Diaz Contemporary is pleased to present an exhibition by Halifax-based artist, Garry Neill Kennedy. This will be the artist’s first solo show with the gallery. QUID PRO QUO and THE FOUR SEASONS continue Kennedy’s ambitious painting practice that has spanned over the past five decades.
QUID PRO QUO is the latest iteration of Ethics 101, Kennedy’s ongoing series of wall painting installations. This latin phrase is often used to connote a trade of favours and the common English translation is ‘a favour for a favour’. It can be perceived as an assurance of equality, that both parties are benefiting from a transaction, but can also be used to describe darker acts of blackmail or bribery.
Kennedy’s site-specific wall paintings have previously utilized ‘Superstar Shadow’, his own variation of the superstarfont type, which is commonly used in American naval and sports cultures. In this painting, QUID PRO QUO, Kennedy uses the typeface ‘Chisel’, which is associated with permanence and monumentality. Kennedy’s bold font choices straddle between abstraction and readability – or art and utility.
THE FOUR SEASONS is another critical investigation of art and language. Each of Kennedy’s chipboard paintings is named after one of the four seasons: Winter, Spring, Summer and Autumn. The selection of colours for each ‘season’ is based upon the paint colour’s trademarked name and their associative time of year. For example, ‘Apple Blossom’, ‘Easter Bonnet’ and ‘Green Bud’ evoke visions of spring; ‘Blizzard’, ‘Icy Moat’ and ‘Snow Princess’ are reminiscent of wintery impressions.
Garry Neill Kennedy is one of Canada’s most prominent and pioneering contemporary artists. In addition to an extensive international exhibition history, Kennedy has also held the position of president of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design for twenty-three years (1967-1990), establishing NSCAD University as a forerunner in art education. Recently, MIT Press invited Kennedy to author a book, The Last Art College, NSCAD (1968-1978) that chronicles the first ten years of his presidency. The National Gallery of Canada Library also recently compiled and published Garry Neill Kennedy, Printed Matter 1971-2009. In 2003, Kennedy was a recipient of the Order of Canada and in 2004, was presented with the Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts.