Leon deMontignie: The Life and Death of an Unknown Artist
When: 23 August – 7 October
Where: Brindley Family Galleries, MAMA.
Both gritty and soulful, Leon deMontignie's paintings depict scenes of suburbia, country towns, parks, loneliness, alcoholism, homelessness, and despair.
Leon deMontignie spent much of his nomadic life in Albury and the North East Victoria region. Disrupted by illness, itinerant work and accommodation, his unsettled life limited his ability to absorb himself fully into his artistic practice. Since passing in 2016, a body of work has begun to emerge from friends with whom deMontignie had traded paintings for kindness.
Towards the end of his life, deMontignie befriended children's book author Peter Klein (of Bethanga, VIC), and together they published the Mudpoo series of adventure stories, illustrated by deMontignie. Klein is releasing the fourth installment of Mudpoo in 2018 containing deMontignie's final illustrations, a number of which will be presented in this exhibition.
The Life and Death of an Unknown Painter brings deMontignie's life's work home. Locals will immediately recognise familiar scenes of suburban streets in Albury, the Botanic Gardens, and the wineries of Rutherglen. A painter that lived and died in obscurity, the gentle humour and compassion in his scenes leave a lingering sadness for an artist that did not live to see an exhibition of his extensive catalogue of work.