VIEWS OF THE SHOW
Click here to consult the list of works.
ABOUT THE SHOW
No Homo: Art, assistants, and emulation.
“A n d i f h e w a n t s o m e p u s s y t h a t ’ s a n o - n o / I o n l y f u c k w i t h b a d b i t c h e s n o h o m o ”
During the Renaissance, the studios of Raphael and Michelangelo were bustling places where young artists came to receive their education, hone their creative skills and learn essential processes for establishing a successful practice.
Raphael was a mere child when he began an apprenticeship in his father’s studio. He learned the necessary technical skills of art production like the grinding of pigments and the tedious process of preparing the grounds for egg tempera and oil paintings. These steps led to the emulation of a master’s technique, allowing the young artist to develop the artistic skills that would enable him to match, and exceed the skills of his teacher.
Jacques-Louis David had more than forty students in his first decade as a master artist. Jean-Germain Drouais and Anne-Louis Girodet-Trioson, both in their teens at the time they joined David’s studio, were recognized early as the top talents of their generation.
David’s studio functioned in some ways as an extended family as some of his young students were fatherless. In that period of time, studio life was constructed away from the presence of women. David’s attempt in 1787 to include women was sharply rejected by the Academy. This exclusion of women only confirmed a masculinization of art and a single sex frame of reference clearly present in the work of the neo-classical artists trained in David’s studio. This all-male studio had an atmosphere of homoeroticism; this frisson only increased when the more attractive of the young male students were recruited by their peers as nude models. Although at one point I had an entirely female staff, my studio currently continues this tradition, no homo.
Most patrons know little about the inner workings of an artist’s studio, that more than half their time is spent away from the canvas dealing with the day-to-day, emails, contracts and logistics. The artist, then and today, reaches a point where hiring outside help becomes a necessity to continue producing work.
The process of emulation helps a young artist to acquire foundational skills for the development of original artistic practice. In my studio it’s necessary that my assistants emulate my personal approach to painting. However, my assistants are talented insightful artists in their own right, and I am pleased to present this exhibition of their highly individual work.
In 2008, I needed a painter to help with the painting of backgrounds, Don Monkman, my brother, took a year sabbatical from web design and signed on for the job. In a few short weeks Don was up to speed with my approach to landscape painting. Don’s work in the exhibition borrows from Rubens and Philippe de Champaigne, a muscular Nanabohzo’s braids are severed by a dispassionate nun. The painting is an undisguised excoriation of the legacy of colonization of Aboriginal peoples through residential school system. The power of Aboriginal spirituality cut away by Christianity.
In the summer of 2011 exhibition requests picked up and I found myself overwhelmed with the usual litany of requests and administration, with less time to do what I do best – paint, this is when I hired Brad Tinmouth. In my studio Brad has project managed large-scale installations, painted, edited videos and drafted proposals. Brad brews his own beer, grows and cans his own vegetables finally turning them into art. Using hydroponic and traditional growing techniques and forgotten heirloom varieties of plants Brad fashions art installations that actually function as do-it-yourself sustainable systems. Brad’s art is an emulation and extension of his DIY lifestyle. His work aims to educate and inform, presenting concepts that encourage others to live a more self-reliant life.
In early 2012 Brian Rideout began working as a painting assistant. In his own practice, Brian works from found images that he prints out and scales on canvas using the classical grid technique. Brian is interested in the historical reference and function of the reproduced image, how these images function in the same way painting has in the past, carefully selecting images that have the look and feel of a painting. Rideout considers his source photo – computer inkjet printout or magazine photo - as an object rather than the object or person represented in the photo. He is mindful to reproduce the imperfections and inconsistencies of the two-dimensional surface. When translating to paint Brian invests the surface inconsistencies with the same importance as the subject of the photo. Rideout treats painting as a means to investigate and canonize the image.
Recently Rory Dean has joined the studio, Rory culls his imagery from photo sources – the internet, newspapers and magazines - but unlike Brian, he is less concerned with respecting the source material. Rather he cobbles together various sources into a final image and transforms pop culture icons, sports heroes, TV actors and rock stars into acutely rendered portraits that feel dystopic and ominous despite his bold palette. Aphorisms scrawled in a variety of unconventional mediums occasionally accompany his paintings that he arranges like posters in the bedroom of a rebellious teen. Because I ask my painting assistants to emulate my own approach his keen powers to observe and meticulously extract information from preexisting imagery has made Rory a real asset to the studio.
- Kent Monkman
 The phrase ‘no homo’ came into use in Harlem in the early 1990’s, first recorded in 2003 and popularized by Cam’ron of the Diplomats, this phrase, which originally served to negate perceived gender and sexual transgressions, has transformed into a colloquial punch line.
A proud member of Fisher River Cree Nation, Don Monkman's diversified career has included working as a freelance illustrator, graphic designer, creative director, web designer and painting assistant for his brother, Kent Monkman. Don graduated in 1985 from Sheridan College's illustration program.
Brad Tinmouth is an artist living and working in Toronto, Canada. His work aims to make everyone as happy as he is. Tinmouth is the co-director of Butcher Gallery, a founding member of Pro Click Dot Biz and Studio Manager for Kent Monkman. His work has been shown at Nuit Blanche in Toronto, Esam Caen in France, Preteen in Mexico and most recently at Dokfest in German. His work has been reviewed in Art 21 Online, Canadian Art Online. He has an upcoming solo exhibition at Cooper Cole in Toronto.
Brian Rideout (b. Hoboken, NJ) is a painter living and working in Toronto. He graduated with a BFA from Georgian College in 2008, where he was awarded the Fine Arts Award of Merit. Rideout has exhibited widely in Toronto, including solo exhibitions My Friends are Your Friends (ARTSPACE, 2008), I'll Teach You How to be Good (52 Mccaul, 2010), and At the Races in the Countryside (Butcher Gallery, 2012). He is part of an upcoming group exhibition Theres Nothing LOL About RIP at Galerie Coatcheck, both in Montreal.
Born in 1981, Rory Dean is a graduate of OCAD University(2006) where he studied Painting&Drawing. He has exhibited across Canada and internationally- US, UK. He currently lives and works in Toronto as a painting assistant to Kent Monkman.
- Joseph Henry, Sky Goodden "The Artist-As-Curator in Trouble with Kent Monkman" Blouin Artinfo, May 24, 2013.