Sunday, April 13, 2014

INTERVIEW Graham Hall



Is an artist based in Montreal.
'2013' will be showing at Monastiraki from April 3-27. 

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On 3 April, 2014, the year 2013 is revisited by a crowd of people relishing one of the first days of spring in Montreal. The window is full of fresh flowers in dialogue with a 5-foot-tall, 3-dimensional pyramid characterized by bold colors contained in a geometric style. The works on the wall are highly mathematical and controlled, but the order lends a sense of calm instead of restriction. Inviting its viewer to think about the past in its relationship to history, the present, and the future, Graham Hall’s work succeeds as both retrospect and potentiality. Once the crowd thinned out nearing the end of the night, I had the chance to talk with Graham about his work, steamies vs toasties, and Muddy Waters.

Just to open it up, tell us a bit about the body of work – any inspiration, challenges, etc?
Initially this work was inspired by a couple of postcards that I dug out of my files, which I had initially bought many years ago in Venice, which depicted some of the floor pavements in the Basilica St. Marco, attributed to Paolo Uccello – the Great Renaissance Master. I wanted to see if I could reproduce them in some kind of way. I liked the 3-D effects in them and I was attracted to trying to be very, very precise in the making of the work. It was kind of a personal challenge, I guess, to see if I could do it and see where I could take it after I theoretically would be able to do it. Because it’s very, very math-based, lots of geometry, and I’ve always been terrified of mathematics (laughter).

Do you think that there’s a specific time and place in the artist’s life when a personal challenge is necessary?
For me, it’s something that comes up constantly, but without realizing that I’m setting it up. I’ve produced several bodies of work over the years, that were very interesting to me initially, just to do, to make something that would hopefully be beautiful in the end, but that then required (as the series went on) a really serious amount of heavy work. A really, really tight, labor-intensive process. And I guess the reason that I follow through with it is because I either know that the end result will be great, because of the first couple of attempts, or I’m looking forward to what the result will be, which is an unknown. If I do this, and this and this and this, eventually I will come to an end and then I’ll have this thing, if all goes well (laughter).

Even if the end isn’t necessarily ideal, the piece still exists.
To me it matters that you get to that point. The work will often start in a very expressive way, and usually very, very quickly it turns into that labor-intensive process that has in its sights, in the end, the creation of a piece that I want to look at.

Why are there flowers in the window tonight?
Another inspiration for this body of work was the reading of Umberto Eco’s On Beauty, so I became interested in beauty and ideas of beauty. And flowers, I think it’s pretty generally agreed, are beautiful things, so that’s one aspect of flowers in the window. I had conceived of the idea of having an abundance of flowers in the window prior to the passing of my former professor, Maestro Peter Porcal, and since his passing, it sort of turned into this idea of not just celebrating spring and having joy in the beauty of flowers, but also, kind of a tribute to this great man who influenced me in so many ways.

What is your favorite Montreal food joint when you’re drunk?
Usually at home (laughter). But on the rare occasion that I am out on the town, getting shit-faced, very rare occasion, Chez Claudette is a hop, skip and a jump away from where I live, so I guess if I were to choose something, it would be something that is close to home, so that I can then stumble up the stairs with a belly full of poutine.

Toastie or Steamie?
Steamie.

Best new book you’ve read?
I’ve not quite finished it, but, I have been reading, very slowly, Sheila Heti’s How Should a Person Be?. Which is amazing. Sheila, I knew, not very well – friends of friends – back when I lived in Toronto. In fact, back then, she was the first person whom I didn’t know very well, who told me that they really enjoyed my artwork. So I felt it important to read one of her books. The funny thing is, I know a few people in the book (laughter). Not well, but I definitely know some of them, and I certainly know many of the places. It feels very familiar, and especially the situations that she’s writing about, for me, over the past couple of months, I very much identify with.

What music are you listening to?
Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of electric blues. I recently bought Muddy Waters’ 1968 electric album called Electric Mud, which is really awesome. It’s pretty clear that they’re just jamming away. There’s a really out-of-tune clarinet solo in one of the songs, which is a little bit off-putting, but most of it is this really great bluesy – well, not just bluesy – but full on Muddy Waters blues, fuzzed-out porno funk; it’s pretty awesome. I’m liking that. I’m liking Them with Van Morrison, and early Rolling Stones, and Yardbirds. And I always go back to Stooges, MC5.

