Trevor Kiernander’s newest solo exhibition is unique to N.D.G.

Kiernander curates his exhibitions so no two are ever alike. Photo by Mackenzie Lad.

“When a collapse opens a new direction”

Trevor Kiernander has studied art his whole life.

“I’ve always been hungry for drawing,” he said when describing his background in painting and drawing. At a young age, Kiernander’s parents picked up on his artistic talent and enrolled him in a specialized fine arts program. Since then, he has dabbled in figurative realism, photography and, now, abstraction.

Each of the artist’s solo exhibitions are specially curated to the gallery space he is showing in. In Free Fall is no different. Exhibited at the Maison de la Culture in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, Kiernander’s paintings are not only hung in such a way as to be read cohesively throughout the room, but also to encourage mixed perceptions. This style is very different from the traditional, horizontal placement of paintings and drawings in art galleries.

The artwork in In Free Fall spreads across the gallery’s walls, taking up space that may be otherwise overlooked. Small panels painted in flat, primary and secondary colours—pieces Kiernander classifies as supplementary to his body of work rather than part of it—hang between larger paintings, creating a dialogue between seemingly unrelated pieces. However, all of the artist’s paintings are related to others. In fact, Kiernander often works on several pieces at the same time. He hangs the paintings side by side in his studio and works across both canvases, often juxtaposing raw canvas and linen. When he encounters a creative block, he’ll take the paintings down and work on others in the meantime.

At times, Kiernander will return to these paintings he took down to find he has finished them—he just didn’t know it yet.

Some pieces began as photographs and have since been abstracted to minimum recognition. Photographing his surroundings is essential to Kiernander’s body of work. The act of taking a photograph captures an image in the artist’s mind, that fades over time and allows him to break away from realism and introduce alien textures and colours.

The artist’s final product has travelled through time and space. Interested in the formal and material aspects of painting, Kiernander flips and rotates his canvases to achieve his desired forms and to unite lines and colours throughout a series.

His underpaintings may not take up the entire canvas, but are crucial to the mapping of the final product.

There is a duality within his paintings. The artist layers coats of oil paint in various degrees of opacity to suggest depth, often overlapping these methods to create a unique image. He is interested by the unpredictability of a watery paint, yet often finds himself painting in controlled, intuitive strokes. Nonetheless, Kiernander enjoys the lack of control he has over these elements. A watery paint will spill and bleed on raw canvas in ways paint straight from a tube would not.

The artist’s paintings are unique to each exhibition. In March, Kiernander will have completed a new batch of work prepared for another solo exhibition at the Outremont Art Gallery. In Free Fall will be at Maison de la Culture in N.D.G. until Oct. 21.

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