Monday, June 28, 2010

New Painting: A.B. Demolition

A.B. Demolition 2010, 5.5 X 8" acrylic on illustration board.

My third Montreal painting, A.B. Demolition is part of a trio of derelict buildings on Rue Mont-Royal in our old neighbourhood of the east Plateau. A building so forlorn that even its demolition has faltered.

I didn’t think of the inherent irony in the upside-down ‘Demolition’ sign until I’d finished the painting. In the nineteen-eighties my ex-wife and I used to joke that everything I painted ended up getting knocked down or unsympathetically renovated within weeks of the completion of a painting or drawing.

It seemed uncanny, whether a service station, house or bridge, I had a knack for unconsciously spotting something on the verge of a major transition: a white porceline-enamel skinned Texaco station just before a dumpster heralds its final days; a bungalow which soon finds itself overwhelmed by a cancerous looking addition.

It’s something for which I still have a feeling. I inevitably photograph and paint things which have achieved a certain amount of invisibility in their neighbourhoods. When something becomes so out of step with its surroundings, it will either find itself being revered or destroyed. Sometimes both in quick succession. Incidentally, we do this as well to people who dare to be out of step with the parameters we’ve set for ‘normal’.

No one likes to see the ravages of time these places represent. Nor can we face it in ourselves. We like to move on, renovate and rebuild, not acknowledging our own inevitable decline. Subconsciously thinking that if we do not stay on top of the decay, we’ll soon be overtaken.

The subjects for my paintings are the least likely to be revered. Most will be destroyed in one way or another. They are the architectural wallflowers of the city, representing the unforgiving nature of time. Existing in silence and in their passing unmourned.