract painting. And yet, as Canadian media theorist Marshall McLuhan famously wrote in Understanding Media, a “fact characteristic of all media, is that the “content” of any medium is always another medium.” This could very much apply to Collins’ work, whose “content” has largely, if not exclusively, been the printed page. His paintings have either taken printed motifs as their subject – as in his previous show, Phase, at General Hardware – where the work referenced book pages as they are depicted in classical painting, or they have been actually printed directly onto the primed canvas.

In this current series of pictures, Marginalia, paint is repeatedly pushed through layers of fly-screen mesh. The resulting overlapping grids create interference patterns called moirés, which are harmonic wave patterns that occur when two grids are superimposed.

The “marginalia” referred to in the series’ title are produced by using another printing method: rubber stamps. The found rubber-stamped images of often humorous illustrations function as a commentary on the actual painting and on the process of making and looking at painting. The stamps also act as a foil to these non-objective abstractions, much as marginalia on a printed document interrupt and extend the reading of that document. Here, they could also act as representations of our incidental thoughts as we are confronted with such abstract stimuli as a painting, a piece of music, a poem, or another person.

Paul Collins is a Canadian artist based in Paris. He studied Fine Arts at York University and at the New School of Art. In Toronto, Collins has exhibited his paintings and photographs at A Space, YYZ, Mercer Union, Museum of Contemporary Art and Art Gallery of Ontario. Since living in Paris, Collins has exhibited and performed at the Cartier Foundation, CREDAC, Le Musée des Beaux-arts de Mulhouse, L’Artothèque de Caen, La galerie Bernard Jordan, L’Impasse, La Générale, Treize, Palais de Tokyo, as well as at the Paris Philharmonia, as a member of the Glenn Branca Orchestra. He teaches painting, printmaking and experimental music at the Ecole Supérieure d’arts et médias, Caen/Cherbourg.

Collins’ work is represented in various international collections: Canada House (England), Museum of Modern Art (Australia), McMaster Museum of Art (Hamilton), Foreign Affairs (Ottawa), TD Art Collection, BMO Art Collection and in France at Fond National d’Art Contemporain, Collection Ana D., Artothèque du Limousin, Artothèque de Caen, Artothèque de Belfort, Centre National de l’Estampe et de l’Art Imprimé, Musée de la Fédération Française de Tenni and Bibliothèque Nationale de France.

His most recent artist book is  VENT:  Photographs 1977 – 2017
Music : review by Sunny Kim


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