Gregory Montreuil by Amanda Church

Gregory Montreuil
“Control Alt Delete,” Galerie du Tableau, Marseille
July 14-31, 2014

Gregory Montreuil's abstract paintings have long been composed of smoky tendrils of shades of black and white, gestures that could indicate thoughts and events, both actual and imagined. He has excluded color from his work for over 10 years but his reductive palette still manages to conveymyriad associations. In his current installation, "Control Alt Delete" atGalerie du Tableau in Marseille, Montreuil mounted a group of small-scale paintings to a grid of cut newspapers adhered to the wall with bits of tape. He painted this wall a dusky pale yellow to match the color of the tape and also the yellow of faded newspapers. Some of the paintings include the collaged elements -- tape, tinfoil, string, and newspaper -- that the artist has been using off and on over the years. Here, the newspapers on the wall have been cut precisely so that all the photos have been removed, leaving only the headlines and stories along with the yellow squares and rectangles of the wall that show through where the photos were cut out,popping through as monochromatic paintings themselves. Somehow this real-world backdrop merges seamlessly with the paintings' brushy gestures which in spite of their fluidity at times seem to lurch across the canvas. InIci Maintenant (2014), a slender, elongated triangle of torn newspaper juts upward from the bottom right, piercing the soft grey and leaving what looks like a plume of white smoke in its wake. Montreuil’s minimalist version of action painting reinvigorates the tradition while enacting a synthesis of content and the language of abstraction.