Automatism, embraced by the surrealists as a direct path to the subconscious, has often seemed like a conceptual gimmick, but for André Ethier, spontaneity is a practical necessity. The Canadian painter mixes his oils with a varnish-like solution that dries quickly—so fast that he's acting, he says, on little more than urges. This may explain the artist's recurring nightmare imagery: psychedelic visions and lurid portraits of half-human beasts. Here, among a dozen such works, there's a shaggy creature looking morose, a shoe sprouting a Van Gogh–ish swirl of flowers, and a bearded harlequin of Rabelaisian perversion. Ethier combines the grotesquerie of underground comics (à la... More >>>