VAP2021-Q1 Words and Pictures

Joyful quietude in the paintings of Trevor Kiernander

Written by Karine Guyon.

At the dawn of Covid-19, an event we would all rather forget, there were only a few opportunities to get out of the art studio to see the world around, let alone to see art exhibitions. Luckily for me, before the end of last year, I had the opportunity to view Trevor Kiernander’s exhibition called ‘’Let’s get Lost’’, at Art Mûr. This was the last exhibition I would be able to see before Quebec’s second confinement. It is always a pleasure visiting Art Mûr because the owners are some of the nicest gallerists in town. They are friendly, caring and unpretentious, and you will always get a warm welcome and see an array of delectable and mind opening artworks. Much like them, Trevor’s personality is jovial, bright, and authentic which also reflects in his artwork. 

Concerned predominantly with space, Trevor’s work is a series of intricate superpositions and play between background and foreground. His concern with decomposing volumes in his paintings makes it so that he is turning indoor spaces, cityscapes  and landscapes into upside down worlds and enigmatic environments seen through distorted lenses. 

The juxtaposition of sophisticated and often complementary colors, such as vermillion red, manganese blue and absinthe green along with the hard cut outs of a variety of abstract shapes sometimes reminds me of the latest paintings from Matisse. Trevor’s work is playful and gleeful, and gives the illusion of depth of field using controlled and planned brush strokes while building on the effect of various transparencies and opacities of the mediums he uses.

At his exhibition, there was a second room that included more somber and minimalistic pieces which grabbed my attention the most. In contrast with the first part of the exhibition, this room was filled with paintings that reminded me of the reality of less is more, the essence of simplicity, the power of color or the absence of it and the depiction of silence. Almost translucent, I could sense a close resemblance to Japanese minimalist, Zen aesthetic or even Kanji paintings.

Perhaps quietude is the word I could best use to describe what I felt when faced with what I want to call the upside down world or parallel reality of Trevor’s exhibition. There, I found myself in a quiet place where I got lost in contemplation, despite the constant worldly chaos of our time.

About the writer: Karine Guyon is a multidisciplinary artist who has experience being a curator and her writing has been featured in magazines such as BRAVO ART.  Her work can be found here: and on Instagram: @karineguyonart

About the artist: Trevor Kiernander earned a BFA in Painting & Drawing from Concordia University (with Distinction, 2006) and an MFA in Art Practice, from Goldsmiths, University of London (2009). He has exhibited in the UK, Germany, France, Russia, the USA, Canada, and Morocco, and has participated in residencies in the USA, Germany, and Morocco. His projects and exhibitions have been supported by the Canada Council for the Arts and the Conseil des arts et lettres du Quebec. In 2020, Trevor founded and directed the two-month long painting event, Pictura, in Montreal. He currently resides in Montreal and teaches at Concordia University. His works can be found in collections, including the CPOA of the National Museum of Fine Arts of Quebec, Concordia University, Montreal Council for the Arts, Loto-Québec, Microsoft, Mouvement Desjardins, Toronto Dominion Bank, and Musée des beaux-arts de Sherbrooke. and on Instagram: