The ROYAL ART LODGE comes to the UK this Autumn with two major solo exhibitions. In London at Pippy Houldsworth, Learned Helplessness comprises 160 tiny new works, each a miniscule 2” square. Concurrently at the Bluecoat in Liverpool, The Royal Art Lodge: Garbage Day 2007-08 is set to be essential viewing at this year’s Liverpool Biennial. The Royal Art Lodge has established Winnipeg, Manitoba on the art map having amassed a cult following with its paintings, drawings, books and ephemera enthralling art collectors and critics worldwide.
The collective, The Royal Art Lodge, made up of Michael Dumontier, Marcel Dzama and Neil Farber, convenes to create collaborative works which appear as intimate jokes whispered amongst friends and as familiar as the advertisements, book illustrations and comics of our childhood. Playfulness flows through the work as a social and creative process; however this does not detract from its power, tragedy and beauty. A style, immersed in a comic tradition, emerges which is particular and yet through multi-layered voices defies simple categorisation.
The Royal Art Lodge’s new paintings operate as hybrid forms of a collective psyche. The scale of the works on show at Pippy Houldsworth may be minute but their message is as bold and compelling as ever. Still dominated by poignant figures, both human and animal, the Lodge’s paintings pull the individual artist away from their own persona towards a collective place that takes on an aesthetic of its own. Each small work offers a vignette of poetic absurdity, underpinned with the logic of a distinctive humour and outlook. What is achieved is a pure moment of artistic freethinking, using dichotomous relationships, such as play and violence, detail and abstraction, to create a narrative that mimics the ludicrous textures of real life.
The Royal Art Lodge’s successful touring show Ask the Dust in 2003-2004 travelled from The Drawing Center, New York to the Power Plant, Toronto, De Vleeshal, The Netherlands and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. The catalogue for the same show has become a collector’s item. The Lodge has also recently exhibited at the Yerba Buena Center, San Francisco, the National Gallery of Canada, Ontario, Musée d’Art Contemporain, Lyon, Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, the Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin and the Centro de Arte Caja, Burgos, Spain.