Melanie Authier

Born in Montreal, 1980.
Lives and works in Ottawa

Augury was born of a pale, somewhat transparent peach tone. The luminosity of this ground peeks through the downward swooping gestural meanderings of burnt reds and dirtied rose that dominate the left hand side of the painting. Simultaneously this light spills itself forward from within the centre of the painting. This space of frenetic movement was built from a more ecomonical palette than usual. Augury in fact was kept quite monochromatic, built up almost entirely of muted red and green tones, until the near end where a strategic triangulation of sharper angles and mauve forms was inserted to anchor the boisterous composition. The top inverted/upside-down “V” shape takes an angular strength generated entirely out of the atmospheric upper background. This anchor was of great importance to the work’s final resolve as it allowed the impression of an attempt to usurp the frenzied whirlwind that tumbles below it.

The title “Augury” alludes to the main action of the painting – the insides unfolding outwards. I wanted the work to possess a feeling of tumultuous furor. The title also refers to the interpretation of signs. It is an act of divination, a foretelling from the reading of the entrails of small animals. I am interested in augury rather as a metaphorical act that bridges the material and immaterial, the factual and fictional, the actual and the virtual. I attempt to problematize these binary distinctions through the act of painting, where distinct elemental forces can be interwoven and counter-balanced so as to coalesce within a unified space. I see this painting as a revision of the Romantics’ attempt to re-infuse a level of mystery and awe back into the familiar.

Augury 2010
acrylic on canvas
152.5 × 183 × 4.2 cm
Purchased 2011

Builders: Canadian Biennial 2012 exhibition catalogue
National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa