Over the last eight years Nicolas Grenier's practice has evolved into an ecosystem that includes paintings, architectural installations, lecture-performances, and experimental economic models. In Dumbfounded Prophets, Grenier continues his ongoing exploration into the aesthetics of abstraction in relation to systems of power and its effects on the individual. Informed by his multidisciplinary approach, Grenier has integrated a meticulous crafting of color and pictorial space with a deft understanding of diagrammatic language sourced from architecture and design, management strategies, and theory. His new paintings relay concepts, experiences, and emotional states—in some instances presented within cryptic anecdotes and in combination with various strategies of organizing space—in order to communicate the complexities of mediated human experience. Grenier’s work also addresses the philosophical and moral dimensions inherent within political thought and action. He identifies moments when the attempts to control meaning through form expose ideological idiosyncrasies, revealing the honesty, absurdity, beauty, and pitfalls of rationalization and dogmatism. This idea is beautifully illustrated in a series of texts that circumscribe the margins of the painting Perspectives (2018) in which an unidentified narrator implores:
DON'T GET SO ANGRY AT THEM,
THEY'RE JUST CAUGHT UP IN A PERSPECTIVE THAT'S SO DIFFERENT FROM YOURS,
THEY DON'T SEE THE HARM THAT THEY'RE DOING.
In Dumbfounded Prophets, Grenier situates art as a tool through which to consider the discrepancies between theory and practice.
Nicolas Grenier (b. 1982, Montréal, Canada) received his MFA from California Institute of the Arts in 2010 and BFA from Concordia University in 2004. He also attended Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 2016. Grenier’s work has been included in the 2015 Brugges Triennale in Belgium and the 2014 Biennale de Montréal at the Musée d’Art Contemporain de Montréal. He has been exhibited in the US, Canada, and Europe, including 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; One Day Mismatched Anthems Will Be Shouted In Tune at Luis De Jesus Los Angeles; The Work of the Work at University of California, Santa Barbara; and Marginal Revolutions at KUAD Gallery, Istanbul. In 2016 Grenier received the Prix Pierre-Ayot awarded by the City of Montréal and he currently lives and works in Montréal and Los Angeles.