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Nicholas Grenier

Installation View of the Sobey Art Awards Exhibition (2019)

Nicolas Grenier uses painting and the coding of colour to investigate political, economic, cultural, and social spaces. His interests lie in the distorted connections between the these systems and the principles or absence of principles at the root of these systems. His artworks—primarily paintings and architectural installations but also drawings, prints, videos, and artist books—translate theoretical and philosophical queries into visual and physical form. Grenier borrows freely from the language of architecture, design, abstraction, and diagrams to imagine dysfunctional models or structures that question the ways in which our current neo-liberal system shapes the social landscape.

Though most of Grenier’s work addresses societal or topical issues in openly critical ways, it is never unidirectional or moralizing. By translating theoretical problems into visual systems reliant upon design, composition, and color, a subjective space is created with room for the viewer to insert their own thoughts and feelings. Grenier blends the analytical with the poetic; architectural rigor with psychedelic renderings; geometric abstraction with text elements; and diagrams with color fields. He states: “My work creates physical manifestations of ideas that include problematic inconsistencies or ‘visual surpluses,’ allowing the viewer to understand that ideologies are imperfect, porous, and collapsible. It unpacks political human experience and creates a space for critical discourse that moves away from the political debate and approaches philosophy with self-awareness.”

Nicolas Grenier lives and works in Montréal and Los Angeles, CA.  He received his MFA from California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, CA in 2010 and his BFA from Concordia University in Montréal, Canada in 2004. He is a 2019 finalist for the Sobey Award, Canada's top prize for artists under 40 years old. He attended Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 2016 and in the same year was awarded the 2016 Prix Pierre-Ayot by the City of Montréal. Nicolas Grenier’s work has been included in the 2015 Bruges Triennial of Art and Architecture in Bruges, Belgium, and the 2014 Biennale de Montréal at the Musée d’Art Contemporain de Montréal. He has been exhibited throughout the US, Canada, and Europe, including Dumbfounded Prophets and One Day Mismatched Anthems Will Be Shouted In Tune at Luis De Jesus Los Angeles; Precarious Geographies at Galerie Antoine Ertaskiran, Montréal; Giles at Gagosian Gallery, Athens; The City And The City at Denny Gallery, New York; Promised Land Template at Commonwealth & Council, Los Angeles; The Work of the Work at University of California, Santa Barbara; Marginal Revolutions at KUAD Gallery, Istanbul; and Corner-Thru at Choi&Lager Gallery, Cologne. His work is included in collections in Canada and the US, including the Musée Nationale des Beaux-Arts du Québec and the Loto-Québec collection as well as numerous private and corporate collections. 

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