What’s going on with the Malaysia flight? What does it mean for contemporary thought?
Well, it means that we’re reminded once again that we’re at the mercy of the universe. We like to think because we’ve got iPhones and all that shit, that we’re in control but obviously we’re not. I worry that it feeds into Bermuda Triangle garbage thinking, but a year or two from now they’ll find something just like the Air France flight that crashed off Brazil a couple years ago. It’s a tragedy, and it’s too bad that we immediately think, (gasp), “Oh, is it terrorism?” But tragedies happen, and random shit fuckin’ happens, you know? And that’s life. I know that very well (laughter).

Any closing remarks; something that has been running through your head recently?
Something that went through my mind last week – I was thinking about the fact that all this work in the show is from the previous year: what does that mean? And I thought, well, I think about history a lot. I thought, looking towards the past, is ultimately, a wish for hope in the future. And a search, or yearning for Romance in the present. 

Interview conducted by Tara Slaughter

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Graham Hall - 2013

Graham Hall  2013

rivers, mountains, martyrs
salt mine, sanctuary, visions
new sacrifice, vestal experiences, satanic adversary
everything, big things, small things
fantasy, power and zero

(all of the work in this exhibition was either completed or begun in 2013)


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Graham Hall  2013

rivières, montagnes, martyres
mine de sel, sanctuaire, visions
nouveau sacrifice, expériences vestales, adversaire satanique
toute chose, grandes choses, petites choses
fantaisie, pouvoir et zéro.

(Toutes les œuvres d’art de cette exposition ont été soit complétées, soit commencées en 2013)


Saturday, March 22, 2014

From The Archives - Pedagogical Literature

We manage to collect kids school books of various kinds and conditions.
If a book is in no shape to sell but is festooned with character, it is kept in the archives.
If a book is pristine but so awesome it couldn't possibly be let go, it is kept in the archives.
Here is an example of each.




The first book we'll look at is Magic Letters, a psychedelic romp through diverse style changes, watercolour, paper cut-out, clay illustration, etc.


Check out some of these spreads -


On a radically different note, Let's Learn To Spell is a staid grammar book, replete with exercises on constructing sentences and all that. Why we feature it here is for the arcane quality of it's symbols and the obvious connection between spelling words and casting spells (magic letters!). Also, some kid went to town on it and learned to spell.




This is a small fragment of our collection. Stay tuned for more thematic uploads.

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Todd Stewart - Printwork





















We are thrilled to have the gorgeous silkscreened prints of Todd Stewart aka bree,ree framed and on our walls for the month of March.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Zine Launch / SHUSHANNA BIKINI LONDON #7


























Dimanche 2 mars, lancement du nouveau fanzine Shushanna Bikini London, histoire numéro 7, Chère Marie.

Rendez-vous de 14h à 16h dans la superbe boutique-galerie Monastiraki - Le Petit Monastère pour découvrir le nouveau zine, les merveilles de la boutique, boire un verre en bonne compagnie et peut-être gagner des petites surprises inédites !

Venez nombreux !

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Nuit Blanche 2014 5TH ANNUAL COLLAGE PARTY


Join us for our fifth annual collage party !! Grab a chair and destroy our vintage magazines making beautiful new collages in the process. This is a chill evening where the sweet sound of snipping is louder than the beats in the background.

Free
8pm - Midnight

Joignez-vous à notre 5e fête annuelle du collage ! Prenez-vous une chaise, coupez, collez, déconstruisez, imaginez et réinventez à votre guise. Profitez de l’occasion pour faire de nouvelles rencontres et prenez plaisir à assembler des trésors artistiques qui font de Monastiraki une boutique si unique !

Gratuit
20 h à minuit

http://www.montrealenlumiere.com/nuit-blanche/




Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Concordia SPA (Student Print Association) @ Monastiraki

Concordia University has a student print association and the fine folks there are mounting a mid-term exhibition on our walls the week of Feb. 12 to Feb 16, 2014.
Opening party the evening of Feb. 12.
We're very excited to support the next generation of local print artists.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

VACANCES EN JANVIER / JANUARY VACATION

The shop will be closed from January 11th -January 31st

La boutique sera fermée du 11 janvier - 31 janvier


















see you in february !!