Laurel Gitlen is pleased to present Joseph Montgomery’s first solo show in New York, Lie lay lain; Lay laid laid. The exhibition opens May 14 and continues through July 1, 2010.
Joseph Montgomery’s paintings incorporate bits of wood, concrete, clay and wire into small, considered formal compositions. Each painting is worked on for an extended period of time, creating a material lexicon that records the act of painting and accumulates evidence of a painting’s evolution. His surfaces are heavily worked, and their lumpy and textured pigments both accentuate and sabotage pictorial cohesion, sometimes resulting in sculptural objects that complicate the flatness of painting.
The title of the exhibition posits a pun and a metaphor: referring to both meanings of the word “lie” in the act of painting (to collage and to be duplicitous) and poeticizing malapropism as an allegory for painting. Montgomery’s works are both earnest paintings and fabrications of painting. There are paintings within, and on top of paintings; the work of making conceals and obscures typical painterly intent. Montgomery seems to pursue the point in time where the additions of a painters practice coalesce into an image. His process invariably creates a relief, the shadow of which is both a physical effect and a sign for painting — an insubstantial image that cannot be captured reliably.
The moment when an artist becomes satisfied with an image (its completion) is a private discretion that becomes central in parsing the grammar of the work. The titles of the paintings (the works are numbered, an abstract index) announce the order in which they have arrived at this point. Seemingly arbitrary, these numbers also further an intimacy with the works — or more precisely, an opaque sense of empathy with the artist — identifying what came before, and what came after, and the sequence of passing satisfactions in the studio.
Joseph Montgomery was born in 1979 in Northampton, MA, and lives and works in New York. He received an MFA from Hunter College, and a BA from Yale University. His paintings have been included in recent group exhibitions including Cave Painting, curated by Bob Nickas, and To the left of the rising sun at Small A Projects (upstate). This is his first solo exhibition with the gallery.