December 20, 2011

Contre-Jour, Numéro 25

Couverture de Contre-Jour, cahiers littéraires
Numéro 25, Automne 2011


J’ai été invité à publier 20 tableaux dans le numéro actuel des cahiers littéraires Contre-Jour (Numéro 25, Automne 2011). Cette collaboration est très intéressante puisque la revue invite un artiste par numéro, reproduit les oeuvres en grand format et donne beaucoup de latitude quant aux oeuvres proposées. Contrairement à un catalogue d’exposition qui se penche nécessairement sur la production récente, la revue couvre les dix dernières années de mon travail telle une mini rétrospective. En plus de tableaux de paysages, de natures mortes et de vues d'intérieurs, vous y retrouverez trois monotypes à l'encaustique, technique d'oeuvre sur papier que je pratique depuis quelques années.

J’ai été particulièrement heureux d’être invité à collaborer au numéro actuel puisqu’il traite principalement de l’essai littéraire et de sa place dans le paysage québécois actuel. Intellectuellement riche et dense, ce numéro jumelle la rigueur conceptuelle à la prise de position subjective, ce qui me convient tout particulièrement. Je vous invite donc, si la chose vous intéresse, à consulter la revue en kiosque ou en libriaire.

Genèse (Portrait de Fayoum au Louvre), 2008
Encaustique et feuille d'or sur panneau
54.5 cm x 79 cm / 21.5" x 31"


September 23, 2011

Oeuvre récente

Poussières d'étoiles (Sakura), 2011
Encaustique sur panneau, 45" x 88.5"


for the english version of this text, please read my previous post

Mon travail se situe à la frontière de la mimèsis et de l'invention; réponse à l'observation directe, à la mémoire et à l'imagination. La transition entre ces trois types de perception constitue un espace fertile où je participe à la mouvance du langage visuel comprenant parfaitement que l’art découle de l’art. Le périple que j’entreprends ne se situe pas seulement de par le monde mais à-travers le temps. Le territoire parcouru est le continent de l’art où l'expérience et l'histoire humaine sont fondamentales.



Poussières d'étoiles (Sakura), détail


Mon travail est avant tout pictural prenant son sens dans l'expérience physique et dans la perpétuelle métamorphose qui se déroule sous nos yeux. Ainsi, le tableau vu de près offre une réalité tout autre que le même tableau vu à distance, ou encore, réagit et se transforme selon la lumière ambiante éclairant sa surface. Bon nombre de peintres ont parlé de ce moment où la peinture "se lève", "advient" et prend tout son sens. Dans mon cas, ce moment survient lorsque le spectateur prend le temps, face à l'œuvre, de mettre en rapport le sujet et le fond, la lumière et l'ombre, l'image et la surface, et tous ces éléments en relation à l'ensemble.



Poussières d'étoiles (Sakura), détail


Je peins à l'encaustique des tableaux où la versatilité, la sensualité et la richesse du médium font contrepoids à une imagerie dépouillée et contemplative. Indépendamment du sujet traité, que j’utilise le paysage, la nature morte ou le nu, nous pouvons lier mes oeuvres à une certainte “immensité intime”.


Poussières d'étoiles (Sakura), détail


Mon utilisation de l'encaustique, avec sa physicalité, ses transparences et ses empâtements me permet de créer des oeuvres figuratives de façon à ce que le geste de peindre soit aussi porteur que le sujet représenté. Perpétuel aller-retour entre matière et signifiant, l'inévitable dualisme de la peinture me fascine et par conséquent mon travail se concentre sur cet infime instant de transition où ces deux réalités oscillent l'une avec l'autre.



Poussières d'étoiles (Sakura) dans
mon atelier à Longueuil, 2011

Quote : John Lennon




Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.




June 6, 2011

Recent Work

Transfigurations, 2011
Encaustic on panel, 31.5" x 96"


My paintings border between mimesis and invention; responding to observed reality, memory and imaginative perception. The transition between what is real, remembered or imagined creates a fertile territory for me to evoke the very notion that art derives from art. The journey we undertake is not only a journey through the world but beyond time. The continent that we travel is the continent of art where human history and experience are fundamental.


