Michelle Furlong : Constante magique
McBride Contemporain is delighted to inaugurate 2023 with a presentation of Michelle Furlong’s solo exhibition Constante magique. The artist is known for her exploratory and imaginative multi-media approach, but has chosen for this exhibition to concentrate solely on paintings, making it the first show of its kind of her career. Painting has always maintained a crucial function within her art, and in Constante magique now takes center stage - and the results are a suite of magnificent works on canvas that compress a great deal of research and thinking, technique and expressiveness into this venerable medium, maintaining the mood and feel of her previous exhibitions while expertly managing to create a virtuosic painting show per se.
These paintings exist and coyly operate in between states understood to be opposites - logic and emotion, rationality and irrationality, order and chaos. And while the overt balancing act they perform within these binaries is both accomplished and pleasurable to view and contemplate, the real order of things lies beyond this examination of structure, in Furlong’s playful desire to demonstrate the overlap and intermingling of these forces, via a kind of "magical" process. Invoking and referencing forms of spirituality and divination, albeit with a wink and a nod, and applying ancient numerological formulas and patterns to her process and imagery, the artist teases out compositions that beguile and fascinate the viewer, keep us looking for longer than we expect to. Different modes of beauty are encoded as Furlong’s brush works these surfaces. The arcane plays an important role in these paintings, with the idea of the “magic square” (something that Albrecht Dürer made profound use of) applied to both the content and the form of these works, their parts and totalities. The artist’s search for alchemical harmonies in painting has yielded an active but resolved harmony in and of itself.
Michelle Furlong (b.1984), is a multidisciplinary artist whose practice engages with the performative nature of painting, ritual and games. The human form and its delineations are also important considerations in her work. She holds a BFA from Concordia University (2006), a Post-BA from NSCAD University (2007), and an MFA from Concordia University (2018). She presented solo exhibitions at Centre Clark (2021), Parisian Laundry (2017), and Galerie D’Este (2012), and her work was exhibited at Stewart Hall Art Gallery (2022), TAP Art Space (2021), and the FOFA Gallery (2015). Furlong also completed a residency at ArtKlub in New Orleans, Louisiana (2020).