Montreal Artists to Watch

With an outrageously high concentration of working artists, Montreal is evidence that you don’t need to move to New York to live the bohemian dream. Here, four men emerging from the local art scene to take the world stage.

Specializing in ethereal landscapes, painter Rick Leong evokes the delicateness of Asian art, a reflection of his Chinese roots. But Western pop culture also weaves its way into his large-scale works, awash with psychedelic flora. Leong has shown at the Parisian Laundry – and he’s in the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts’ permanent collection.

Photographer Jamie Campbell produces stark anti-portraits; his subjects’ faces are often obscured by hair or animal costumes (Turtle Boy, pictured above). Campbell has published a limited run of books, White Panther Girlfriend.

A recipient of the city’s Pierre-Ayot award for excellence in visual art, Etienne Zack depicts the tools of his trade, arranged chaotically and fantastically, sometimes literally dripping with excited colour. His overturned cups of paintbrushes and shelves of paint cans have shown widely; 20 of his works are at the Museum of Contemporary Art until April 25.

Wil Murray’s star has risen high since his painting Sexe Maniac Maniac Maniac Maniac Maniac was recognized at the 2008 RBC Canadian Painting Competition. His maximalist abstract works are lively eyefuls of saturated colours and vivid patchworks with convoluted titles like “Baby Ghost From the 1900s Says Beat It With Your Chain.”

Image courtesy of Jamie Campbell.

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