One Day Mismatched Anthems Will Be Shouted in Tune relays the cruel optimism of political ideals and proposals. On one hand, we rely upon systems to protect the legitimacy of living life, and on the other hand, these systems continually fail us—proving to be antagonistic and serving their own idealized representation rather than their subjects. Nicolas Grenier's work channels this cycle of faith, obedience and betrayal—within and towards systems—through a careful mapping of color and text.
The paintings in this show propose a dialectical tension between the perceptual and the didactic as visual and verbal signs are deployed into complex forms of abstraction and representation. Based on the interaction between concept, language, color and form, these systems evoke conflicting ideologies, changes in the social order and issues of inclusion and exclusion. Arrows and other representational minutiae of bureaucracy function as signifiers for the strategic planning models of corporate and government enterprise, while the use of text creates an indexical relation to specific ideas and concepts outside the painting—yet the meaning of these words remains relative to the colors and shapes they are attached.
Gradation is used as a scalable, mutable device for organizing the paintings into large, concentric forms, as well as the interface through which we experience smaller letterforms and vectors. Thus, color plays a double agent: working to both solidify meaning (produce readability) and obscure signs as they become recognizable. Grenier's intuitive but highly ordered system of depiction amounts to a schema that reveals abstraction as both a system of control through this confounding means, and also a possible respite from the administrative, logistical, and quantitative—reigniting the color field in service to the politics of subjectivity.
The result is a perverse (and darkly humorous) play on these standardized design mechanisms' desire to “chart” material things systematically. As words begin to function less as graphic elements and content dissolves into the color field, Grenier's modular jewels become sites for contemplation. Neither illustrations of ideas, theories or opinions, these works invite us to reconsider the issues and concepts outside of their usual framework, offering a complex visual experience that slows down our reading of the works and brings us to a psychological “meditative” state that helps to facilitate a form of critical engagement—less strictly cerebral and more intuitive—a place of contemplation where the political dissolves into the philosophical.