DISTANCE POINT: PAINTINGS BY LEOPOLD PLOTEK  June 7th — August 20th Maison de la culture Cote—des—Neiges  5290 Cote-des —Neiges Tel.: 514-872-6889  

A simple and unpretentious presentation often paintings by veteran Montreal painter Leo Plotek at the Maison de la culture Cote-des- Neiges continues to reveal this artist‘s incredible adeptness and dedication to the painterly process... Plotek is definitely not asleep at the easel these days! Visitors to the show saw some very compelling paintings, among the best this critic has come across in years. Assembled as a kind of preoccupation with life altering moments in the lives of artists and philosophers throughout history, Leopold Plotek’s recent exhibition dives into the thematics of his sub- jects with a poetic versatility and un- predictable prowess.

What is evident from this show is the artist’s recent return to all things representational, particularly over the last two years. This marks a change from Plotek’s more often seen interior landscapes. The pre- sent foray is specifically into works that make reference to (a) history These paintings are very similar to ].M.W. Turner in their atmospheric embellishment. Their ambiguity is resolved by the titles these works have. Their surfaces are covered in smoky hues and carry an elegiac solemnity.  

In referring to the “distance point” that this show draws its title from Plotek states: “...This is a point in perspectival geometry whose purpose is obscure to the viewer but important to the painter. The key thing here is that it does not occur within the picture itself, yet helps determine almost everything in it. Just like inspiration.” Entering the gallery the first painting one sees is a painting that depicts William Blake as a young boy lying in bed, receiving his first vision of God. As the boy nonchalantly gazes at the apparition of God’s munificent face peering inside Blakes bedroom, all is still and suspended in time. The scene offers the viewer a portrait of God as uninvited guest, a presence that the young Blake would later pay for  with a beating by his father for divulging this anecdote out loud.  

Another painting shows the great American poet Hart Crane in 1 frozen mid — leap into the blue sea on the journey by ship he took to New York from Cuba. This moment in time is captured eloquently as Crane leaps from the bow above the green waves. We see a lifesaver at the bottom corner of the work. Per- haps this is an ironic metaphor for what the poet was ultimately tning to escape. Again, the element of time is suspended as if from the depths of a dream. Lastly, we see a painting that depicts jazz saxophonist Sonny Rollins ascending the stairs up to the Williamsburg Bridge to practice his music undistracted by fame and fortune. East River Blue; Sonny Rollins on Williamsburg Bridge is a mass of black and blue brushwork articulating the night sky above New York. The picture has a peaceful ambiguity, an atmosphere that resounds as if front the depths d a dream. The patina of antiquity marries evenly with passion. This is what makes for a compelling work of art. The theatrical element is man evident. The paintings develops a dialogue with silence. It reverbe-it like an effective monologue tnigfi do on stage. In fact, these painting seem to represent states of con» sciousness that call to mind It stage. Although some of the work are unrelated by subject, their un~ mon ground is the anecdotal In- ment brimming with poetic nmntr. The role of the artist as underdog‘: highlighted, and Plotek embtxxs the accident, the vulnerability & underlies much of histor_s"s gal ones.  Seen in the context of 1 '1 largely dominated by meat and pan- toes realism in painting. a 51 based form designed for conj- cialism poetry in painting seam E a discarded bone buried in 1 cold, cold ground. Despite I &, Leopold Plotek manages to hi fire back into the picture.  

Isak Elliott Augustine