Transfigurations, detail


My approach is foremost pictorial and is deeply rooted in the constant metamorphosis inherent to the physical act of looking. A painting must offer many different realities according to the distance from which it is viewed and the ambient lighting hitting the surface. Many painters have evoked this very instant when the painting “rises”, when it “happens” and suddenly takes all its meaning. In my work this moment may only happen when one takes the time to look and place the subject in relation with the background, the light with the shadows, the image and the surface, and all these elements in relation with the complete picture.



Transfigurations, detail


I create encaustic paintings where the richness, sensuality and versatility of the medium echo a minimal and contemplative imagery. Whether I use landscapes, still lifes or nudes, I like to approach my subjects matters in relation to some “intimate immensity”.




Transfigurations, detail


My use of encaustic, with its physicality, impasto and transparencies, allows me to create figurative works in which the gesture, the actual act of painting, is just as important and meaningful as the depicted subject. In this regard I am compelled by the inevitable dualism between matter and meaning that we find at the core of painting. Consequently my work focuses on this infinite moment where these realities oscillate.


Transfigurations, detail



Transfigurations, 2011
At night, in my studio



May 16, 2011

Quote : Albert Einstein





Imagination is more important than knowledge,
for while knowledge points to all there is, imagination points to all there will be.



Quote taken from "Smart Moves, Why learning is not all in your head" by Carla Hannaford, Ph.D.

May 7, 2011

Yechel Gagnon : Public Art

Entre brume et nuage, 2010
Graphite and graphite powder on Mylar
Ink on Stonehenge paper mounted on aluminium
113.5" x 583.5" / 288 x 1482 cm
Photo : Marc Cramer



5625 rue Decelles, Montréal, Québec




Entre brume et nuage, 2010
Photo : Marc Cramer


Yechel Gagnon presents Entre brume et nuage, Entre ciel et terre, two very distinct works in appearance which consist of a rich dialogue where the points of reference are subtle yet substantial.

The space offered at the college, through the long corridor and the grand foyer, is double and unique; double in its dimensions and functions, unique by its majestic architecture that embraces the exterior garden and its natural elements. Gagnon chose to use the two different techniques that we may see here, carved plywood and a frottage drawing.

The triptych Entre brume et nuage is created from the plywood bas-reliefs seen in the corridor, but we may look in vain searching which panel corresponds to a particular drawing since the rubbing is a process whereby an entire new work is created by displacement of the paper. Entre brume et nuage presents an imagery oscillating between abstraction and an imaginary landscape echoing a certain tradition of Chinese ink painting.



Entre brume et nuage, 2010
Photo : Marc Cramer


Entre brume et nuage, 2010
Photo : Marc Cramer


Entre brume et nuage, 2010


Entre ciel et terre, 2010
Carved poplar plywood
174" x 803.5" / 442 x 2041 cm
Photo : Marc Cramer

In the corridor, Entre ciel et terre also unveils a series of imaginary spaces. Each bas-relief has its own entity, but an attentive eye will discern a long flowing movement from one panel to the other similar to a large imperceptible tide.

Consisting of different formats, the bas-reliefs are integrated between the existing architectural vertical lines of the wall. They accentuate the rhythm in symbiosis with the architecture. Wood, an organic element par excellence, crosses the transparency of the window to rejoin the beauty of the exterior garden. This garden also visible from the foyer is no stranger to the inspiration that underlines the design of the frottage drawings.

One who stops to consider the profound convergence of all these elements will have the pleasure to find themselves in presence of a single work of art where architecture, garden, Entre brume et nuage, Entre ciel et terre are complicit in upholding a single dialogue.


Collaboration : Alexandre Masino, Yan Giguère, Christian Miron, Louis Lussier, Pierre Charrier, Gisèle Millet et Renée Joubert


Entre ciel et terre, 2010
Photo : Marc Cramer


Entre ciel et terre, 2010
Photo : Pierre Charrier


Entre ciel et terre, 2010
Photo : Marc Cramer


Entre ciel et terre, 2010
Photo : Marc Cramer


Entre ciel et terre, 2010
Photo : Marc Cramer



April 20, 2011

Yechel Gagnon; Spheris Gallery


Yechel Gagnon
Nomad, 2011
Carved custom-made plywood, 47" x 28"



April 30 to May 31, 2011
Vernissage April 30, from 6 to 7:30 PM



Press Release :
Spheris Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of works by Yechel Gagnon. Her signature plywood pieces and etchings will be on view April 30 – May 31. A reception will be held on Saturday, April 30, from 6 to 7:30 PM.

Gagnon finds inspiration in an unlikely material, plywood. Working her material of choice with power and hand tools Gagnon removes layers of wood and glue to reveal hidden patterns and create gestural and contemplative works.

Inspired by the unique nature of each plywood sheet, Gagnon is in constant “dialogue” with her material, at times allowing unique features to guide her creative process and at other times imposing her aesthetic vision upon the wood. Gagnon states “The wood stratification contains an intriguing vocabulary of knots, textures, hues and manufacturing defects that creates their character. In the beginning I have to take them into account but soon I am carried by these elements which stimulate my imagination.”

Gagnon’s plywood works are accompanied by a new series of etchings that continue her inquiry into layering and gestural mark making. The permanence of her mark on the plate mirrors the permanence of her cuts into the plywood. The subtle layers produced by aquatint add texture akin to that found in the wood veneer of the panel works. As Gagnon states “both techniques express a large spectrum of possibilities within a limited palette, bringing the attention to nuances and values, calling the viewer’s willingness to see and imagine in its own way what is mostly suggested."


Yechel Gagnon
Miyajima I, 2011
Sugar-lift, aquatint and spit-bite on Arches paper
14.5" x 26", Edition/9


Yechel Gagnon lives and works in Montreal and is the recipient of grants from both the Canada Council for the Arts and the Conseil des Arts et des Lettres du Québec. Her work is held in many private and public collections including the Osler Hoskin & Harcourt Collection Toronto and the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia.

The Spheris Gallery is open Tuesday – Saturday, 10:00 – 5:00, and by appointment.
59 South Main Street, Hanover, NH
(603) 640-6155

March 29, 2011

Fabienne Verdier


video



Fabienne Verdier is a French painter who studied caligraphy and traditional ink painting in China for more than 10 years at a time when it was mostly closed to outsiders. Have a look at her website, it is dense with inspirational information such as paintings and quotes from painters and thinkers from different traditions. It takes a while to click everywhere and on every little "+" but it is worth it as a whole landscape unfolds for us (click here).





Pour ceux qui parlent français, son livre Passagère du silence (Livre de poche), raconte son parcours, ses longues années d'études et les étapes qui l'ont menée à sa production actuelle. C'est un livre fascinant qui nous dépeint la Chine et le long apprentissage de techniques traditionnelles mais principalement la dévotion et la force de caractère d'une femme exeptionelle.

March 23, 2011

Quote : Albert Einstein



Learning is experience.
Everything else is just information.


Quote taken from "Smart Moves, Why learning is not all in your head" by Carla Hannaford, Ph.D.

January 30, 2011

Tom Hopkins 1944-2011

Tom Hopkins and me (back in my skinny days)
at the opening of my show La Vie immédiate in 2000


When I was studying with Tom at Concordia, 18 years ago, he brought me a cartoon he had found in a newspaper, showing a grungy artist asking his accountant if drug could be considered artist's material.

I don't know about that, but right now I definitely feel like I could use something…

That was Tom, always sharing jokes with everybody. Even recently he sent me a youtube link towards a stand up comedian talking about French people… (link)


Tom and I at a great gathering we had at his country place last August
Photo by Fabian Jean

It is a cliché when someone passes away to talk about their generosity, but in Tom's case, it would be a crime not to mention it over and over again.

I was Tom's student, then his assistant for many years and his studio neighbour for more then 10 years. I can say that working for him I have learned more about being a painter than throughout my whole art education. That was Tom, the most generous person I have known with his knowledge, his advices, his time. When I was working for him, stretching canvases and so on, I joked with him that he didn't need a studio assistant, he needed a secretary to take care of his phone calls.



When our studios were door to door, we had each other's key. We used each other's tools, which means mostly that I was using his tools, and I would come over to drink his coffee and eat his famous studio stew. Tom's door was literally always open for me but it was the same with all the artists and all the students who needed advices. It is true for me and I know it is true for many of us: I would not be the painter that I am if it was not for Tom.

Tom's death is a tragedy for all of us. We lost someone important, but my thoughts go out to you Joan, Anna and Jacob.



The only comfort that we can share is to know that through his actions, Tom is definitely an important part of us. It is now up to us to keep his vision alive, to share our knowledge, to help each other in this difficult career that is ours and to keep sharing the jokes that make the hard times bearable.

Thank you Tom.


It was a true honour for me to share this obituary at Tom's funeral yesterday.