With Un été indigo, Galerie Simon Blais opens a major series of exhibitions in Montréal on the work of Edmund Alleyn. Bringing together some twenty gouaches and two large paintings, this show will in fact precede the retrospective Edmund Alleyn: In My Studio, I Am Many, which will be on view at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal from May 19 to September 25, 2016. The exhibition at the museum will enable the artist’s Indigo series, first shown in 1990 at the Galerie d’art Lavalin in Montréal and the 49th Parallel gallery in New York, and now the subject of this presentation, to be put into the context of the artist’s career as a whole.
From 1980 until 1990, Edmund Alleyn created a series of oil-on-canvas and gouache works under the evocative collective title of Indigo. Painted in monochromes of blue and/or red, and featuring dreamlike atmospheres, their contemplative scenes invite introspection. Indeed, a certain languor emanates from the series’ iconography of summer days, with boats, tennis courts, out-of-the-way islands, and portraits of women. Executed in a hyperrealist style—like that used for the figures in his suite of works Plexiglass (1970–1975)—these pared-down compositions remain mysterious, and carry the seeds of Alleyn’s subsequent series,Vanitas (1990–1995), within them.
The Indigo works are highly representative of Alleyn’s protean art. They make clear his thoughts about the gap between representation and reality, the passage of time, and remembrance, and transcend his constant concern about the human condition.