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  • John Pohl


This exhibition, which opened Thursday, July 16, runs to August 22 at McBride Contemporain, 372 Sainte-Catherine St. The exhibition has one small work by each of about 80 artists, and is hung salon style, which is the opposite of the contemporary style of hanging paintings on white walls with plenty of space between works.


This piece, Marguerite Bourgeoys Park Sculpture 4, is 12" x 16", oil on canvas mounted on a wood panel. It was the fourth version of a painting started on site in the Pointe Saint-Charles park with fellow artist Barry MacPherson in 2017. The first two paintings were done in plein air, that is, in the park itself. I did two more in the studio, of which this was the best.


However, don't think that this is an accurate representation of the actual sculpture, an impressive open work in metal. It is a highly abstracted image. The figures are trees.


To quote from the gallery's press release: "What the Salon des refusés came to represent was the always renewing idea that official styles and sanctioned art movements are not necessarily as vital as much that is done under the radar, outside the mainstream. What McBride Contemporain proposes to do with this exhibition, is to offer a context in which a group of committed artists can exhibit one strong piece each, together, and invite the visual arts public to come discover some fresh voices in small, two-dimensional format, shown alongside other artists who already have been well introduced.


"What we intend by this project is to recognize that excellent, complex and uplifting art is being made that doesn’t always get the chance to have a public viewing. We believe in the importance of jumpstarting renewal and bringing new things to light, in order to reestablish the innate equality of all artists' creation."


Benjamin Klein curated this exhibition.

  • John Pohl

Some bad, but a lot of good this year. Covid cancelled MTL en Arts, the downtown Montreal street festival where I was so successful in 2019, at least in terms of the number of people who saw my paintings.


Then I learned that another annual event was cancelled, not by Covid but by the retirement of the main organizer. That was the Mount Royal Cemetery exhibition.


Then, in May, the gallery in the building where my studio is located (4710 Saint- Ambroise St. in Montreal), postponed an annual exhibition that I was making a painting for. The exhibition took place, but mostly online. The show is mounted in the gallery, but can be seen only from doors at either end. (My entry, called Altered Stakes, is shown below. The idea was how art and music might win the day).


I took the downtime afforded by Covid to do the application process for a professional membership in Regroupment des artistes en arts visuels du Québec (RAAV). In June, I learned that I was accepted -- I am now a professional artist!


But even more exciting was that Benjamin Klein, curator for McBride Contemporain (

https://mcbridecontemporain.com/) invited me to participate with about 80 other artists in an exhibition titled Salon des refusés, a reference to the Impressionist painters who in 1862 organized their own exhibition after being rejected by the official salon.


Altered Stakes is made from transfers of photocopies of some of my life drawings onto a 24- inch-square wood panel and painted in acrylic.



This oil painting, 24 by 24 inches on a wood panel supplied by the gallery, was chosen by the Saint-Denis St. gallery for its annual juried exhibition in November and December 2019.

The painting was named The Gift of Colour, partly in response to the theme of the exhibition, which was The Gift.

The Gift of Colour was made with a glazing technique I have often used over the years, and is the starting point for a series of paintings I expect to show at MTL en Arts in 2020.

In this painting, I covered a colourful underpainting with a mixed black paint and then scraped parts of it away with a spatula, a brush and other tools, producing these delicate abstract and organic shapes.


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