The Royal Art Lodge, Untitled, 2004, paint on board, 15 x 15cm, 6 x 6in. approx.
Pride in Workmanship
11 February - 20 March 2004
Houldsworth Gallery is proud to present the first UK exhibition of new paintings and drawings by the Winnipeg artist collective The Royal Art Lodge. Currently comprising internationally acclaimed artists Marcel Dzama, Michael Dumontier and Neil Farber the collective convenes to create collaborative works which appear as mysterious as intimate jokes whispered amongst friends and as familiar as the advertisements, book illustrations and comics of our childhood. Playfulness flows through the work, as a social and creative process; however, this does not detract from its power, tragedy and beauty. A style, immersed in a comic tradition, emerges which is particular and yet, through its multilayered voices, defies simple categorisation.
Distinctive from the collaborative approach of the Royal Art Lodge's drawings their new paintings operate as hybrid forms of a collective psyche. Still dominated by poignant figures, both human and animal, the Lodge's paintings pull the individual artists away from their own persona towards a collective place that takes on an aesthetic of its own. In this place the ego, represented by the artists own signature, is replaced by The Royal Art Lodges generic symbolic mark of the date stamp. Subtle incongruities, such as the rupturing and bubbling of surface versus a benign subject matter, highlight the artistic contradictions that the Winnipeg collective have always embraced. Each small canvas offers a vignette of poetic absurdity, underpinned with the logic of a distinctive humour and outlook. What is achieved is a pure moment of artistic freethinking, using dichotomous relationships, such as play and violence, detail and abstraction, to create a narrative that mimics the ludicrous texture of real life.
Welcome to a world of improvisation and innovation, anthropomorphised frogs, cats and dogs, horror and heartbreak, trauma and laughter; come join The Lodge.
The Royal Art Lodge's solo show Ask the Dust , curated by Wayne Baewaldt and Joseph Wolin, toured in 2003 to The Drawing Center , New York; The Power Plant, Toronto; De Vleesha and De Kabinetten van De Vleeshall , Middelburg, The Netherlands; Plug In ICA , Winnipeg; Seoul Museum of Art, Seoul , South Korea; Elaine L. Jacob Gallery; Wayne State University Detroit, Michigan and The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. A book on The Royal Art Lodge, The Royal Art Lodge; dictionary of received ideas, was produced in conjunction with the show. Marcel Dzama is currently showing at David Zwirner gallery , New York until January 24 2004.