O'Born Contemporary


Lost Highway

John Monteith, Solo Exhibition

December 9, 2010 – January 29, 2011



"Dream delivers us to dream, and there is no end to illusion."

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

This exhibition entitled Lost Highway is a three-part installation comprised of five paintings of urban spaces, one composite portrait made from one hundred layered photographs of a bedroom in the early morning light and a group of fifty text drawings. Each set relies upon a contingent relationship with the others coalescing around snap shots and words isolated from context.

Working seamlessly at the interarticle of drawing, painting and photography Lost Highway presents itself as an exhibition of fragments representing three years of local observation and study of shifting social space.

The words and phrases Monteith represents operate as symbols of uncertain meaning that cannot be made clear and precise. These nouns, adjectives and phrases reference titles, dates, times, films, books, locations, current events, cultural shifts and political ideology.

Using the photographic negative as a starting point for his paintings Monteith explores the breakdown of the image of the urban. Working with oil on layered sheets of drafting film his paintings are schematic; ideas are laid out, plans constructed. Representing locations of disaster, car-crashes, bombings and financial ruin Monteith's paintings come together and fall apart. Estranged, they occupy a place between moments, in defiance of their familiarity as places we know.

As an installation Lost Highway is a space that questions the relationship text has to image. Rather than dictating meaning, the text works ask of the viewer to draw upon his own history and associative faculty in determining narrative.

about the artist

Born in 1973 in Newmarket, Ontario, Canada John Monteith graduated in 2008 from the MFA program at Parsons the New School for Design. John's work has been represented in a number of solo and group exhibitions including K-48 "Kontinuum," No Soul For Sale at both the Tate Modern, London and X Initiative, New York, The Toronto Alternative Art Fair International, and "Zwischen" at Galerie Stefan Roepke, Cologne.

Additional projects include "Living Room" commissioned by Flux Factory in collaboration with openhousenewyork, and "River's Edge", a site-specific installation for the DUMBO Art under The Bridge Festival.

John's work is featured in a number of international collections including the New School in New York. His publications include Charley, www.artinamericamagazine.com, K-48, The New Yorker, British Good Housekeeping, Toronto Life, and Style; winning the Kenneth R. Wilson Silver Medal for Best Art Direction of an opening Spread, Canadian Business Press.

John has been awarded grants from The Canada Council for the Arts and the Toronto Arts Council. He lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.