Birch Contemporary

Martin Golland: Martin Golland and Sean Stewart: The Flower Question


Works in the exhibition

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We are delighted to present a duo exhibition bringing together new and recent works by Martin Golland (Ottawa) and Sean Stewart (Toronto). In this exhibition both artists engage with the subject matter of flora, offering a contemporary update on flower painting traditions whilst playing upon and subverting its decorative history. Although often associated with spring-like renewal, for both artists the floral motifs are indicative of ‘the end’ as much as ‘the beginning’. 

Martin Golland’s lively, semi-abstract paintings grew out of a series of work about the theatre stage:"

They started with a painting called ‘For Goya’, a reference to his [Francisco Goya’s] early period of folkloric works depicting ‘the fool’. The works are paintings of discarded bouquets, of flowers swept up after the stage has been struck and both cast and audience have departed. The paintings of flowers – common hybrid roses and daisies - intend to treat the subject of the ‘vanitas’ as a disposable commodity. They represent a commemorated moment in time. They gesture towards histories: the bouquet of flowers as a gift, as an acknowledgement of past artistic actions brought forth into the present as a vignette."   

Sean Stewart’s robust impasto works - accompanied by his prose-like text - evoke considerations of temporality and materiality through weighty gestures in earthy, muddy tones.

A muck, 

a mound,

to my mind, mouth and ears,

foliage foiled,

configuration to pass,

a thousand years to crumble,

slaughtered by the mass.  

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