NEW YORK, NY.- Sargents Daughters
is currently presenting Benthic Ravers, the New York City debut exhibition of Montreal-based artist Laurence Pilon. Referring to the bottom of the ocean (or any other body of water), the term Benthic conjures images of shifting sediments and vast abyssal plains. This environment, where only faint rays of sunlight filter down to the depths, is populated by highly-specialized species of invertebrates, crustaceans, and fish. Pilon takes this alien landscape as their point of inspiration for a sweeping new body of abstract oil-on-canvas works, immersing viewers in the murky waters.
Pilons works are produced through an extended process of building up many layers of oil paint to create eroded, topographical compositions. The resulting abstractions dissolve any legible boundary between figure and ground, as amorphous forms blurr into one another. What appear to be subtle variations in surface color and texture resolve into psychedelic swirls when viewed from a distance. The cool grey-blues and green-browns of the ocean are present, but so are bolder shades of burnt umber, lime green, and pink. Pilons canvases might evoke the way sunlight refracts on the waters surface, a branching coral, the skin of an iridescent fish, a vast underwater landscape or simply an improvisational sensory impression.
For Pilon, the ocean, and the benthic zone in particular, is a site of profound enmeshment. Marine life, geology, and human action are all bound together in the gradual acidification and warming of the planets water systems. As this process has significant consequences for all life on Earth, it is a useful schema for understanding the interconnectedness of humans, animals, plants, and minerals in their various feedback loops. Though the benthic zone may appear totally alien, we impact and are impacted by what happens there. Understanding this allows for radical empathy with other life forms and environments, and has implications for how we might relate to other humans, whose lifeways or bodies seem unlike ones own.
Laurence Pilon (b. 1990) is an artist based in Tiohtià:ke-Mooniyang (Montreal). They hold an MFA from the University of Guelph (2021), Ontario, CA and a BFA from Concordia University, Montreal, CA with Great Distinction (2015). Throughout their academic background, they received several awards including the Joseph-Armand-Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship (SSHRC, University of Guelph) and the Betty Goodwin Prize in Studio Arts (Concordia University), and their current program of work is supported by the Canada Council for the Arts. Their most recent solo exhibitions include A Scape Unnamed (Galerie Nicolas Robert, 2021), More-than-ghosts (Thesis exhibition, University of Guelph, 2021) and It Once Was a Garden (Galerie McClure, 2018).
Laurence Pilon: Benthic Ravers
July 13th, 2023 - August 18th, 2023