As I write, Michael Merrill is downstairs in our McClure Gallery with Renee Duval hanging his exhibition of ink wash drawings. They’re hauntingly beautiful and after staring at images and pdfs of them all summer, it’s great to see them on our gallery walls! The drawings are part of a larger project Michael’s been involved in - mapping the interior spaces of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. In fact, twelve gouache paintings of the same subject are on view at the MMFA starting September 30th.
What I love about these drawings is the fluidity of the water medium contrasted with the underlying linear structure. Michael tells a great story about when he was younger doing renovation work, he’d often use a “chalk line” to lay down a straight line, for instance, on drywall. He loved the way he’d pluck the string and the chalk line would suddenly appear and wondered how he could use it artistically. He’s used the tool here to lay down a taut line in a rich ultramarine blue with washes of black ink flooding over and around the lines in watery pools to create a sense of space, depth but also a kind of dream-like movement.
We’ve co-published with Galerie Roger Bellemare, a catalogue with over 40 reproductions of Michael’s works – including the paintings in the Museum. Just have our fingers crossed it arrives on time for the opening!!!!